Greater Victoria residents are invited to mark the second-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a community powwow.
Organized by the Songhees Nation in partnership with area municipalities, the South Island Powwow is scheduled for Sept. 30 at Royal Athletic Park. Katherine Legrange, executive director at the nation, said the first-of-its-kind event in the region is intended to be a mixture of celebration and ceremony.
“We are super excited to invite the community to celebrate that day with us,” said Legrange. “It’s out of recognition of the children who never made it home from residential schools, and we felt it was really important to honour the survivors who are still with us in a day of ceremony. Powwow is ceremony, and it is celebration. It celebrates the resiliency of our culture which has survived many attempts to extinguish it throughout the years.”
Legrange said it is important for the Songhees Nation to connect with the wider community, and come together in unity despite some remaining differences between the communities. She said there are good conversations happening around reconciliation which are worth celebrating, but there remains a need for those conversations to continue, with events like the powwow helping ensure that happens.
The free event is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m., with an opening ceremony at 11 and the grand entry at noon. The evening schedule is launched by another grand entry at 6 p.m., with the event ending with the retirement of colours around midnight.
Throughout the day, inter-tribal dancers and singers will be performing together, and without competition. Artists will be onsite showcasing and selling their work, and there will be no shortage of food trucks headlined by Songhees Catering and Events.
Legrange said organizers are still looking for sponsors and volunteers for the event, with those interested in either asked to visit songheesnation.ca/south-island-powwow for more information on how to apply.
“It’s a real experience coming to powwow. Everyone is always in a good mood, everyone is there for food, and then you always see the kids running around, which always brings a tear to my eye.”