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For the 13th year, Winnipeg will celebrate Indigenous culture and heritage at the Manito Ahbee Festival. 

The Manito Ahbee Festival opened today at The Forks' Oodena Circle. The celebration included the Buffalo Red Thunder dancing and drumming groups, who helped guide the Eagle Staff to the centre. Hand drums were walked in by volunteers. Those drums will be given out in lieu of trophies at the Indigenous Music Awards later this week.

"We're having such a great time in the city of Winnipeg and we're hosting this amazing event," said host Lisa Meeches.

The Manito Ahbee Festival is packed with events throughout May Long Weekend. The Indigenous Music Conference starts Thursday and the Indigenous Music Awards start Friday.

There will also be an Indigenous Marketplace and Trade Show Saturday through Sunday, joined by an Art Challenge, both in the Convention Centre.

One of the bigger events in the International Pow Wow, where over 800 dancers come together to compete for prizes in numerous categories. Drum groups will also be competing. A Pow Wow Manito is described by the Manito Ahbee Festival as a gathering to be thankful and to celebrate culture and friendship. Everyone is welcome to attend as they hope to bring everyone together from all directions and unite as one.

More dancing takes place on Sunday, including square dancing and jigging competitions.

Manito Ahbee is a sacred site located in the Whiteshell area. It's an Ojibway word, which means "where the Creator sits." The province of Manitoba takes its name from this site.

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