Friday, August 5, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

Powwow Hand Drumming


Attending a First Nation's Powwow was a real honor and an experience that I am privileged to have been able to take part in. When I first heard that I would be traveling to Pemberton with the staff from Chilcotin Holidays, I was excited and curious to see what the indigenous culture and performance would be like. Having had limited experience with the First Nations traditions, I had no expectations going into the Powwow but was looking forward to seeing what the day would have in store.

The Powwow is a traditional social gathering organized by many different First Nations communities, in which members of the groups meet to dance, sing, socialize and pay homage to their culture. Upon arriving at the Powwow we were met with people of all ages, happily heading into the gymnasium where the Powwow was underway.

As we entered the building the first thing that struck me was the sheer force of the music emanating from the room. The voices of the performers were hauntingly beautiful and the sounds of the drums they played seemed to reverberate throughout the entire building. In the center of the room stood a line of ten people, both male and female, all dressed in various traditional costumes. Each of the members of the group used the small hand drum they held to create a rhythm and backbone to the song. The words they sang seemed to echo through the room and were punctuated by each beat of the drum.

Although small in size compared to the larger ceremonial drum, the hand drums created an impressive sound and in conjunction with the skilled vocals of the group were a highlight of the Powwow. Each person in the group moving in unison with their fellow performer made a unique sound that carried easily across the wide arena. As the group sang and played you could feel the emotion and pride flowing from each of them, through the dancers and into the audience. We stayed well into the afternoon and were overjoyed to watch the dancers, listen to the traditional songs and to be immersed in the celebration of the First Nations culture and heritage.

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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