WINNIPEG — As unmarked graves continue to be discovered at former residential schools across Canada, the need for reconciliation with Indigenous people is more important than ever.
In light of that goal, 1JustCity hosted its 3rd Annual Demonstration Pow Wow, an event that brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to celebrate and learn about the culture.
Daniel Hidalgo came to watch his son Daerion dance in the ceremony, he said it’s been a long time since people could gather.
“It’s one of the first Pow Wow’s that have been able to be held since the pandemic with all the restrictions in place and stuff. So it’s a good chance for the community to come together,” said Daniel.
Daniel said the Pow Wow gives kids like his son an opportunity to embrace their cultural identity.
Daerion said he’s dancing for a purpose.
“I’m dancing for the children that weren’t able to dance, to honour them, from residential schools,” said Daerion. “It’s just my culture and I really enjoy doing this.”
1JustCity supports three drop-in community centres in Winnipeg’s core neighbourhoods; West Broadway, the West End, and Osborne Village.
Community Facilitator, Josh Ward, said they offer Indigenous programming for anyone who wants to learn more about the culture.
“A big piece of our programming is focused around reconciliation and healing, and this is one of the ways that we live that out,” said Ward.
Ward said working towards reconciliation is a priority for 1JustCity.
Indigenous Cultural Program Director, Lori Abraham, said the public Pow Wow gives the whole community an opportunity to be a part of the ceremony.
“1JustCity’s pillar or reconciliation really aims to serve those in the community wanting to learn about Indigenous culture, Indigenous dance, Indigenous languages,” she said.
Abraham said the event has grown to a point where they needed to host it outdoors.
Daniel hopes people in attendance can see the pleasure and happiness that kids like Daerion are displaying when they dance.
“They’re dancing and representing a culture that was forcibly stripped from them, so it’s important that they’re able to continue that on in a good way,” he said.
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