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National Aboriginal Day video: We explain pow-wow dance styles and what they mean

The colourful outfits, enthusiastic drumming and exciting dances are more than entertaining — they tell a story all their own

Long before hip-hop fads like the dab and twerking were even a thing, pow-wow dancers have been rocking the beat for hundreds of years.

Traditional men's pow-wow dancers tell a story through their movements and the regalia they wear. The story is usually of a hunt, a battle or a certain victory.

When it comes to female dancers, did you know the jingle dress was first created using megis shells, which represented spirit, women, water and healing? But during the ban on traditional practices, the shells were replaced by tobacco can lids that were flattened and rolled into cone shapes.

Check out the video to learn more about the different types of pow-wow dances and the significance of each dance style. 

A big meegwetch to Will Morin, a Sudbury artist and educator, and a member of Michipicoten First Nation, for his invaluable help with information for this video.


Heather Green-Oliver

About the Author: Heather Green-Oliver

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