Gidinawendamin/Ska’nikú•lát 20th Annual Pow Wow

Banner image for a pow wow with image of a bussel

Gidinawendamin/Ska’nikú•lát 20th Annual Pow Wow

September 23, 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the United College (formerly St. Paul’s University College) annual Pow Wow. This year is the inaugural collaboration on this celebration between the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre (WISC) and the University of Waterloo Office of Indigenous Relations (OIR). In addition to the Pow Wow being co-hosted by WISC and OIR, there will be another major change from years past, as the Pow Wow moves to the University of Waterloo Campus at an indoor venue, Columbia Icefield Fieldhouse (CIF). A huge thank you goes out to University of Waterloo Athletics for your support in this celebration! This is a one-day event featuring vendors, dancers, and singers from the Region of Waterloo and beyond. This is a non-competition Pow Wow, with a focus on celebrating Indigenous culture and tradition through song, dance, arts, and food. Most importantly, this Pow Wow is intended to be a safe, welcoming, and vibrant opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous folks from the University of Waterloo community and beyond to gather and spend time with each other in a beautiful display of indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation. All are welcome and encouraged to participate in the celebration!                                                                                             


Date: September 23, 2023

Time: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm

  • Doors open at 10am
  • Grand Entry at 12pm

Location: University of Waterloo, Columbia Ice Fields (CIF) 220 Columbia St W, Waterloo, ON N2L 0A1

Cost: $5 general admission     

  • Non perishable food donations accepted in lieu of payment 
  •  Youth under 18 yrs. & Seniors 60+ yrs. free 
  • Post-Secondary students free with valid student card
  • First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people will not be charged admission

Parking: Free parking available    

  • W lot reserved for elders, dancers, and vendors (elders given priority)
  • X lot available for general parking     
  • Accessible parking available

Pow Wow Schedule

8:00am: Vendor set up begins

9:00am: Dancer check in begins

10:00am: Doors Open (welcome!)

12:00pm: Grand Entry and Opening Ceremony

12:30pm: Dance categories begin

4:30pm: Specials begin

5:00pm: Honorariums and give away

5:15pm: Closing Ceremony

5:45pm: Doors close to the public

6:00pm: Feast for dancers and volunteers

Thank you for coming!

What to Expect at a Pow Wow

Will this be your first time attending a Pow Wow? We are so happy you've decided to come on out and share in this beautiful experience! A Pow Wow is a cultural celebration that highlights Indigenous dance, music, food and art. This is a place to gather and connect, honouring old friendships and making new ones. Pow Wows are community events open for everyone to attend respectfully. Non-Indigenous folks are welcome and encouraged to come. This is a family-friendly environment, so bring your little ones and elders, and enjoy a day together with family. 

When you arrive, you will see dancers in beautiful traditional regalia, singers pounding meaningful songs on big drums, and vendors with their gifts and talents on display. There will also be Indigenous food available to enjoy, and water stations to refill your reusable water bottles. Dancers are divided into categories based on the style of dance they prefer. Some of these include grass dancers, fancy dancers, jingle dress dancers, fancy shawl, traditional style, and more. For spectators, some seating will be available, but you can also bring your own beach chair or your favourite blanket and find a comfy space to sprawl out.  You are welcome to come and go and move about as you please, outside of the dance arena. There will be opportunities for spectators to participate in the celebration as well. Every Pow Wow features Intertribal dances where all in attendance are welcome to enter the arena and dance together! 

Pow Wow Etiquette

Whether this is your first Pow Wow or if you've been on the Pow Wow trail for years, there is always something new to learn. We want you to get the most out of your time spent attending the celebration, so we are providing some basic information about how to attend and participate respectfully. Please take a moment to visit our Pow Wow Etiquette page. Miigwech/ nia:wen/ thank you!

Pow Wow 101 event poster with event details and photo of Gordon Nicotine-Sands

Gordon Nicotine-Sands: Pow Wow 101

This Presentation will focus on the origin of what is known as “Pow-wow,"  and how it came to be in North America and in the Great Lakes area. Gordon will also talk about what you can expect when attending a Pow Wow, including drumming, singing, dancing, and associated protocols. Whether this is your first Pow Wow or you've been on the Pow Wow trail for years, there is something for everyone to learn!

Head Dancer: Marley Margaret Fairfield

dancer in pow wow regalia

Head Dancer: River Christie White

pow wow hoop dancer

Information for Dancers

Come on out and shake what Creator gave you! We are so grateful you have decided to spend your valuable time in celebration with us. Please complete the form in order to register as a dancer. Registered dancers will receive a small honorarium as a token of our appreciation. Honorariums will be distributed at the end of the day. Please arrive between 9am-11am to sign in. Lockers are available, but dancers will need to bring their own lock. All participants are advised that their participation in the Gidinawendimin / Ska’nikú•lát Pow Wow signifies their consent to be included in the recording of the Pow Wow and for the publication of the recording on social media platforms and websites. Free parking is available beside the pow wow venue. Inclusive changerooms and washrooms are also available. All dancers are welcome and encouraged to register in the category and wear the regalia of their choice. Please come with a good heart and good mind - this is a safe and welcoming space for everyone. Dance your style! This is a non-competition Pow Wow. There will be Specials, Spot Dances, and Giveaways! Lets honour our ancestors and the generations to come.

If you have any questions or comments, please email

Information for Vendors

Come on out and show off those real deadly gifts of yours! Thank you for being an important part of this celebration as a vendor. Gidinawendamin/Ska’nikú•lát 20th Annual Pow Wow is grateful to host 40 arts & crafts/ product vendors, and ten information booths. For-profit vendors fee is $40 for the day, to be paid in advance or at the beginning of the day. There is no fee for Information booths. Additional information can be found within the registration form. All vendors are responsible for providing their own tables and chairs for their booth. For each registered vendor booth, one free meal ticket will be provided.Please feel free to reach out with any questions, concerns, or comments to We are looking forward to seeing all your smiles, wonderful creations, and items!

Information for Volunteers

We could really use your help! The 20th annual Pow Wow is going to be a massive celebration and we are looking for enthusiastic volunteers. No Pow Wow experience necessary. All you need is a good heart, and willingness to help out. All volunteers will be required to attend a 1.5 hr. information and training session. Get involved, gain some experience, be an important part of an important celebration! Thank you so much. After filling out the volunteer registration form a member of the Pow Wow committee will contact you.

If you have further questions, please email

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Map outlining key places at the 2023 pow wow
Striped blanket