Yellow Wolf Powwow at Tsartlip Nation this long weekend

Sampson Family event is looking for volunteers to help make the 23rd powwow a success.

Drummers at a past Yellow Wolf Powwow on the Saanich Peninsula. The colourful event takes place over the BC Day long weekend at the Tsartlip First Nation near Central Saanich.

If you don’t know what a powwow is, now’s your chance to find out in a small, friendly and social atmosphere at the Tsartlip First Nation near Central Saanich.

The Yellow Wolf Powwow takes place over the BC Day long weekend, July 29 to 31 and is hosted each year by the Sampson family, in honour of matriarch Alice Sampson. This year’s powwow is the 23rd event of its kind, welcoming all people to take in the dancing, drumming, salmon barbecues, crafts and more.

Organizer Angel Sampson says she’s often asked by people about the event and what, exactly, a powwow is.

“It’s a very social event,” she explained. “People of all cultures are invited to come, dance, see the crafts, taste our food. Bring your family and friends to participate or watch.”

Sampson said she expects visitors from B.C. and the Island, Saskatchewan, Washington State and Idaho — her late mother’s home region. Alice Sampson was from the Nez Perce tribe in that state, and had moved to the Coast Salish Territory to be with her husband.

Angel said her mom has a tremendous work ethic and the powwow pays tribute to her — and to Angel’s own son Brian, who was named Yellow Wolf by his grandmother.

This year, Angel continued, the event welcomes a large family from Alberta. They will hold a triple wedding on the Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. — and everyone is invited.

The Yellow Wolf Powwow is an inter-tribal event, bringing together dancers and drummers in a social setting. Angel said they have kept the event small over the years to maintain that atmosphere.

The event opens Friday night at 7 p.m. with a Grand Entry, followed by dancing.

After a Grand Entry at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the activity continues. She said people can arrive early or stay late.

The powwow, she added, is looking for more volunteers to spread out the workload.

People interested in helping out in a variety of areas can call Angel at 250-665-7777 or email her at idahoangel1920@hotmail.com.

Vendors or artists wanting to take part in the event can contact Virgil Sampson at virgilnick@hotmail.com.