The Songhees Nation is hosting the second-annual South Island Powwow with support from the City of Victoria.
The powwow takes place on Sept. 30 on the homelands of the Lekwungen people at Royal Athletic Park. Sept. 30 is a federal statutory holiday to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day.
The powwow honours and recognizes survivors of residential and day schools and their families, the Sixties Scoop and the children who never made it home from these institutions. The powwow also celebrates Indigenous cultures and resiliency and brings people together in celebration to build bridges amongst all nations.
“The South Island Powwow has rekindled a piece of Songhees history, while providing a safe space for healing, education and understanding,” said Chief Ron Sam of the Songhees Nation, in a statement.
Local First Nations, along with nations from the mainland, have been welcomed to participate in the time-honoured powwow. Last year’s inaugural event attracted 10,000 people during the grand entry, with more people expected to attend this year.
“We invite the public to be present, with an open mind and open heart to witness the resiliency of Indigenous peoples on this important day of National Truth and Reconciliation,” Sam said.
The event will feature the traditional grand entry of nations, with Indigenous song and dance with two host drums, Sage Hills and Blackfish, along with guest speakers, and over 80 vendors including multiple food trucks. Admission to the event is free and everyone is welcome. Gates will open at 10 a.m., with two grand entries – noon and 6 p.m. Colours will retire at midnight.
“The City of Victoria is honoured to once again be working in partnership with the Songhees Nation to mark this day and celebrate the strength and resilience of Indigenous Peoples,” said Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto. “We welcome Songhees Nation’s invitation to the whole community to join the City in supporting the South Island Powwow as a meaningful step in our journeys of reconciliation.”