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Guide to Powwow Country: Klahowya Village, BC


Windspeaker Staff







Vancouver, BC

Do you think it would be impossible to immerse oneself in Aboriginal culture in the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver? Think again. The Klahowya Village, situated in world-famous Stanley Park, has managed to recreate a traditional setting, complete with storytellers and fascinating carvings. Since its beginnings as part of the 2010 Olympics, Aboriginal people from across British Columbia have descended on Stanley Park every spring to occupy Klahowya Village so tourists and locals alike can learn about authentic traditions and culture. Sechelt artist Richard Krentz has taken trees which didn’t survive the vicious storms of the Pacific Ocean, and lovingly carved an eagle, its wings stretched protectively over the entrance to the Park. With the head made from hemlock, other pieces of discarded wood were fashioned into wings, feathers and the body of the sacred bird. Nestled further into the park is an artists’ outdoor workshop, where jewellery, Hudson’s Bay items, and other traditional crafts made by First Nations and MÈtis artisans are observed in their production stage. Workshops are available for would-be craftspeople to learn the skills and there are many opportunities to purchase items as well. Carvers design and produce totem poles, masks and other traditional objects while nearby, story tellers and puppeteers share history and legends. A sampling of traditional food fare is also available. Built on the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, the park attracts visitors from around the world every summer. A train named Spirit Catcher winds its way around the park, introducing visitors to the legendary Sasquatch, and passing by a reclaimed barn where art is showcased. Klahowya Village is a joint project of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia and the Vancouver Park Board and is open every day throughout the summer.