PHOTOS: South Island Powwow in Victoria celebrates Indigenous culture, resiliency

Through song and dance, Friday’s (Sept. 30) South Island Powwow at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park memorializes the past and future of First Nations and Metis people. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Through song and dance, Friday’s (Sept. 30) South Island Powwow at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park memorializes the past and future of First Nations and Metis people. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Large numbers of people pass through Royal Athletic Park throughout the day to celebrate Indigenous cultures and resiliency as well as honour survivors. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Large numbers of people pass through Royal Athletic Park throughout the day to celebrate Indigenous cultures and resiliency as well as honour survivors. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin spoke at the event, among others. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin spoke at the event, among others. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
The Star Child Drum Group, host drum for the powwow, plays a song as the day-long event kicks off. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)The Star Child Drum Group, host drum for the powwow, plays a song as the day-long event kicks off. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Dancers from various First Nations participate in intertribal dances throughout the day. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Dancers from various First Nations participate in intertribal dances throughout the day. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
A Metis fiddler group fills Royal Athletic Park with lively music as dancers accompany them. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)A Metis fiddler group fills Royal Athletic Park with lively music as dancers accompany them. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Dancers from various First Nations participate in intertribal dances throughout the day. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Dancers from various First Nations participate in intertribal dances throughout the day. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)

Large numbers of people flocked to Royal Athletic Park to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation through song and dance.

The South Island Powwow, organized by the Songhees Nation and City of Victoria, kicked off Friday (Sept. 30) morning with an opening prayer and dance.

Not only is the inaugural event recognizing survivors of residential school, day school and the ’60s Scoop, it’s celebrating the cultures and resiliency of Indigenous peoples.

“I’m feeling overwhelmed, overjoyed just from seeing the turnout and support of the people in this region,” said Songhees Nation chief Ron Sam. “It means a lot to us here at Songhees Nation.”

He added that while Orange Shirt Day is somber occasion, it’s an opportunity to come together to support those who survived and remember the children who didn’t.

“Yes, we’re going to remember,” he said. “But also, at the same time, stand together and celebrate as a community.”

And although powwows aren’t a tradition of Lekwungen peoples, it’s been embraced by members of the community, said Sam.

The day of dancing, drumming, teachings, food and art continues until midnight when the powwow comes to a close with the retirement of colours.

ALSO READ: ‘A Mothers Cry’ heard across B.C.’s northwest captures the pain of separation and loss


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City of VictoriaOrange Shirt DaySonghees NationTruth and Reconciliation

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