Weekend powwow honours fathers

Fathers need to be honoured too, say organizers of the Father's Day Powwow taking place at Chief Will-Yum Campground this weekend.

Fathers need to be honoured too.

At least that’s the sentiment of Williams Lake Indian Band elder Virginia Gilbert, one of the organizers of the 29th annual Father’s Day Powwow taking place June 14 to 16 at the Chief Will-Yum Campground.

“We honour mothers all the time and it’s important to honour the fathers too,” Gilbert says.

A father-honouring will take place Sunday at 4 p.m.

After some drumming all of the fathers present will gather in a circle and dance around, followed by them shaking hands with one another.

“After that we will serve a big Father’s Day cake donated by one of our band members,” Gilbert says.

“I’m really excited, we’re all ready to go.”

The cake and Father’s Day honouring will be the culmination of a three-day event, that starts

Friday evening with a warm up.

Gilbert says sometimes the warm up can start off slow because people travel from Alberta and B.C. to participate, and are arriving at all hours to set up campsites.

Nevertheless, a grand entry is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Grand entries are also scheduled on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. They are the main event and will take place “rain or shine.”

Excitedly Gilbert confirms, the grand entries will feature an array of regalia.

At 5 p.m. Saturday there will be a community feast in the arbor hosted by the WLIB.

There’ll be all kinds of traditional foods such as deer, moose, salmon and Saskatoon berries.

“We’ve even had a few turkeys donated,” Gilbert notes.

There will also be vendors and concessions throughout the weekend, with many people selling arts and crafts.

Another highlight every years is the Princess and Little Brave Pageants.

A princess and a little brave will be chosen to represent the Chief Will-Yum Father’s Day Powwow on the Powwow Trail throughout the summer.

Many people will also participate in Lehal, a traditional stick game.

Another feast will take place Sunday earlier in the day so that people who have travelled from distances can eat before they have to leave.

Entry to the powwow is free and Gilbert reminds people the entire site will be alcohol and drug free all weekend.

“We will have lots of children attending so it’s important to keep the place sober,” she says.

Gilbert stresses the Powwow is “traditional” which means it’s not competitive.

“There are two kinds of Powwows — at competitive ones people can win money. Ours isn’t that. Ours is just about getting people together. I love hearing the drumming and our traditional songs.”

And that’s the part she loves the most, she says, adding she’s attended almost all of the Father’s Day Powwows since the first one.

“Everyone is welcome,” she adds.