The 35th annual Williams Lake Indian Band’s Fathers Day Powwow enjoyed clear skies and warm weather.
Beginning late Friday night, the powwow kicked into full gear on Saturday at 1 p.m. with the grand entry with delegates and dancers from across western Canada. WLIB Councillors, Chief Willie Sellars, an RCMP officer and the Cariboo’s Member of Parliament Todd Doherty.
Dancers included members from many tribes and were of all ages from enthusiastic toddlers to experienced elders. All took to the arbour located on the Chief Will-Yum Campgrounds with a passionate vigour, despite the hot sun beating down.
Ringing the arbour was a collection of traditional vendors selling wares of all kinds while a concession was offered at the WLIB’s Sugar Shack. Breakfast and supper were provided to all for free by the powwow organizers to all attendees.
Doherty was born and raised in Williams Lake and continues to call the Cariboo home from his office in Prince George. He was invited by Sellars to the event but said that he personally wanted to come to the event to support the community.
In 35 years, Doherty is the first and only member of the federal government to attend the Fathers Day Powwow which, while he was honoured to be the first, he said he found disappointing. He feels its important as a person to support and celebrate all of our cultural communities here in Canada.
“(We need to) make sure we are all walking as one, regardless of where we come from or who we are, that we respect (one another),” Doherty said.
He personally found the event to be a lot of fun and found it very uplifting to listen to the drums, as well as seeing so many First Nations and non-First Nations people in attendance. Doherty added he’s really looking forward to this year’s Stampede and feels that the powwow is a great “primer for it.” He wanted to personally thank the WLIB, the organizers of the powwow and all their business partners for putting on such a great event for the community.
The powwow runs all day Fathers Day at the powwow arbour located in the Chief Will-Yum Campground, just off of Highway 97 at the Chief Will-Yum Gas Bar turnoff. All are welcome at this event and encouraged to come out and share the experience.