Friday, September 6, 2019

Kamloopa Powwow ~ Tk'emlups te Secwepemc ~ Kamloops, BC

The 40th annual Kamloopa PowWow was held at the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc In Kamloops in August.  This annual event draws large crowds to enjoy and learn about the years of stories and events that are told in the many performances here.

Grand Entry
Kamloopa PowWow is one of the largest celebrations of the First Nations in Western Canada.  It begins with the Grand Entry daily with tribal flags representing them as they are being led onto the grounds of the arena. Tk’emlups Chief Rosanne Casimir will lead the groups of performers who are introduced as they enter the arena. 

Leading the Grand Entry
The details in their regalia, their special dress, is incredible.  They all have stories as historical categories and as individual creations. The making of powwow dance outfits is an art form all its own. 

Tribal dancing
Many elements included in the regalia are often associated with the ceremonial function.  Examples are eagle feathers, animal hides, bear claws and items handed down through generations. Some designs were given in dreams and visions. 

Hundreds of dancers
It can take years to build up a wardrobe for performing their dances.  These are rarely made by the dancers anymore, although some are.  They may have been passed down the generations or even part of them such as moccasins or beadwork.  The skills required to make these are varied and special.

Dancers fill the arena
Over 1000 dancers are participating with their beautiful and colorful traditional regalia and are all gathered and dancing and singing as they fill the circle arena. In years gone by, often songs were using ‘vocables’ so that the other tribes who may not know the same language could also sing along.  This may explain why I wasn’t hearing distinct words.  I believe we were hearing the same.

Princess Pageant
These beautiful ladies were competing in the Princess Pageant for 2019.  They each had their individual performance sharing expressions of their heritage using their talent or dance.  Song and dance is a great display of storytelling and their spirituality.  

Drumming contest

The drum contest is another one of many contests held throughout the Powwow.  Different dance categories are Golden Age, Men’s Buckskin, traditional, Chicken, Jingle, Grass, Fancy Feathers and Fancy Shawl.  Young and old are here to share their heritage and perform to celebrate that.

Colorful regaia

Many of the regalia seen in these photos can be identified once we know the names of the different dance categories.  When enjoying the day, the Jingle regalia can be heard coming, and the Fancy Feathers can be seen from afar.  It would be difficult to choose a favorite as each one has its beauty and special markings to be admired.

The Powwow also includes several booths with Native Arts and Crafts which can be purchase when you are there. There is absolutely no alcohol or drugs allowed on the grounds which makes for a very clean and safe atmosphere during the powwow. 

Lots of hard work was done by many creating the greatest results with the Kamloopa Powwow.  Well done to all who made this happen.

You can view other photos from another Kamloopa Powwow here.