Powwow Dance Club - a new way to celebrate culture

Iman sits down with Hailey, the club founder, to learn more about how to get involved.



YouAlberta is written by students for students.

Iman (she/her) is a fourth-year Science, Technology and Society major in the Faculty of Arts. Born and raised in Edmonton, her current goal is to identify her true passions by trying new things. When not writing, you can find her reading, listening to music, making games, or perfecting the art of coffee! Iman enjoys getting to know new people and meeting friends while grabbing a coffee or a bubble tea.

If you're still in the midst of looking for clubs to join on campus, I recommend checking out the newfound Powwow Dance Club on campus! Founded by Hailey Hamelin-Wilson, a third-year history major, this club focuses on creating a culturally engaging, all-inclusive, safe place on campus for students to practice dancing that will hopefully include other culturally relevant activities further down the road. 

Hailey has been at the U of A for three years and has been using the drop-in dance studio located on North Campus. Then, she had the idea to do what no other student had done yet, which was to create a club to focus on providing an area for powwow dancing, as well as a designated time of the week for more students to join her, including beginners, those more skilled, those more comfortable watching and everyone in between. 

Hailey hopes that with more turnout and involvement, this club can grow from just dancing to including workshops focusing on important elements surrounding culture. These elements would include aspects such as singing and focusing on outfits, workshops focusing on the craft of creating regalia and other things like learning about proper protocols, as well as overall sharing about the teachings and knowledge behind powwow dancing. More elements would be incorporated throughout the year as the club grows, and more importantly, it will be based on what club members want to see more of. 

Hailey really wants to emphasize the learning aspect of this club. "Any person can be an ally, learn and appreciate," she says. Hailey's idea for this club has been met with a lot of support from "all kinds of people." 

Another purpose she hopes to gain from this club is to be able to educate non-Indigenous people about Indigenous culture. 

She hopes to have the first club meeting at some point in October, so you can be there for the very beginning! The first meeting will focus mostly on getting a grasp of everyone's availability and expectations, moulding the experience to be something everyone is looking for. The activities and schedules moving forward will be based on what club members want. Through promoting the club at club fairs this fall, they already have 55 interested participants – off to a great start! The goal is to have a meeting each week to host dance practices. The club has officially received approval from the University, so the first meeting should be underway shortly! She hopes to get a bigger space – the biggest studio available or a gym – in order to have a lot of space to either practice as a group or do individual styles, countering the initial problem of crowded dance studios. 

Though the club's first meeting is still tentative, keep an eye out for it and be sure to drop in to get involved in some of the activities! You can also check it out from the sidelines, drop in every so often or become a recurring member!