TRURO – First Nations culture, featuring drumming and dancing, will be on display for a few hours Tuesday at the annual Mawi’omi.
Chasity Lucio, co-ordinator of Aboriginal student services at the Nova Scotia Community College Truro campus, said the Mawi’omi was started when she first arrived at the campus seven years ago.
“We have a large aboriginal population within the college, but you didn’t see too much of it on display,” said Lucio, who says she and her entire family often dance at the Mawi’omi. “We have a lot of learners that are coming from away and that have left their support system, so we wanted to make sure they feel welcome. With the Mawi’omi, we can promote coming together, and promote and celebrate who we are.”
The Mawi’omi begins Tuesday in the campus gymnasium with Grand Entry at 12 noon, which will feature the parade of staffs and flags, as well as dignitaries and dancers. After the processional, the flags and staffs will be posted before the event features veterans through song – those who have served, are serving, or loved ones lost.
“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have the freedom we have today,” Lucio said about why the veterans are honoured.
The event is open to the public free of charge and runs until 5 p.m.
Through the Mawi’omi, Lucio hopes those watching will be educated on the First Nations culture, which will help create a better future for all.
“Education is one of the pieces that will help break down barriers and help give a better understanding of our culture, who we are and what we stand for,” she said. “We are very hospitable people.”
The Mawi’omi, she added, is a celebration of aboriginals in a positive light.
“There are so many negatives that we see in the media – whether regarding hunting and fishing or profiling of aboriginal offenders. This gives us a chance to get together and educate people on who we are.”
The annual event will feature five drum groups and about 40 dancers.
The master of ceremonies is a youth from Eskasoni, now emceeing for his fifth year.
“He’s a national aboriginal role model who will help share what’s going on,” said Lucio, adding he will answer any questions those in attendance may have.
Throughout the event, it won’t be a focus just on the drummers and dancers, however all that are present.
“We are going to have a lot of spot dances and encourage anybody there to be a part of the circle and to feel the music, and hear the drums,” said Lucio.
Once the music stops, those participating are to freeze where they are.
“The head dancers will have chosen a spot, and those participating have a chance to win some prizes.”
While admission is free, donations to the campus’s food bank will be accepted.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Mawi’omi, a celebration of First Nations culture
WHEN: Jan. 21, 12-5 p.m.
WHERE: Nova Scotia Community College Truro campus gymnasium
ADMISSION: Free, however donations for the campus’s food bank will be accepted
FEATURING: Five drum groups and 40 dancers from throughout the Atlantic Provinces and into Quebec