In an effort to celebrate aboriginal culture and bring Winnipeg community members together, neighbourhood residents organized the first ever Gilbert Park Powwow.

The powwow, which took place at Billy Mosienko Arena, gave kids like William Jackson-Lavallee a chance to show off their colourful homemade regalia.

“Just thought I'd do bright colors,” said Jackson-Lavallee. “It was awesome.”

Gilber Park powwow

The first ever Gilbert Park Powwow helps give neighbourhood kids a chance to connect with aboriginal culture. (Meagan Fiddler/CBC)

Jackson-Lavallee and other kids involved in the event had an opportunity to learn about their culture and language.

Jasmine Parisian, the coordinator of the powwow, said through participating in the event neighbourhood residents are also getting a chance to learn about themselves.

“It represents your spirit, shows your colours and your name and who you are with your regalia,” said Parisian.

She has worked with about a dozen kids since May, teaching them to dance, bead, sew and make their own designs – something Parisian has grown up with.

“There’s so many teachings in powwow that you can only learn if you go to a powwow,” said Parisian. “It's such a great place that I wanted to share with youth that feeling of happiness and fulfillment.”

The Powwow Club is part of Gilbert Park Going Places, a gang prevention program held after school that gives youth a chance to learn about peer leadership, mentoring, volunteering and skill building.

Gilbert Park Powwow

The powwow gave kids like William Jackson-Lavallee a chance to show off their colourful homemade regalia. (Meagan Fiddler/CBC)

“This big event will be able to showcase all the kids’ hard work and highlight that,” said Corey Mohr, community development coordinator with Nor'West Coop Community Health. “I think it's great for the community – it pulls people together in a positive way and celebrates summer.”

For Jackson-Lavallee, he has only ever seen powwow once before and is happy to take part in the inaugural year of what neighbourhood residents hope will become an annual celebration.