A fantastic celebration of Indigenous culture took place at the 25th anniversary of the Yellow Wolf Inter-tribal Powwow in Saanichton recently.
The two-day event drew participants from across Canada and included some international spectators from France and China. The event was back after a year’s hiatus due to some deaths in main organizer Angel Sampson’s family. Sampson is a community leader who is very active in the Peninsula First Nations, recently helping to hold a Yellow Wolf Powwow at Lau’welnew tribal school’s Indigenous Day celebrations. At that powwow, the children performed dances in beautiful traditional dress while war drummers beat out rhythms and sang songs.
The more recent powwow happened Aug. 2 to 4 and included a remembrance service before the festivities began. Over the weekend, four grand entries were made by a parade of dancers, most wearing intricate traditional regalia. Clothed in buck-skin outfits with delicate beading and feathers, the dancers whirled and swayed in front of the audience. The powwow featured a variety of traditional forms including fancy dancers, grass dancer dressed in regalia made of ribbon, and jingle dress dancers with metal cones attached to their clothes.
Powwows are not traditionally part of Coast Salish culture and Sampson started the event to honour her late mother who was from the NezPerce Nation in Idaho.
The event brought multiple generations and members of different First Nations together. Three dancers who caught the eye were Tommy Little Spruce and his son Leland from Saskatchewan, and Sioux dancer Vernon Growing Thunder who now lives in Duncan.