'It gives them their sense of self-worth': Rossbrook House holds 35th powwow
Event that started small in church basement attracted hundreds Thursday evening
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."
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"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.
"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.
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 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.