The beauty and richness of the Indigenous culture is a welcomed sign of returning to normal with the Manito Ahbee Festival
The Manito Ahbee Festival in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has been cancelled for the last two years due to the pandemic. That means in that time, Manitobans were not able to celebrate and embrace the warm and vibrant culture of the Indigenous community in person. In the absence of a live show, many virtual events ensured festival enthusiasts remained engaged and connected.
MEANING BEHIND THE NAME AS LISTED ON THE MANITO AHBEE WEBSITE
“The festival name ‘Manito Ahbee’ was gifted to the festival through ceremony and is named after the sacred site, one of the most important and significant traditional Indigenous gathering sites in all of Turtle Island (North America). The Manito Ahbee sacred site is located in the western Whiteshell area of Manitoba. Manito Ahbee, an Ojibway word, means “where the Creator sits.”
The site is recognized and honoured by Indigenous peoples across North America as a sacred place for all people. The name of the province, Manitoba, is itself derived from the name of this sacred site. The festival represents an opportunity for Manitobans and visitors alike to experience the festival as a celebration for all people. Manito Ahbee invites everyone, uniting residents and visitors in the spirit of honouring Indigenous culture and the seven sacred teachings: love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility, and truth.”
2022 marked the 17th year of existence for the festival. Like all Indigenous festivals held throughout Manitoba, it is a time of celebration and unity. The community extends their hands widely and shares the richness of their history, struggles, and triumphs with everyone, and this is why eager spectators travel from around the globe to attend.
This year’s festival paid homage to Indigenous filmmakers and showcased its rich history of square dances, jigging, a Starblanket Competition, and a Ribbon Skirt Competition.
The festival also crowned Miss Ashley Asapace the new Miss Manito Ahbee Youth Ambassador honouring the memory of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls. This honour is bestowed upon one of many deserving individuals every four years.
The Manito Ahbee Festival has a bit of something for everyone. Formal singing, drumming, and a Pow Wow and grand entrance. Dancers travel from all corners of the globe to participate in the Pow Wow. It is a showcase of elite talent, training, and channelling of the spirits of their ancestors.
The return of the Manito Ahbee Festival is a welcomed sign of things returning to normal. It is proof that a community that has endured so much throughout history only sees the beauty of acceptance while openly sharing the richness of its culture, teachings, and way of life.