By Charles Lefebvre
The sound of the drums echoes through the studio theatre of the Esplanade, six drummers in the centre, beating a rhythm and singing a song which goes back many years.
As the drummers continue to play and sing, some of the 200 plus people seated around the drummers stand up. They take a line, hold hands and dance to the beat, around the drummers.
More join in. A circle is completed. Soon, more people are up, creating three circles, young and old, all dancing as one.
With one final, loud beat of the drums, the song and dance is over. Everyone applauds, smiles on their faces.
For the second year in a row, the Miywasin Centre and the Esplanade helped bring all cultures together in friendship and spirit Sunday evening, hosting a traditional dinner and round dance.
“The round dance is to honour our Elders and to honour the people who have passed,” said Sabrina Prince, cultural co-ordinator of the Miywasin Centre.
“It’s extremely important in Aboriginal culture to honour our Elders, and this is a great opportunity to do it. We’re going to continue to have the round dance and use it as an opportunity to do that.”
Prior to the dance, attendees dined on a dinner of stew (bison, deer or beef) and bannock before moving into the theatre to dance, with two drum groups providing the music.
Prince feels it is important to continue to celebrate Aboriginal and First Nations culture throughout Canada.
“I think Medicine Hat is a great place and the community is really welcoming of Aboriginal culture,” she said. “We’re very blessed to have all the people here and the support of the community.”
Prince was also impressed to see both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal residents attend the round dance.
“That’s the purpose of it, is to get all of the community, all of the members, all of the different tribes together,” she said.
“We honour everybody in every culture.”