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Manito Ahbee Festival returns to in-person celebration

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Pictured above: The Pow Wow dancers from all Turtle Island at the Manito Ahbee Pow Wow grand entry (left) and the residential school survivors that were honoured (right). Photo courtesy of Manito Ahbee Festival.

Around 9,400 people from all backgrounds came together to celebrate Indigenous arts, culture and music at the 17th annual Manito Ahbee Festival in Winnipeg, MB in May.

The live festival kicked off on May 18 at the Red River Exhibition Park with a parade and lighting of the sacred fire, with most of the festival activities taking place over the weekend. On May 20, a grand entry was held to mark the Manito Ahbee Pow Wow, with dancers from all over Turtle Island (North America) walking in and where Residential School Survivors were honoured. It was a powerful moment for all of the participants and everyone in the audience.

In addition to the Pow Wow’s performances, several performers took to the APTN Ignite Our Spirit stage, showcasing the talent of artists across Manitoba. Inuit, Dene and Métis cultural showcases featured performers from Nunavut and Lac Brochet, MB. 

Several new activities were included for this year’s festival, such as the Pow Wow Pitch competition, with more than 40 Indigenous entrepreneurs pitching their businesses. 

These and other activities such as the Reconnection to Culture Education Day, a square dancing exhibition, a jigging contest, a tipi raising contest, the Manito Ahbee Marketplace, the Neechie auction, food trucks, and more were carried out over the span of three days.

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Pictured above: Youth competing in the Hockey Ball tournament (left) and racers rushing to the finish line in the Elite Indian Horse Relay (right). Photo courtesy of Manito Ahbee Festival 

The Indian Horse Relay – another new addition to the festival – was saved for the last day, on May 23. Described as the “original Indigenous extreme sport” the Indian Horse Relay is a fast-paced competition that sees each rider take three laps around the track on three different unsaddled horses in a typical relay race format. This is the first time an event of its kind was done in Manitoba and kicked off the 2022 horse racing season at the Assiniboia Downs race tracks located in Peguis First Nation in Headingly, MB.

The North West Company was proud to extend its continued support as a Beaver Sponsor to this year’s Manito Ahbee Festival, celebrating Indigenous culture in Turtle Island as the title sponsor of the Manito Ahbee Pow Wow.

“The North West Company has been a big supporter of the Manito Ahbee Festival,” said Sandy Fox, Director of Partnerships and Development of the Manito Ahbee Festival. “We were proud to have The North West Company sponsor our first in-person pow wow since 2019. We hope to grow our partnership with The North West Company as we honour Indigenous people from across Turtle Island.”

To learn more about this year’s festival and check out the 2022 Pow Wow winners and visit the Manito Ahbee Festival website