Maplewood LEA shares her First Nations culture with residents

Rosanne Blackburn recently performed a traditional dance, which received a warm round of applause

Life enrichment aide (LEA) Rosanne Blackburn is known for entertaining the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home’s residents with her Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton impersonations, but she recently changed things up and shared some of her Ojibwa culture by performing a ceremonial dance.

On Sept. 22, Rosanne, dressed in her traditional regalia, danced for residents, who gave her a warm round of cheers.

She explains how the idea came to her.

“I was listening to Native music one evening, and the idea for dancing for the residents came to me,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The residents loved it. They were clapping their hands in their rooms.”

Rosanne dances at powwows every summer; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these traditional First Nations social gatherings were cancelled.

Having an opportunity to dance for Maplewood residents was a way for Rosanne to continue doing something she enjoys while sharing an important piece of her culture with residents.

Rosanne says she tries to do something special for residents every week.

Performing a traditional First Nations dance for residents also proved to be an opportunity for Rosanne to learn about some residents’ own cultural backgrounds.

“There were a couple of residents who I did not know came from Native cultures,” she says.

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