The Yellow Wolf Intertribal powwow is returning to the Saanich Peninsula this weekend after an absence of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizer Angel Sampson and her family started the powwow to honour their late mother, who left her home in the Nez Perce Nation in Idaho to start a family on Vancouver Island. The name of the powwow reflects the traditional name of Sampson’s only child, son Brian Sampson.
This year’s powwow, which takes place July 22 to 24 at Stelly’s secondary in Central Saanich is the first since 2019, when it celebrated its 25th anniversary. It happens against the backdrop of last year’s discovery of the remains of 215 children, who had attended the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
“We have a special ceremony planned on the Saturday of the powwow, as we are honouring the 215 (children) after the 1 p.m. grand entry,” Angel Sampson said.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine has also shaped the event, she added.
“We have also invited the Ukrainian people to come and participate in our powwow by sharing their culture, food and dancing.”
Past editions of the event have drawn several thousand visitors from near and far.
“Each year we try to make our family’s powwow a fun time for all visitors,” Sampson said. “As always, our powwow is open to the general public and there is no entrance fee and it is wheelchair accessible.”
Sampson said she and her family are direct descendants of Yellow Wolf, who was first cousin to Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Nation.
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