Doors Open

Allyson Doxtator, part of the Ukwehuwe Connection dance troupe, performs at Museum London during Doors Open on Sept. 14, 2019. (MEGAN STACEY/The London Free Press)

By Megan Stacey
Originally published September 15, 2019 on The London Free Press

A vibrant display of Indigenous culture took over Museum London on Saturday afternoon as dancers showed off traditional longhouse and powwow routines.

The Ukwehuwe Connection – a dance troupe from Oneida Nation of the Thames – treated crowds to a spectacular show as part of the city-wide Doors Open celebrations shining the light on cultural, heritage and business landmarks across London.

“It brings people together, it breaks down stereotypes. It shows people our ways are alive,” Frazer Sundown, a drummer and artist, said of the dance and drumming performances.

“A lot of museums label us as history. It’s kind of a past thing. We’re still here. This culture is still alive.”

That effort to bridge the gap and expose more Londoners to Indigenous dance and culture even involved a communal dance number, when spectators were invited onto the floor to dance with the artists of the Ukwehuwe Connection.

Allyson Proulx, a London artist, said she came to Museum London as part of Doors Open because she loves to dance and wants to support Indigenous-led events.

She was one of the first people to leave her seat and join the dancers for the final act.

“I feel that’s very important, to listen to their stories, to learn that history, to interact with everything they have to offer us,” Proulx said of the message and culture shared by the Ukwehuwe Connection.

There are close to 40 organizations and locations opening their doors – literally – for Londoners to explore throughout the weekend.

It’s the city’s 18th year participating in the province-wide Doors Open effort, with everything from brewery tours to clay-making projects to trips highlighting the famed Hamilton Road Tree Trunk tour.

London is one of the oldest host cities in Ontario.