FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2019
Slave Lake, Alberta
Northern Lakes College Hosts 17th Annual Round Dance
Northern Lakes College, in partnership with the Northern Lakes College Students’ Association and the Council of Community Education Committees, hosted its 17th annual Round Dance on Saturday, March 23. Approximately 200 people from across the region attended the event at the Slave Lake Campus.
The event opened with a Pipe Ceremony led by Elder Mike Beaver from Bigstone Cree Nation. Master of Ceremonies Stan Isadore, from Driftpile First Nation, entertained the crowd sharing humour and cultural knowledge. Stickmen Willie and Georgie Isadore from Driftpile First Nation ensured the timing and protocols for the various activities of the evening.
Explains Stan Isadore, “The Round Dance is a culturally significant and ceremonial way to honour and support students’ success in their educational endeavours. There is also great importance to a Round Dance, as it is an opportunity to rekindle or connect the Elders with our youth. The reason for reconnecting Elder and youth is to support and pass along traditional teachings. By hosting such an event, Northern Lakes College demonstrates understanding of the importance of passing culture along to the next generations.”
The Pipe Ceremony included the blessing for the feast, which then led into the Round Dance with drummers from across the region participating. Filled with humor and good feelings, the songs featured soaring vocals and the steady rhythmic pulse of the hand drum. Honour songs, which celebrate commitments, sacrifices, or achievements, were also performed through the evening. Forty-eight drummers from throughout the province and Saskatchewan attended.
The Round Dance was preceded by a cultural musical presentation by Denny Bellerose of Driftpile First Nation on Friday, March 22 at the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre. A student in his second year of University Studies at the College, he has travelled the world as a professional Indigenous performer, playing the flute, drumming and singing, and performing traditional dancing.
“Northern Lakes College is proud to host the 17th annual Round Dance. This celebration of Indigenous culture is a collaboration involving members of the broader College community, staff, and students and is one of the highlights of the year,” comments Ann Everatt, President and CEO of Northern Lakes College.