Regina and area students celebrated at FNUniv graduation powwow
- Katie Doke Sawatzky | June 07, 2017
It was a bright sunny day for the second annual graduation powwow at First Nations University of Canada on June 7.
Two-hundred and forty students from more than 20 schools came to the event, which celebrate high school graduates from Regina schools and some from rural areas. The students, along with dancers from all over Saskatchewan and from Montana, danced to the beats of the Charging Bear Singers.
Shannon Fayant, Principal of Scott Collegiate, supervised the event, which was organized by two Scott Collegiate grads. During the event, she said the day was an emotional one.
“It’s tear-jerking for us to see our students’ hard work, she said. “It’s just a beautiful day to celebrate our graduates on Treaty 4. It’s…a lot of time, a lot of commitment and these students kind of step up every time and they’re nervous, they freak out, but it’s all in a positive good way, so that’s the beautiful piece of that.”
One of the powwow organizers was Payton Sinclair-Key. She said the event was a lot of work but not as challenging as the first powwow she organized last spring.
“This year, we were a lot more organized and better and we knew exactly what to do and everything and who to contact,” she said.
Sinclair-Key worked with Elders at her school to organize the powwow, which involved contacting participants, raising money for the dancers and drum groups and creating the day’s schedule. She also helped with the set-up.
After all her hard work, Sinclair-Key was happy with the event.
“I love it. It’s very beautiful. I love how lots of people attended and more people showed up,” she said. “It’s a very beautiful day for it and just makes me happy seeing lots of people here and people honouring and respecting our culture. It just means a lot.”
For Fayant, the graduation powwow is also a source of pride.
“I’m very proud of all the students and elders and honoured and privileged to work with them as they planned this event… just to see the faces, the smiles, the dancing, hearing the drums and just honouring our students in such a good way and just celebrating their success and their resilience because we know that this wasn’t easy for many of them and we’re just so proud that they stuck it out and they were able to graduate,” she said.
When it comes to what’s next for Sinclair-Key after high school, she’s quick with an answer.
“I’ve got lots of plans,” she laughed. “I’m actually attending the FNUniv in the fall.”
Sinclair-Key is enrolled in the Faculty of Science.