The sound of a beating drum could be heard blocks away Thursday night, as hundred gathered to take part in Rossbrook House's annual powwow.

The event, which has been held for 35 years, originally began in the basement of a church and has grown into an annual affair.

"I think that people really appreciate their heritage and culture," said Phil Chiappetta, executive director of Rossbrook House. "Most of our participants are Indigenous heritage and it's a chance for people who have come there through the years to come back on a day like this. The numbers just keep increasing."

A young child ready to participate in first powwow.

(Courtney Rutherford/CBC)

Rossbrook House is a youth drop-in centre located in the heart of the North End. The home away from home is open 356 days of the year, 24 hours a day. Chiappetta says it's a place for kids to come and feel safe.

"I think there's always been kids who need that option late at night. So early in the game, Rossbrook realized a place needed to be [open] when some kids were out and about," says Chiappetta.

A group of friends from Rossbrook House preparing for grand entry.

A group of friends from Rossbrook House prepare for the grand entry. (Courtney Rutherford/CBC )

Roughly 80-100 kids stop by the Rossbrook House on a daily basis. Chiappetta said the kids love taking part in the yearly powwow, which is months in the making. 

"It's a pride of culture. Pride of heritage. It gives them their sense of self-worth. It's just a beautiful thing, when you see those kids get out and dance," said Chiappetta.

'It's an honour to see'

Pat Mainville works at Rossbrook House mentoring young kids. She said it's crucial those who come through their doors not only learn leadership skills but are encouraged to feel good about who they are within their community.

Drummers perform while grand entry begins.

Drummers perform while the grand entry begins. (Courtney Rutherford/CBC)

"If you look at the calls to action and reconciliation, and what that means to be able to heal our communities, this is one way they can do that," said Mainville. "To educate the community and show them their pride in their culture, in their language, dance, regalia, who they are."

Mainville believes having all of Rossbrook House's children participate in a powwow helps guide their journey in life.

"I've been volunteering for 20 years, Every year I have a hard time walking away because I enjoy their spirit. To be able to see them from the beginning to the grand entry. It's an honour."

'I like the way the music is. I love dancing to music': Kody Marsden.

'I like the way the music is. I love dancing to music': Kody Marsden. (Cliff Simpson/CBC)

Kody Marsden and his family upheld their annual tradition of attending. Marsden said it's important that the community watches him dance along with his brothers.

"I think they should see the native traditional dances that we do. I like the way the music is. I love dancing to music," said Marsden.