Pow Wows in BC

Pow wows in BC before or after your trip with Wilderness Trails are a great cultural experience to complement your wilderness adventure

pow wows in BC provide AN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE OF INDIGENOUS CULTURE, rich in learning opportunities

Attending pow wows in BC are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those travelling from Europe and perhaps even for many non-Indigeneous North Americans. This traditional cultural event is highly significant for First Nations people. It is a great opportunity for non-Indigenous people to learn about First Nations culture, promoting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

Pow wows are the Indigenous people’s way of meeting together, renewing old friendships, and making new ones, to join in dancing, singing, drumming and visiting. This is their way to renew their culture and preserve the rich heritage of First Nations culture. It is also an opportunity to hear First Nations people speaking their traditional languages, many of the talks start with some traditional language.

The physical landscape of a pow wow typically involves a series of concentric circles with the drums and musicians located within the innermost section of the circle, and the dancers, audience and vendors emanating from the centre. To many Indigenous peoples these circles represent the centrality of the drum to their worldview; the drum represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth, illustrating the close connection of Indigenous peoples to the land. Common features of pow wows are the distinctive music, dances and dance apparel of the participants.

First Nations people are traditionally deeply connected to nature and stewards of the land. This makes attending a pow wow a great opportunity to learn about the Indigenous connection to the land and become inspired by learning new ways to take care of the environment you are benefiting from.

Throughout the year there are lots of pow wows all over BC. The Kamloops (Tk’emlups) pow wow is one of the largest in western North America, drawing Indigenous people from all over Canada and the US. There are also many smaller scale pow wows, bringing more local people.

There are lots of different styles of dance with categories for men, women, girls and boys as well as elder men and elder women. This shows the pow wow is for people of all ages, there is a dance for everyone. Iconic pow wow dances include the men’s chicken dance and the women’s jingle dance.

Vendors typically sell traditional First Nations food, art work, apparel and items related to cultural practices. Bannock, a traditional fried bread is always available, as is soopollalie ice cream, made from the juice of the soopollalie berry. Art work often depicts animals and their roles in Indigenous culture. Other items include smudging rocks, traditional drums, knives with handles made from the horns or antlers of hunted animals and bead work. 

Visit pow wows in BC

A traditional First Nations pow wow is the perfect compliment to your journey with Wilderness Trails and makes a great additional experience, either before or after your time with us. Many pow wows are easily accessible on your drive to or from Vancouver, or along the way if you are travelling further north.  

Contact us for this year’s dates and locations.

We can organize a guided trip to local pow wows for a group of 6-8 people, contact us for more information.

Read more about our experiences at BC’s pow wows in the blog posts on our Trails to Empowerment website:

The Pow-Wow celebrates First Nations culture through expressive dance and song, with people attending from much of Western Canada and the United States. Over a thousand dancers, dressed in traditional costume, participated over the long weekend. This Pow-Wow celebrates Secwepemc heritage and the circle was crowded with dancers and spectators.

The Pow Wow was amazing. We got to experience and enjoy an authentic, true native culture through song and dance, artwork, food and their hospitable community. There were tribes from all over North America, though you’d never have known that if it wasn’t mentioned. Each person, family and tribe all work together as one, acting as a single community rather than separate units.

3 Steps to your unforgettable adventure

If pow wows in BC sound like the cultural experience you are looking for before or after your trip with Wilderness Trails, complete our Wilderness Readiness Survey to begin the booking process.

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5 Benefits of Nature