Thursday, May 17, 2012

Re-Instilling Cultural Pride with Aboriginal Festivals

The grass is getting greener, the flowers are blooming and the birds are chirping. Spring is upon us and I can feel the excitement and anticipation in the air – summer is just around the corner. For many Canadians, summer is a time to get reacquainted with your community and what better way than to attend a festival.  

I think one of the things that sets Manitoba aside is its plethora of festivals and just to name a few - Winnipeg Folk Festival, Festival du Voyageur, Manito Ahbee and Folklorama. Manitoba’s Aboriginals Festivals are also a cut above the rest. 

MétisFest is held in late July in Killarney, Manitoba. It provides Métis artists with an opportunity to showcase their talent while providing everyone else with the opportunity to learn about Métis heritage, culture and place in North American history. (

Manito Ahbee is held in early November in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The festival draws people from across Canada, the United States and abroad. The many festival events include a Youth Education Conference, Indigenous Marketplace and Trade Show, International Competition Pow Wow and the renowned Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards.  `The impact of the Festival reaches well beyond entertainment; it has communicated a very significant message about the importance of celebrating Aboriginal culture. It arouses a far deeper understanding and powerful affirmation of Aboriginal cultural rebirth and renewal. It showcases the talents, gifts and abilities of Aboriginal artists from all nations. It is truly a celebration of Aboriginal music, arts, culture and heritage not seen before by the broader public through the many festival events.` (

Cultural festivals for Aboriginal communities can provide a multitude of positive benefits for their residents, visitors and surrounding communities. They bring communities together for a few days of celebration, often revitalizing smaller communities. They can re-instil cultural pride for residents and can promote greater cultural understanding and awareness. Festivals support local artisans, suppliers and performers and can be marketed to entice tourists and visitors to come and experience a community. And of course, they allow festival goers to sample new foods and listen to new music!

If you are looking to inject a little life into your community, get people out and celebrating, a festival is a great way to do it. CES would love to help you plan, organize and implement your cultural festival. 

-          Jessica Braun

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