‘Powwow Grinch’ brings holiday spirit to suppers in Ochapowace, Regina

A man from Ochapowace First Nation in Saskatchewan is helping kids get into the holiday spirit by becoming a powwow-dancing Grinch at events.

Chance Bear has been dressing up as the Grinch, the title character from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, and powwow dancing since 2017.

Bear said something happens as soon as he puts on the Grinch suit.

“I kind of stay in character for the full time and I just kind of let it flow, I don’t [even] know what I’m going to do either,” he said.

“I just have fun with it.”

Powwow Grinch brings joy to community Christmas suppers

13 hours ago

Duration 1:54

Chance Bear, from Ochapowace First Nation in Saskatchewan, has been dressing up as the Grinch since 2017, when his wife Britney Raiwet bought the suit to entertain their own children.

Bear said he originally decided to dress up as the Grinch for his kids at his wife, Britney Raiwet’s, suggestion.

“[It] started off for the family and it’s kind of gotten bigger from there,” he said.

“During COVID, we were trying to think of a thing to do for the Ochapowace Nation, so my mom and ourselves decided to do a parade for those two years when no one could see each other.”

Chance Bear and Britney Raiwet. (CBC)

Bear was asked to dance at the Christmas supper in Ochapowace this year. He also danced at the Christmas events held by the First Nation in Regina and in Saskatoon.

Bear said he has been dancing since he was toddler but since becoming an adult, the chances to dance regularly have been sparse.

“Every once in a while I’ll go home and dance for my family so this is just another outlet where I can dance and have fun,” he said.

Getting the kids involved

Raiwet said their children love the Powwow Grinch and sometimes even participate in the costumes.

“Last year we actually got my oldest daughter to dress up as Cindy-Lou and she was pumped, and then we had an extra mask from the year before and we made our son a little baby Grinch,” she said.

“They were in the parades with us most of the time, they were super excited.”

Bear and Raiwet’s kids have joined in on the fun and dressed up as Cindy-Lou Who and “baby Grinch.” (Submitted by Britney Raiwet)

Their children watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas every year with Bear saying he has been watching the films to perfect his Grinch voice.

“This is probably my second year trying to play with that Grinch voice that people like to hear,” he said.

“[I’m] having fun with that.”

Raiwet said Bear’s interactions are funny so the family posts them online.

“A lot of funny stuff comes out of his mouth so we just roll with it.”

Bear said other First Nations reached out to him this week and asked him to come spread the joy on their reserves as well.

“I wasn’t planning on it to be this big, we have our kids as well and have hockey tournaments,” he said.

“I wish I could help out everyone’s Christmas supper but we just kind of have fun with it for the time in December here.”

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