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First Nations dancers on show

Witness a colourful display of First Nations singing, dancing and drumming at the 19th annual Yellow Wolf Powwow on the Tsartlip reserve this weekend.

Witness a colourful display of First Nations singing, dancing and drumming at the 19th annual Yellow Wolf Powwow on the Tsartlip reserve this weekend.

The three-day event is a family-friendly affair that generally attracts up to 5,000 visitors who can watch dancers perform in traditional outfits.

This is an inter-tribal powwow, so expect to see representation by tribes from as far away as Idaho and Montana, along with local tribes.

Apart from dancers, organizers say they expect to see (and hear) between five and 12 drums at the event.

"Every year is different," said Angel Sampson, one of the main organizers of the powwow, which honours her mother, Alice Sampson. "This year, we have Samoan fire knife dancers, performers from Hawaii and even a First Nations rapper."

Dancing competitions over the three days include: traditional (men and women), grass (men), fancy, jingle dress dance style (women), men's fancy and hoop dancing.

There are individual, team (between 10 to 20 dancers) and tiny tots (six and under) classes.

Most of the dancing takes place Saturday and Sunday. While activities start at 11 a.m. both days, the grand entry parade, in which all the dancers performing that day appear, is at 1 p.m. Dance competitions take place after that.

Alcohol is not permitted. Photography is allowed during dances, but people should ask individual dancers for permission before taking pictures.

Admission is free. The powwow runs 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The Tsartlip reserve is at 800 Stelly's Cross Rd., Central Saanich.

For information, call Sampson at 250-665-7777 or 250-818-9610.

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