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Reconciliation-based powwow starts with walk Friday from Chilliwack Secondary School

Powwow Sept. 30-Oct 1 in the high school gym, grand entry each day at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Rick Joe, vice chair of the Dan Milo Society, is organizing the Reconciliation Powwow, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2022 at Chilliwack Secondary. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress)

A reconciliation-based powwow is set to go for Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at Chilliwack Secondary School with a parade starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 30 from the school.

Organizer Rick Joe said they’re expecting 1,000 people from across the region to attend the two-day health and wellness powwow in the high school gym, kicking off with an Orange Shirt Day parade getting underway Sept. 30.

The parade route was planned with city officials, and starts from the school at 10 a.m. Friday with a stop at Central Community Park at 10:20 a.m. They’ll be decorating floats at the school starting at 9 a.m.

The return of the powwow at Chilliwack Secondary, with the powerful presence of drummers, singers and dancers, will allow everyone to witness First Nations culture and ceremonies.

“The drum is the heartbeat of our people, both the big drum and the hand drum. We have Indigenous people from all over Turtle Island living in the Fraser valley. Reconciliation is the act of doing something that provides a safe place for everyone to learn and experience culture,” Joe told The Progress.

Chilliwack city council recently approved a $10,000 contribution to the event that starts on National Truth and Reconciliation Day, to help cover costs, through community development initiative funding.

“This initiative meets mayor and council’s strategic goal of supporting accessibility, inclusion, diversity, and truth and reconciliation, while fostering community spirit, attracting community events and supporting cultural groups, as well as providing high quality parks and recreational opportunities,” according to the staff report.

Officials with the Dan Milo Society passed a motion early in 2022 to host a “Reconciliation Powwow” at the high school to mark Truth and Reconciliation Day of Reflection, Sept. 30, a national day to remember.

“We are seeking support from our friends, neighbours, and community partners in this journey. If you would like to join our planning committee or donate funds to support this event please contact Rick Joe, our vice chair of the Dan Milo Society,” according to a letter included in the report.

The Reconciliation Powwow is set for Sept. 30 and Oct 1 at Chilliwack Secondary with a grand entry each day at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and each session will have a ceremony.

“The Dan Milo Board of Directors would like to have more partners join us on this path to reconciliation. It is now that we can act as a community, as an organization, as a person,” the letter said, signed by Steven Point, society chair, and Rick Joe, vice-chair.

*This is a corrected version of the initial story in June which had the incorrect walk date.

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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