Cambridge’s first Powwow: culture, community, celebration

Grassroots Powwow Committee holds its first ever Powwow in Cambridge this weekend at Forbes Park

CBC News Posted: Aug 17, 2017

Grassroots Powwow will be holding its first Powwow in Cambridge, Ont. this Saturday, focusing on youth and celebration. (Grassroots Powwow/Facebook)

This weekend Cambridge will hold its first ever Powwow, and Christina Restoule couldn’t be more excited.

A Powwow organizer and staff at Conestoga College’s Aboriginal Student Services office, Restoule has been working furiously these last few weeks to get everything ready for the Saturday event at Forbes Park.

“We’re looking forward to a good day of dancing and singing and celebration and community coming together,” she said.

“It’s going to be a blast.”

Community inclusion

Restoule was approached by the Hespeler B.I.A. to organize the event, after it was noticed that Cambridge was the only city in the region to not have its own Powwow. It was a request that meant a lot to her.

By holding a Powwow in Cambridge, Restoule says it encourages Aboriginal inclusion across the Waterloo Region. (Grassroots Powwow/Facebook)

“It means that people are starting to recognize aboriginal culture and aboriginal people as a part of Canada’s history. Especially with the Canada 150 celebrations, there is some negativity around celebrations, and there is a lot of hurt still within aboriginal people,” she said.

“I think it’s time that we push forward and try to push beyond that, and the only way we can do that is together.”

Looking forward in tradition

Put on by the Grassroots Powwow Committee, the travelling event is in its third year and is excited to be celebrating in a totally new area.

“It’s about making sure that we have a cultural presence in the lives of our Aboriginal youth here in the Waterloo region,” she said.

The theme of the Powwow is ‘honouring our future generations’, and Restoule says that is her favourite part.

‘That’s what our Powwow is about, making sure that they are passed onto the youth and they do have a brighter future for that.”– Christina Restoule

“Just the preservation of culture,” she said. “The little ones they hear those songs, they dance, they get to speak to their elders, they get to learn those teachings.”

“And that’s what our Powwow is about, making sure that they are passed onto the youth and they do have a brighter future for that.”

A grand start

Events will start at 10 a.m. in Forbes Park, with vendors opening and performers preparing.

At noon, the Grand Entry (opening ceremony) will feature a number of special guests, including MP Marwan Tabbara, MPP Kathryn McGerry, Mayor Doug Craig, and Miss Indian Defence League of America 2017 Jessica Hill-Porter.

For Restoule, holding this event is a way to unite the Waterloo region, “to make sure that Cambridge is not left out when it comes to Aboriginal inclusion.”

The event is sponsored by Canada 150, something Restoule is proud of, in spite of the conflict and controversy of the anniversary year.

“A lot of times there is a lot of negativity that gets played out in the media, and I think our youth really need to see the positive things that are happening for Aboriginal people,” she said.

“Powwow brings all nations and relations together, and it is something that we’re very proud of.”

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