For four years now, an annual powwow held in the Downtown Eastside has honoured First Nations elders. So last Sunday (September 25), organizers of the annual event called Culture Saves Lives thought they would switch it up and focus on children.
In a telephone interview, one of the group’s members, Patrick Smith, said it was a really nice day for the whole community.
“There was probably about 100 kids there in total,” he told the Straight. “We made 24 hand drums. We didn’t have enough to give them all one. So we called all the kids to the middle and had a big raffle for those drums. They were so excited, praying with their tickets. The little girls, when they won, they would come running up, ‘I won! I won!’ And then we had a big giveaway of toys and stuff like that so everyone went away happy.”
Since 2012, the Culture Saves Lives powwow was held in the vacant lot and community garden in the unit block of West Hastings. This year, that space is occupied by a camp of homeless people. Smith expressed solidarity with that group’s efforts to call attention to housing affordability, and said his event had outgrown that space anyway. So this year, Culture Saves Lives moved a few blocks east, to Oppenheimer Park.
The photographs below were taken at that event by Kent Apa’tsti Danielson. You can view more of his work on his Facebook page.
The Culture Saves Lives powwow in Oppenheimer Park happened with support from the Portland Hotel Society, Raincity Housing, the City of Vancouver, and the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society.