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

Driver crashes into Victoria home causing significant damage to front yard

Impairment believed to be a factor in early morning crash

Saanich Police looking for information relating to suspicious death

The body of a man was found on Crease Avenue just after 9 a.m. on Saturday

Feast of Fields set to take place at Snowdon House farm in North Saanich

Event on Aug. 25 will feature Q at the Empress, Church & State, Phillips Brewing and more

Playground honouring RCMP constable and mother killed by drunk driver in Langford to open on time

‘There will be a few tears’: Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens on Aug. 24

Central Saanich church to bless pets

Blessing might offer redemption

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Maxime Bernier tells party faithful he will make it into the leaders’ debates

The People’s Party of Canada does not meet the current requirements

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okanagan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read