Students watch their classmates dancing a traditional pow wow. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

PHOTOS: ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ tribal school celebrates Indigenous Day with Yellow Wolf Powwow

Traditional drumming, singing and dancing brings school together in celebration

Traditional drummers, a Powwow and a delicious feast marked ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ tribal school’s Indigenous Day celebrations.

The school hosted its celebrations a day early as the students and teachers had Friday off to mark the national occasion. Adult members and elders of the four local First Nations attended; from the Tsawout, Tseycum, Pauquachin and Tsartlip. Children from those communities attend the school and it was a chance for them to join together to celebrate their heritage.

ALSO READ: Tsartlip drummers open Chief Dan George exhibition in Sidney

A team from the school, including Maryann Gladstone, Robin Cooper and Nancy Eassie, worked with the community group, YellowWolf Powwow Committee, to put on the celebration. Angel Sampson was the lead organizer and worked with the committee and her family members to put on a memorable event.

The Powwow took place on the school’s soccer pitches and, thanks to funding from the First Nations Health Authority, also had mini golf, bouncy castles and a PA system, adding to the festival atmosphere. Sampson feels the event complements the work the school already does.

“They have a language immersion program here, children from the day-care right the way to high school are involved in the language, drumming and singing and doing so much that is a part of our culture. We’re very fortunate that people from the community get involved with the school programs and that there are teachers that know about our background and history, and what direction they want the children to go in,” said Sampson.

ALSO READ: Province invests $2.7 million in Indigenous teacher education training

Sampson’s brother, Muz, led proceedings. He welcomed everyone, gave a few words of context and gently marshalled the children through the different stages of the Powwow.

Three traditional singing and drumming groups performed, attracting interested children who came and watched.

The students sat in a single line that made up three sides of a square, with the fourth side taken up by the drumming groups. The centre of the square was the dancing area. A group of young students wearing colourful traditional dress started dancing and were quickly joined by teachers and students who followed them around in a circular motion. The students watched, then silently and without prompting, got up and ran to join in when the moment took them. At some point every student was dancing, and children would drift back to the edges of the square for a rest before re-joining the throng once they had caught their breath. The Powwow had a joyous vibe, with the students dancing under a bright blue sky, before a backdrop of tall trees and mountains.

ALSO READ: Youth activism pushes Central Saanich to declare ‘climate emergency’

Afterwards, the children returned to their classrooms and the adults enjoyed a lunch made by the community and Sampson’s family.

“Every dancer has their own dance style, there are traditional dancers, jingle dress dancers and I think I saw fancy dancers,” says Sampson. “Every dance style has its history and its story, and everybody’s got their own reasons for why they were drawn to that particular dance style. More than anything, as a young person, they dance for those who can’t dance anymore.”

For more information on ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ tribal school visit wsanecschoolboard.ca.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Throat singing and drumming group Westwind gave a well-received performance. There were two other groups, one from the USA, called War Hawk. A young boy watches intently. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

One of the students in traditional dress performing a dance. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Two young girls twirl and swirl as they performed an energetic dance. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Some delicious crab freshly caught for the feast. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Angel Sampson, her family and friends had prepared a lavish spread. Soon all the guests were eating happily.(Nick Murray/News Staff)

Just Posted

500 pounds of turkey served at Cool Aid community Christmas dinner

Annual dinner serves hundreds of community members

VIDEO: Annual Tuba Christmas concert draws large crowd to Market Square

Over 100 tuba and euphonium players gathered to play festive tunes

Revisit Christmas past as Point Ellice House displays Victorian-era traditions

Antique bobbles, cards, decor and more are on display

Bold and brassy quintet touches down at UVic

Internationally recognized Canadian Brass performing with Victoria Symphony on Dec. 21

Saanich church kicks off holidays with peaceful Winter Solstice service

St. Luke’s song-filled Christmas services come later

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Most Read