Feature Story                                                                                               Monday, August 18, 2014


Cultural Centre

New Spirit of the People location a good fit for powwow say organizers

Staff/Voice photos


Traditional First Nations dancers competed during the Spirit of the People Powwow.


weekend of sunshine helped make the Annual Spirit of the People Traditional Powwow August 8-10 awesome. Hundreds of people amassed at Tzeachten Sports Field for an opportunity to connect and share their with native heritage

The powwow was a Stó:lō art and culture extravaganza. Traditional dance included Grass and Love Medicine dancers who competed for honours in full-ceremonial dress.


When "tiny tots" danced, host drum Eya Hey Nakoda, who came in from Alberta for the event, performed "Old Macdonald's Farm". If you listened carefully, down in amongst the mellifluous notes and cadence of the drumming, was a beautiful rendition of the classic children's song.


Emcee Nelson Leon referred to the sports field as a "wonderful venue and the powwow's brand new home on Tzeachten First Nation land".

He emphasized clean living at the site.

"This is a drug and alcohol-free event, so drugs and alcohol are not welcome here in this circle," stressed Leon. "This is a way of life for us."

On Saturday afternoon, dignitaries took part in the Grand Entry ceremony as flag bearers for Métis, Stó:lō, Canadian Indian, BC and the United States of America.

Leon named the flag bearers and described the flags. He spoke about the Métis flag.

"Joining us is our Métis representative. They have a European background, with a bit of First Nations ancestry, creating their own tribe and people. Métis is a French word that means mixed. So they're mixed blood," said Leon.

Louis De Jaeger, owner of Bravos Restaurant and federal Liberal Party candidate for the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding, spoke on behalf of the local Métis Nation. He also helped organize the event.

"It was such honour and a pleasure to work with so many great people and really to secure this venue as a growing powwow. It's something we will continue and we will build on," said De Jaeger.

Eya Hey Nakoda brought their big drum and expertise from Alberta for the powwow.

Organizer Gary Abbott gave a historical overview of the powwow and how it was shelved after a death in the family and then revived.

"A few years later, after talking with family, we looked at site and the facilities and decided that Tzeachten Sports Field would be the event's new home," he said. " We're very proud and very honoured that it turned out as well as it did and we hope that it will be much bigger."

Earlier in the week, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Ghislain Picard acknowledged August 9 as International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.

Tzeachten Sports Field is located at 46770 Bailey Rd., Chilliwack.

See more photos below.

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