Pow Wow: Bridging Communities - Squamish.com | Squamish Culture Online
Squamish Nation Couple
Photo: Dave Humphreys

Squamish Nation hosts the 14th Annual Squamish Valley Siyam Powwow on November 19 and 20, 2016.  Squamish Nation  offers an all-inclusive invitation to the Squamish community:  Come, sit and eat with us. Dance and enjoy the drum with us.  

The Venue

The two-day pow wow, organized by the Squamish Nation Education Department, takes place at Totem Hall.  The hall sits under the world’s second largest granite monolith, the Stawamus Chief, and is located at the traditional village of Stawmus, which has been inhabited by Squamish Nation for more than 12, 000 years.

William Visser Whiskeyjack- Photo: Anita Weimann

Oh, The Sights You’ll See.

Prepare to be gobsmacked if you’ve never been to pow wow. Dancers decked in Easter egg pastels and rows of jingle cones shuffle barefoot to their seats. Jingle dress dancers try to jingle-less as elders offer prayer.

Pow wow dancers stare into the music as friends part their hair severely with the flick of a rattail comb and braid it for performance. Guests enjoy mouthfuls of salmon, slurps of venison soup, and bites of bannock.

Photo: Submitted

A Living Ceremony

Dancers’ regalia combine synthetic colours and plastic sequins with natural materials like deer hide and abalone shells.  Vendors sell beaded leather handiwork and polyester blankets screened with howling wolves. Vendor tables are available to rent for $30.  

Elders record ancient drum songs on i-Phones. Feather bustles hang on camera tripods.  Bells wrap around the tops of Converse All-Stars.

The modern pow wow is a living ceremony that helps to bridge cultures, generations, and technologies.

Squamish Nation Opens the Door to Community Building

Non-indigenous attendance of Squamish Nation events is limited, but growing.

Squamish Nation member Tsawaysia Spukwus remembers: “When I grew up there was no bridge between the two communities.”

Pow wow can build that bridge–there ain’t no party like a pow wow party.  And everybody loves a party, right?

For more information, contact Shirley Lewis at (604) 892-5166.

Kerry Redman

The author Kerry Redman

Lover of letter and land, Kerry is a writer and communication specialist. She splits her time between Squamish and Dog Creek, where she works as a communication coordinator for Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation, currently part of the largest treaty negotiation table in BC. She keeps it real with beer and Bruce Springsteen.