Exciting Changes for the 2016 Manito Ahbee Festival – Find Out What’s New!

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown January 28th, 2016 Last Updated on: January 28th, 2016

In a press release from earlier this week, the Manito Ahbee Festival announced some big changes including a venue and date change. Keep reading to see what's new!

In 2015 the Manito Ahbee Festival celebrated a decade of Indigenous arts, culture and history. Manito Ahbee and Downtown Winnipeg BIZ invite all nations to join us at the 2016 Manito Ahbee Festival as we continue our mission to unify, educate and inspire! The 11th annual Manito Ahbee Festival brings some exciting new changes including new dates, new locations, and new events. The festival will now take place May 18th – 22nd at the RBC Convention Centre, Club Regent Event Centre, The Forks and University of Winnipeg. In 2016 the Indigenous Music & Arts Program will be launched to provide Indigenous artists with multi-faceted programming to develop business and commercial outputs as well as showcase their artistry. The fundamental components of the program will include a music conference, music showcase, art expo and art challenge competition (quillwork, beadwork, ribbon skirt star-blanket).

“We are extremely excited about the changes to Manito Ahbee and want to invite all of Winnipeg to join us as we celebrate indigenous art, culture and tradition. Manito Ahbee is open to everyone and we hope to see many first timers along with our longtime supporters this May!” said Lisa Meeches, Executive Director.

The Indigenous Music Awards will take a hiatus in 2016 and return in 2017 with a new and improved format that will better support artists in the ever changing music industry. The new festival dates puts Manito Ahbee at the front end of the Pow Wow season. This will have a positive impact, allowing more families the opportunity to attend and participate.

Manito Ahbee Festival Events Include

Lighting of the Sacred Fire& Kick Off (May 18 – Oodena Circle at The Forks)
Official kick off of the 2016 Manito Ahbee Festival! The ceremony will include elders, sponsors, staff, and Board of Governors to open the festival and welcome the public. The kick off will include offerings of tobacco to the sacred fire, and a showcase of music and dance.

MTS Future First Youth Education Day (May 20 – University of Winnipeg)
This event will celebrate and encourage youth as the facilitators explore the history and story of the Pow Wow, engaging the hand drum, the large drum, champion dancers and singers/drummers.

International Pow Wow (May 21-22 – RBC Convention Centre)
The International Pow wow is the largest in Canada and the second largest in North America (Turtle Island). Over 800 dancers will compete for cash prizes in numerous categories and the top award winning drum groups from across the continent will be invited to attend.

Getting Jiggy With It (May 21-22 – RBC Convention Centre)
In honour of the Métis community, their vibrant history and dance style that has been mastered for decades, the Festival will host Getting Jiggy With It – Square Dance and Jigging Competition.

Indigenous Marketplace & Trade Show (May 21-22 – RBC Convention Centre)
Bigger and right on the Pow Wow floor!

Cultural Outreach (May 2016)
The Cultural Outreach Coordinator accompanied by a traditional dance troupe will visit six K–7 schools in the various school divisions in Winnipeg throughout the month of May to share cultural teachings and Pow Wow protocol during this interactive workshop.


“We are thrilled to continue our existing partnership with Manito Ahbee,” says Stefano Grande, Executive Director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “We are proud of our Aboriginal culture and proud to support this community event. Manito Ahbee brings thousands of people, both Aboriginal and non-aboriginal, to celebrate indigenous culture in the heart of our city. As part of our support, weeks leading up to the festivals, Manito Ahbee will infuse its musicians, performers, and artisans into our events, concerts, and festivals, in addition to a special round dance at ManyFest, downtown’s biggest street party.”

We saw over 15,000 attendees plus more than one million viewers online in 2015 and this year, the 11th Manito Ahbee Festival is shaping up to be even bigger and better! Join us and #IgniteYourSpirit at this world class festival of International celebration of Indigenous art and culture. Fun for the whole family!

For more information please visit https://manitoahbee.ca/ or follow them on Facebook.

Home » Native American Articles » Native American Art » Exciting Changes for the 2016 Manito Ahbee Festival – Find Out What's New!

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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