Following a brief hiatus, the Yellow Wolf Inter-tribal Powwow is back for their 25th anniversary, taking place Aug. 2 to 4 at 7728 Tetayut Rd. in Saanichton.
The powwow took last year to regroup following a number of deaths in Angel Sampson’s family, who is the main organizer. Starting at 4 p.m. on Friday, a memorial will be held to honour Sampson’s three brothers and niece who passed away, followed by children, grand children and great grand children rejoining the powwow circuit.
Following the memorial, at 7 p.m., will be the first of four grand entries which will see a parade of numerous dancers partaking in the weekend’s event.
The powwow will see various styles of dance including traditional dancers clothed in buck-skin outfits with intricate beading and feathers, along with fancy dancers, grass dancer dressed in regalia made of ribbon that moves in specific ways and jingle dress dancers where metal cones are attached to clothing with each pattern and style emitting a unique sound.
Sampson says there may even be some hoop dancers at the event.
The powwow started as a way for Sampson and her family to honour their late mother who left her home in the NezPerce Nation in Idaho to start a family on the Island.
“That’s where we get our powwow roots,” explains Sampson, as powwows are not indigenous to Coast Salish Culture.
Saturday’s grand entries start at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. with dancing expected to last until around 11 p.m. and the final grand entry takes place at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Drawing crowds anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people, the powwow has seen spectators from around the world such as Japan, Switzerland, Germany and England. Sampson says this is a great opportunity for tourists to support local artists or vendors by taking home a piece of culture.
The powwow is wheelchair accessible and anyone is welcome to watch, eat and of course, dance. For more information call Sampson at 250-665-7777.
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