Brandon University prepares to host Indigenous Awareness Week

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Five full days of music, dance, presentations and cultural exchanges are planned as Brandon University (BU) prepares to celebrate Indigenous Awareness Week from Monday, Feb. 10 to Friday, Feb. 14.

Events will take place at various locations around campus, beginning on Monday with the start of the Brandon University Indigenous New Music Festival. The three-day festival will feature workshops, talks and evening concerts. Monday’s events will also include a Learn to Jig session featuring instruction by BU student Janelle Houle as well as music by festival guest performers Cris Derksen and Melody McKiver.

Other Indigenous Awareness Week events will include a beading session, moss-bag making, Indigenous medicine teachings and a free screening of the documentary Martha of the North. The week’s festivities will conclude with a mini round dance on Friday at 2 p.m. in the Kavanagh Courtyard.

“We’re very excited to have such a wide variety of presentations and events this year,” said Michelle Bessette, Indigenous Student Success Officer at BU. “We’ve had contributions from right around campus with students, staff, faculty members and knowledge keepers coming together to organize or help with events.

“There really is something for everyone, and it’s going to be a great week to share, to learn and to have some fun.”

Other events will include a presentation on Indigenous history and culture, a talk by an Ironman triathlon team that is raising awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous people, and an open house for the BU Centre for Aboriginal and Rural Education Studies.

A full schedule of events is available at the BU Indigenous Peoples’ Centre website at All events are free and open to everyone, but pre-registration may be required for some events.

Indigenous Awareness Week will lead up to the Louis Riel Day long weekend. While university offices will be closed and there will be no classes on Louis Riel Day, the campus will be open to the community for the Fun Family Celebration, presented by Grand Valley Local. The Fun Family Celebration will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 17 in Harvest Hall, featuring live music, face-painting, jigging lessons and free food.


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