‘It’s heartwarming’: Indoor powwow brings hundreds together for MMIWG2S

A powwow in the Winnipeg’s North End on Saturday was the first one to be held indoors since the pandemic started two years ago.

The Beating Heart Pow Wow was organized by the Hudson family, who lost their daughter Eishia Hudson in a police incident in 2020.

The powwow gets its name from William Hudson’s youngest daughter.

“Because our daughter Anastasia, her traditional gifted name, is Beating Heart, so it comes with protection and guidance,” said Cheyenne Ducharme, Anastasia’s mother. “I know that for Anastasia, this is her way of healing de ella, she dances and that’s what brings healing towards our family and potentially, hopefully for others.”

The turnout for the event was at the maximum 350 people allowed.

“It’s heartwarming. It’s so wonderful to see everybody together. I mean it’s very overwhelming, but in a positive way,” said Ducharme.

The powwow is the first one held inside since the pandemic started two years ago, signifying an important return to normal.

“I want to acknowledge everyone who had made the sacrifice over the past two years, our chiefs, our health team leaders, the people who came together to keep each other safe for the past two years, and it’s tremendous that we’re able to gather this way,” said Arlen Dumas, Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

But more importantly, the powwow also served as a chance to advocate for the missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people — like Eishia and the many others remembered at the event.

“I have family members, my cousin who’s murdered and missing, and as well as many other women and different people who have gone missing and we need to continue that advocacy,” said Dumas.

The Hudson family said the powwow was a way to grieve and heal as a community.

“You know, like the gathering we’re doing here, the power and having everything together, it’s medicine for all of us. You know, it’s healing. It makes us all feel good to be together,” said William.

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