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.