Powwow returns to Penticton Indian Band

Dancers, family and friends gathered this weekend at Outma Sqilx'w Cultural School on Penticton Indian Band lands to celebrate a legacy.

After an absence of many years

After an absence of many years

The prospect of heavy rain may have driven the Penticton Indian Band powwow indoors, but it failed to dampen the spirits of the dancers or the audience.

Hundreds of people crowded into Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School Saturday afternoon for the renewal of the band’s powwow, more than three decades since the last one was held in the late 1970s. The powwow drew dancers from far and wide, including Shuswap elder Ernie Phillip.

“I am very happy. It is a great pleasure to be here in your territory,” said Phillip, also known as Dancing Bear, a name given him by the Sioux.

Phillip, an acclaimed dancer and past grand champion, has danced all around the world, worked with the Four Seasons War Dance Club, which this powwow was honouring, in the 60s and 70s.

Phillip’s words, however, were directed to the new generation of dancers.

“I always say this to any young dancers. Always remember where you came from, always remember who you are, particularly when you dress up,” Phillip said.



Hereditary chief Adam Eneas talked about honouring the tradition of the Four Seasons War Dance Club, which was active in the early 70s.

“They danced throughout B.C., the United States and eventually went on tour to Germany,” said Eneas. The troupe also performed for Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward and Princess Margaret when they visited Penticton in 1971, the same year they organized the first PIB powwow.

“Ernie Philip was one of the dancers that assisted them. The other dancer was Steven Pointe, a Stó:lō member from the Chilliwack area — he was appointed as the first First Nations lieutenant governor,” said Eneas. “Those two came and donated a lot of time instructing our people how to dance and the protocols associated with powwows.

“We wanted to make sure that our people saw what they could do ourselves, our young people, make ourselves proud of who we were and show the community at large, the white people, what we could do and welcome them into our community as we are doing today.”

Powwow organizer Kristine Jack looked to the future as she honoured the past.

“When I first started on this trail, I wanted to honour the Four Seasons War Dance Club because I grew up with this group, they were my family. There was Joey Pierre, my cousin, his wife Caroline, Larry and Susan Pierre, Clara Jack, and Sophie Alec,” said Jack. “Before I could say I wanted to make this an annual, I needed to, with respect, honour those who put us here in 1971. They had eight successful years with our powwow and today I want to honour the two remaining, Sophie Alec and Caroline Pierre.”

Jack said it has been a year and a half since she started bringing people together as a committee to revive the original group as the Four Seasons Cultural Society.

“Together, we are here today and I am so grateful they hung in there,” said Jack. “This is where it started and this is going to continue.”

Read more: Renewing tradition and culture with a powwow


Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read