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Squamish Youth Nation Pow Wow

Squamish Nation Powwow

Showcasing Indigenous dancing, drumming and First Nations culture, the Squamish Nation Pow Wow takes place in July on the Capilano Reserve in West Vancouver.

It’s an exceptional event, highly recommended and all are welcome.

In 2023 the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation by its various bands.


Squamish Nation Pow Wow in West Vancouver

In 2023 the event was billed as the First Annual Memorial Squamish Nation Youth Pow Wow and took place from July 14th to 16th. It’s not the first annual Squamish Youth Pow Wow, just the first annual “Memorial” one.

The Squamish Youth Nation Pow Wow is a very interesting cultural event. It was scheduled to celebrate its 33rd year in 2020 before being cancelled due to COVID-19. The event didn’t happen in 2021 or 2022 either. The new pow wow is a memorial event in honor of Squamish elder Gloria Nahanee who died in 2022 and was also known as Tenàlh-t or “Honey Girl.”

At the event there are dancing competitions as well as drumming and singing at the pow wow. There is also a vendor market and salmon BBQ. Admission is usually about $10 per person per day and for an extra $5 you can purchase a weekend pass (so $15). Children under 12 years of age and seniors ages 65+ are free.


Ladies at the Squamish Pow Wow


When and Where is the Pow Wow

The pow wow usually starts with a Grand Entry on the Friday at 6:00 pm, on the Saturday at both 12:00 pm and 7:00 pm, and on the Sunday at 12:00 pm.

The event takes place at Capilano Reserve Park at 100 Capilano 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 right 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.)


Indigenous Girl at Squamish Nation Powwow


What to Expect at the Pow Wow

At the Squamish Youth Nation Pow Wow you can expect to see local Indigenous folks 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 pow wow 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.


Squamish Youth Pow Wow


Tips & Advice

Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most of your pow wow 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.


Competitors at Squamish Pow Wow


About the Squamish Nation

The Squamish Nation is a Coast Salish Nation whose traditional unceded territory includes North Vancouver and West Vancouver, plus lots of other territory in the Lower Mainland. The Nation’s population of approximately 3,600 members is spread out between North Vancouver and Howe Sound with over 60% living on reserve.

For more information about this First Nation group, see the Squamish Nation website.


Other Information

For tickets and more details, click Squamish Nation Pow Wow.

To learn about other similar events, click Vancouver First Nations Pow Wows.

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