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Youth Led Powwow – St. Mary’s Residential School

This JULY 1 & 2, 2022, a self-governed group of youth with prominent experiences in homelessness, substance use, the foster system, and other forms of intergenerational trauma are coming together to host their first powwow.

VYPOR- Valley Youth Peers for Overdose Response is an indigenous youth-led peer group for current or past drug users in the Fraser Region Area. Based out of Matsqui-Abbotsford Impact Society, a sublime team of youth peers contribute advocacy and guidance to services across the Fraser Valley.

  • Gary Abbott – Arena Director
  • Chris Wells – MC
  • Fawnda Bullshields – MC
  • Host Drum – Wild River

JULY 1 // 7:00PM – 11:00PM 

JULY 2 // 1:00PM – 11:00PM 

St. Mary’s Mission Indian Residential School/Pekw’xe:yles

Mccoombs St, Mission, BC V4S 1L7

Youth Powwow Planners

  • Marcella Pruden
  • Triston Belhumeur
  • Jordie Lynn
  • Trevor Bentley
  • Josh Raine
  • Helena May

The conversation about a powwow was brought up by a young Cree person who has had extensive experience in the foster system, “There needs to be dancers and a drumming circle… we need healers”.

When we put out a call for help, it was met with tons of support from the indigenous community. Gary Abbott has come alongside VYPOR to mentor and guide our first-ever powwow. The theme of this ceremony? Reclaiming Youth. Urbanized indigenous youth will be reclaiming their culture at the LAST residential school to close in BC. This is for the children who lost their chance at a childhood, the adults who have spent a lifetime battling trauma and for the urbanized youth of today who feel inherently connected to their culture with little to no guidance. 

  • The youth of today’s generation want to move forward in care with those who may not know what it is like to exist with ancestral energy but have navigated a world where intergenerational trauma is both inherent and interrelated.
  • Young indigenous youth who do not know how to plan or execute a powwow or other similar practices is the live result of intergenerational trauma. We will move through this with acknowledgement, curiosity, humility and eager learning.
  • Youth must execute meaningful and relevant initiatives- this is how we know the needed adaptations are coming to fruition. “This isn’t a top-down perspective, this is people’s lives happening all at once- we are all on the same playing field. Once you can begin to understand that, you have a good start to a confusing and giving purpose which entails relationships & moments”, (Youth peer).

We need your help to make this happen. 

Whether you represent an individual, organization or another group, VYPOR needs your help making this happen. We have compiled a list below of needs. If you feel you can contribute, please reach out to 

For any entity making notable donations, we will ensure you are thanked and promoted at our powwow as well as on our Facebook page. This includes monetary donations, discounts on listed items and donated items. 

Monetary Donations:

  • Prize money for performers in “3, 2, 1” categories. 
    • Men’s traditional
    • Woman’s jingle
    • Junior girls 
    • Tiny tots 
    • Other competitive prize money (First place $800, second place $600, third place $300). We will be having several performances.

Food/Catering Donations/Discounts

  • Any leads on dinner foods for 300 people minimum. Discounts and donations of snacks, water or pop are highly appreciated. 

Gift and raffle prize donations 

  • Any items of value or currently trending prizes and gifts will be offered to our performers OR as a part of our raffle prizes. This could be clothing, discounts, gift cards, phones, instruments, gift baskets… anything!


  • We are in dire need of THREE (at minimum) 20X20 tents for set up & take down. 
  • We are looking for 20 tables and 100 chairs minimum. We can potentially arrange to pick up if there are sites that have this for temporary donation. 


  • We will be looking for 3-4 people to help with security per shift. (4-8 hour shifts). (8-16 people).
  • No training is necessary- we have folks who will let you know what we may need for those who reach out in interest. This may look like,
    • Population control
    • Helping remove people if necessary
    • Conflict resolution if necessary
    • Other support

First-aid Tent

  • Any organization or group that can set up a first-aid tent for the two days will be promoted and thanked for their time. (7 PM-11 PM day 1//1PM-11 PM day 2)


  • Most importantly we will need folks who can volunteer over our 2-day powwow. We will have identification for all volunteers and defined roles for when we need you. A volunteer committee will be created and you will most likely be given direction on the days we operate. We will need tons of help setting up and taking down. 

Please share the poster attached with your networks.

Link to VYPOR Facebook page.

Link to Powwow event page.

All Our Relations,