Three years ago a student-led class project in decolonization at Thompson Rivers University brought together a group of non-aboriginal students who had no experience hosting an aboriginal event.
Nonetheless, students in TRU's School of Social Work set out to organize a powwow to build cultural awareness on campus.
And this weekend, the event returns with an anticipated 300 participants.
"This event has become more visible, interactive and wider reaching to TRU students," said Nathan Matthew, TRU executive director of aboriginal education. "And it brings many people together to honour our children and the spirit of the vision that brings this powwow to TRU."
The 2013 Honouring Our Tiny Tots Cultural Celebration and Powwow gathers aboriginals from communities within the Secwepemc, Nlaka'pamux, Ts'ilhqot'in, Dakelh, Syilx and Nuxalk Territories as well as other distant First Nations who otherwise might not get the chance to participate and celebrate in this way.
This year's host drum is Kwatna Mountain, master of ceremonies is Richard Jackson, the arena director is Jim Edgar and the whipman will be announced soon.
"We are particularly proud that our students have taken the initiative to organize this event," said TRU president Alan Shaver. "With the guidance of elders and the community, this event celebrates aboriginal youth and culture."
The powwow takes place Friday and Saturday in the TRU gym. Grand entries are at 7 p.m. on Friday and at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday.
A partnership between aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities, TRU's annual event is a much smaller version of the Kamloopa Powwow.
An impressive example of the Secwepemc people's heritage vibrantly performed in dance, drumming and story telling, the Kamloopa Powwow is held each summer beneath the arbour at Tk'emlups, attracting nearly 30,000 people.