The West Broadway community played host to a unique and elaborate event this week that saw community members gather to celebrate Indigenous culture and ceremony, while also celebrating this province’s LGBTQ community.
On Wednesday, local group Two-Spirit Powwow Winnipeg hosted the Mini Pop-Up 2S Powwow on the grounds of the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre on Young Street.
The event, which combined traditional powwow ceremony and dance, with a celebration of LGBTQ community members was organized by Kelly Houle, the founder of the Two-Spirit Powwow Winnipeg group.
The idea for a two-spirit powwow came to Houle five years ago when she said she attended the annual Pride event that takes place every summer in Winnipeg.
“I just knew something was missing, and there needed to be a two-spirited powwow, so I went to the organizers of the Pride committee,” Houle said on Wednesday, just moments before the powwow was set to get underway.
“I said ‘can we please join you with a two spirit powwow?' and they said 'yes,' and we did.”
According to Houle the idea didn’t take long to catch on. Since the first event there has been a two-spirit powwow held at every Pride event that has taken place in Winnipeg since then, and also some that have happened beyond Manitoba’s borders.
“I believe it was the first of its kind on Canada, and now they are happening all over,” she said.
Houle said she wants the powwows to always be a place where anyone of any race or gender can come and feel welcome.
“A lot of people come who are allies, these are strong allies and they bring their kids and that is such a big part of this because we need to educate people,” she said.
Houle added because of COVID-19 health orders, Wednesday’s powwow was the first event organized by Two-Spirit Powwow Winnipeg in more than 18 months, and she was excited to see another event finally take place in the city.
, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun