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1998 Ryerson Polytechnic University Pow Wow

The first Ryerson Polytechnic University Pow Wow poster.

Pictured here is Amber Sandy of Scixchange, in front of the Hide Tanning at the 2019 Ryerson Pow Wow - in the Ryerson quad. The Hide is stretched over a frame, another person is working on the Hide with a large stick.

Amber Sandy (SciXchange) hide tanning at the 2019 Pow Wow.

Monica McKay smiles as she carries the Ryerson Eagle Staff at the 2018 Ryerson Pow Wow. She is surrounded by Pow Wow participants in the Ryerson upper gym.

Director of Aboriginal Initiatives Monica McKay at the 2018 Pow Wow

The name of the university has been replaced with an X in solidarity with Indigenous demands that the name and symbol of cultural genocide and intergenerational trauma be removed. As the 2021 Pow Wow Team we have chosen to also stand in solidarity with these demands. You can read more here (external link) .

A close up photo of a Pow Wow Dancer from the 2018 Ryerson Pow Wow, in the upper gym. The dancer's back is to the camera and their Regalia is bright and multi-coloured. Above, the audience watches from the upper viewing gallery.

Our History

In the late 1990’s Ryerson Polytechnic University became the first university in Toronto to host a Traditional Pow Wow, organized by the newly created Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services. The first event on Saturday October 17, 1998, organized by Raven Davis, featured traditional dancing and drumming, a play and art show. It’s theme, “Reaching for the Future, Honouring our Past” remains our guiding principle.Three other annual Pow Wows would follow, each with unique programming and enthusiastic attendance.

As part of its Truth and Reconciliation commitments, the Ryerson University Pow Wow was relaunched almost twenty years later on September 21, 2018 with the help of the Saagajiwe Centre for Indigenous Research and Creation (external link)  at Ryerson Creative Academy. In 2019 the Pow Wow expanded to include a whole week of Education Programming. In 2020 the event pivoted to a digital format in response to Covid-19.

In 2021 the Ryerson University Pow Wow was renamed the ‘X-University Pow Wow’ in solidarity with the Wreckonciliation movement on campus that demands the Ryerson name, a symbol of cultural genocide and intergenerational trauma, be removed.

Respect is central to Indigenous worldviews and is one of our core values. The XU Pow Wow is dedicated to cultivating a safe space that’s respectful of all people. We are committed to providing a positive experience that reflects the University’s core values of Equity, diversity and Inclusion.


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