Crowds flocked to the Royal Athletic Park to sing and dance to celebrate National Truth and Reconciliation Day.
The South Island Powwow, organized by the Songhees Nation and City of Victoria, kicked off Friday (September 30) morning with an opening prayer and dance.
The inaugural event not only recognizes survivors of the 1960s residential school, day school and Scoop, it celebrates the cultures and resilience of indigenous peoples.
“I feel overwhelmed, overjoyed just to see the rise 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 a bleak occasion, it is an opportunity to come together to support those who survived and remember the children who did not.
“Yeah, we’re going to remember it,” he said. “But at the same time also standing together and celebrating as a community.”
And while powwows are not a tradition of Lekwungen peoples, it has been embraced by community members, Sam said.
The day of dancing, drumming, teaching, food and art continues until midnight when the powwow ends with the colors disappearing.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.
follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.
City of VictoriaOrange Shirt DaySonghees NationTruth and Reconciliation