Showcasing Indigenous dancing, drumming and First Nations culture, the Squamish Nation Powwow takes place in July on the Capilano Reserve in West Vancouver.
It’s an exceptional event, highly recommended and all are welcome.
Squamish Nation Powwow in West Vancouver
The Squamish Youth Nation Powwow is an exceptional cultural event. It was scheduled to celebrate its 33rd year in 2020 before being cancelled due to COVID-19. It looks like the event didn’t happen in 2021 either.
The 2019 event took place on the weekend of July 12th to 14th. Hopefully the powwow returns in 2022.
There are dancing competitions as well as drumming and singing at the powwow. There is also a vendor market and salmon BBQ. Admission is usually about $5.00 per person per day or session. Children under 5 years of age and seniors ages 65+ are free.
When and Where is the Powwow
The powwow happened on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of July 12th to 14th in 2019. Things usually start with a Grand Entry on the Friday at 7:00 pm, on the Saturday at both 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm, and on the Sunday at 1:00 pm.
The event takes place at Capilano Reserve Park at 100 Mathias Road in West Vancouver. The reserve itself stretches from North Vancouver to West Vancouver and the park is right at the edge of the two municipalities (and on the North Vancouver side of the Lions Gate Bridge, not what people ordinarily think of as the West Vancouver side).
If driving and coming from downtown Vancouver, go along West Georgia Street, across the Lions Gate Bridge and then keep left towards North Vancouver. Don’t follow the signs to West Vancouver. You’ll be heading in the wrong direction if you do so.
Head east along Marine Drive and turn right at Lower Capilano Road which is at the first light. Mathias Road is immediately on your right and Capilano Reserve Park is at the end of Mathias. (Note: If you miss the turnoff to Mathias Road just keep going down Lower Capilano Road. Capilano Reserve Park is bordered by Lower Capilano Road, Mathias Road and Welch Road.)
What to Expect at the Powwow
At the Squamish Youth Nation Powwow you can expect to see local Indigenous folk in beautiful traditional costumes and First Nations of all ages dancing in the competitions. There is drumming, singing and lots of merriment. Several thousand people of all backgrounds attend the event in years with good weather.
In addition to the performances, there is a market featuring over four dozen vendors selling everything from t-shirts and scarves with Indigenous prints to dream catchers, wood carvings and other First Nations art. It’s an interesting and impressive market.
At the powwow you’ll see fancy shawl dances, hoop dances and other traditional dances. Prize money for the various competitions ranges from $50 up to around $500. Competitors come from all over.
Expect to learn about First Nations culture at the event and to be entertained. Also expect to feel welcomed and have a good time.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your powwow experience.
TIP #1: Go to this event if you want to experience authentic Indigenous culture! It’s highly recommended.
TIP #2: Try the salmon barbecue. It’s delicious!
TIP #3: Go with a group of friends and carpool if you can. There is a fair bit of parking, but it’s also a popular event.
TIP #4: It can get hot in July and there isn’t a lot of shade at the park. Bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and a water bottle. You might also want to take a blanket or chair to sit on.
To learn about other similar events click Vancouver First Nations Powwows.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s July Calendar
- Free Events in July
- Best Places for History and Culture
- Lower Mainland First Nations
- Shows & Entertainment Calendar
- Festivals & Events Calendar
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Best Places for Children
- Vancouver’s North Shore