Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre ceremony for deceased

Photos by Joseph Boltrukiewicz

Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre recently hosted a powwow dedicated to the memory of a community member who  passed away.

The Centre helps First Nations people to make a transition into life in the city. Aboriginal people from Squamish, Matsqui, Haida and Nishga'a background got together from across the Lower Mainland for a healing session after the loss of one of its active members.

Food served before singing and dancing ceremony.

The meeting started with food serving to all those who came for the event. True to tradition, food was first served to the older people present at the meeting. The master of the ceremony assured all the participants that after the food was served, everyone would have a good time taking part in ritual dances performed to heavy rhythms of the drum beat.

The youngest participant of powwow.

The powwow's main component was ritual dances by the aboriginal groups taking part in the event. At the time of the European settlement in North America, it was associated with the dance of war. Today, it serves as ritual and ceremonial dance that marks cultural and social events in aboriginal community.

Red and black colours of Haida people.

The event, which gathered some 250 people, was an excellent family and social event which demonstrated unity and strength of aboriginal community of Vancouver. Apart from its main purpose of group healing, the powwow brought people together for about three hours of colourful dances and live music, played to drumbeating and singing. 

Mask dance (1)

Mask dance (2)

A young woman with her baby. Group dances included all family members attending in the powwow.

A short brake before next session of drumbeating and group singing.

Mask dance (3)

Another drumbeating and singing session.

Eagle ornament as a decoration of Haida coat.

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