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

Victoria women’s program in critical need of household items for women

Everything from dining sets to beds is needed to keep their programs running

Rain throughout the day for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at the week

CPR month promotes hands-on approach to life-saving measure

PulsePoint Respond App alerts people if there is a victim of a cardiac arrest within 400 metres

Unwrap the glam and make someone shine at the Hudson’s Bay

Special event raises funds for improving mental health across Canada

War bride’s oversea voyage to Canada took a leap of faith

More than 45,000 women immigrated to Canada after the Second World War

VIDEO: Pups in the pool: West Shore rec centre’s Dog Swim a success

West Shore Parks and Recreation goes to the dogs Sunday night

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Victoria Jazz Orchestra concert raises funds for the Single Parents’ Resource Centre

Maria Manna on tap for the Nov. 16 performance in Victoria

Renowned men’s chorus ‘Back by Popular Demand’ in Victoria

One of Canada’s premier singing ensembles kicks off its 39th season on Nov. 16

Mexican culinary celebration fills Victoria Public Market

Taco, Tequila and Margarita Fiesta takes over the Victoria Public Market the evening of Nov. 16

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Most Read