Ernie Philip and the High Water Singers taught residents some history of the drum

Mini Pow Wow held in Veterans Square

Residents were treated to a day of culture, drumming and dance as well as interactive dance by the High Water Singers and Ernie Philip.

The Princeton Arts Council with the help of Dian Brooks were pleased to host the High Water Singers and Native Fancy Dancer, Ernie Philip (Dancing Bear) at Veterans Square on Saturday, June 14.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, residents were treated to a day of culture, drumming and dance as well as interactive dance by the High Water Singers and Ernie Philip.

John Terbasket of the High Water Singers explained the history of the drum – their ‘grandfather.’ the singers who compete all over, were given this drum by a family of the Bella Coola Nation.

“We had a pretty ratty old drum and the family took pity on us and gave us this one,” he said. The drum is made of moose hide, shaped wood and lacing. “A lot of time and effort goes in to making these – it’s a way of life,” he added.

He explained that whenever they travel with the drum, they take that family with them and sing in honour of them.

The High Water Singers don’t travel and sing to become rich, “We do this for love and prayer,” explained Terbasket.

He told residents that in the 1800s to about 1960, any more than two native peoples were considered to be an ‘uprising.’ They were not allowed to gather in public together. The Pow Wow is to celebrate life, “to bring us all together —and we’re thankful now that we can do so,” he said. Modernly the Pow Wow can be competitive, but the core – the history, is still the largest part.

Terbasket introduced Ernie Philip, an elder of the Shuswap Nation and professional native dancer. Terbasket asked that the residents, watch the dance, “There is power in the movements, see the story if you commit,” he said.

Philip explained the each of the  dances he performed as well as said a prayer, asking for each person present to be cared for.

Mayor Frank Armitage and councillor Doug Pateman took part in the interactive dances. They said they, “Very much enjoyed the experience, all though they needed to work on their dancing skills.”

As well as participating, residents were encouraged to ask questions to which they were given answers to.

In keeping with the Spirit Festival tradition, the Princeton Arts Council will host a “Womens Lodges of the Medicine Wheel,” facilitated by Dawn Johnson on Saturday, June 21.

This will be a free learning experience from 10 a.m. in the morning to 4 p.m. in the afternoon at the Riverside Arts Council Room. Participants are asked to bring a pen, notepaper and something to share for lunch.


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