The Khowutzun Warmland Intertribal Pow Wow will be held in Duncan on Aug. 11-13. (Citizen file)

The Khowutzun Warmland Intertribal Pow Wow will be held in Duncan on Aug. 11-13. (Citizen file)

Healing theme for 2017 Intertribal Pow Wow in Duncan

First one to be held since death of Cowichan Tribe elder Sally Gray

Joe Thorne is sure his mom, Sally Gray, would be pleased with the return of the Khowutzun Warmland Intertribal Pow Wow this year.

Thorne, an elder with Cowichan Tribes, said the popular intertribal pow-wow, which highlights competitive dancing, was called off for the last two years after Gray died.

Gray was one of the main organizers of the popular annual event that has been held for almost two decades.

Thorne has taken on the main tasks of organizing this year’s event, which will be held on Aug. 11-13 at Cowichan Tribes Siem Lelum Soccer Fields at 5574 River Rd., along with Lester Joe.

He said thousands of participants are expected to attend, with some coming from as far away as Manitoba and California.

“There’ll be lots of dance competitions in a number of categories, including men and women’s traditional dancing, medicine dancing and fancy dancing, with some small cash prizes for the winners,” Thorne said.

“(Native actor) Nathaniel Arcand will be emcee of the event. The pow-wow is open to everyone, not just native people. The pow wow is intended to bring people together in fun and harmony. My mother would always say we’re all human beings and we should accept everyone’s differences.”

Thorne said healing will be a major theme at the pow wow and cancer survivors have been invited to attend, as well as local firefighters returning from fighting fires in the Interior who will be recognized for their efforts.

He said there will be activities for the kids on Saturday, provided by Island Savings, and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau will visit on Saturday as well.

He said entrance fees are by donation, and food vendors of all types will be on hand to keep attendees well fed.

“The pow wow provides time to forget your bills and frustrations and just sit back, relax and be entertained,” he said.

For more information, contact Thorne at 250-510-7343 or Lester Joe at 250-709-2832.