The parking lot, main lobby and gym at Earl Marriott Secondary were packed with people who came to experience the Earl Marriott Semiahmoo First Nation Pow Wow over the weekend, held Friday through Sunday (March 31-April 2) for the first time in three years.
On hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020-2022, EMS principal Claudine Davies said everyone was happy to be able to host the popular event again.
“We are ecstatic. I can’t tell you how overjoyed we are,” she said Sunday, estimating more than 1,000 people had attended the powwow.
“It’s the most important one, for me, to have back sine COVID… the Earl Marriott powwow is a huge collaboration with Semiahmoo First Nation – it’s been going for 25 years – and it brings such a sense of community. And for our Indigenous students, such a pride of culture.”
Host drum for the powwow was Sage Hills, who travelled from Kamloops to bring their powerful sound to the event, pounding their drums rhythmically for a myriad dancers to perform to, their colourful outfits and accessories all moving in time with the commanding beat.
With arts, crafts, clothing, food and more, the event also featured plenty of vendors and much to see and learn in addition to the ‘Grand Entry’ powwow dancing and drumming.
Several local politicians attended the event, including local MLAs and municipal councillors, and area residents of all ages.
After Sage Hills and dancers performed for the gathered crowd on Sunday, First Nation speakers spoke, giving thanks to “our grandmother Earth” for providing what we need to live and welcoming those in attendance.
Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell was one of the speakers, and was pleased with the turnout.
“It’s been a packed house, every day. Every day, it’s been standing room only,” he said.
“It’s fantastic! It feels really good to be back.”