Our culture needs to grow.

This is my first entry in my new blog so it won’t necessarily be the most challenging.  I’ve been thinking of doing this for some time and decided to get with it before I slip on a banana peel and lose all sense of what is important to me.  For now the posts will be limited to personal observations so bear with me as I learn how to do this.

My first thought this morning comes from the experience last evening of being at the Manito Ahbee Pow Wow here in Winnipeg.  There are about 1000 dancers and about 3000 spectators.  THat’s a lot of people, but in a city of almost a million people and about 20,000 aboriginal people, why aren’t there more? Lisa Meeches and her team at Manito Ahbee can’t be blamed for lack of communicating the event, It was in the paper and on radio all week and NCI Radio and APTN are broadcasting on site. Perhaps the entry cost is prohibitive for too many.  Perhaps powwows have a limit as cultural expositions. Of greater concern however, perhaps, is that maybe aboriginal youth still don’t have a sense of pride and aboriginal adults still lack a sense of the importance and value of our culture.    I can’t help but feel that if it was a hip hop concert, the 17,000 seat arena would be jammed to the rafters with youth.  Maybe we need a session with dancers showing how to dance powwow style to hip hop music. I’ve seen it done and I have to admit it’s kind of fascinating to watch.  It does beg the question however, of whether we are letting our cultural events lose touch with youth. Culture has to adapt and change to be dynamic and that includes music and dance.  When you look at other societies – India for example with Bollywood music – you can see the excitement in the faces of those communities at the performance, partly because of the fact I suspect that young people are thrilled to be part of it.  They are the future and one of our duties as the older generations is to help them shape our culture for their generation as well.

About Senator Murray Sinclair

Canadian Senator Formerly Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba and recent Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
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