By: Michelle Ferguson

A slow beat filled the Student Commons, as Christine Tootoo crawled out from behind the orange chairs.

Her face painted black and red, her cheeks puffed out with bouncy balls, the Inuit student waved her tongue at the audience and grimaced before letting out an eerie laugh as she made her way to the stage.

Algonquin’s Woodroffe campus reflected its aboriginal name last week as the Mamidosewin Centre hosted the Mawka Giizis Bear Moon festival.

A celebration of aboriginal culture on campus, the winter festival featured traditional dances, Pow wow drumming, a bannock cooking competition and many other exciting events.

Staff and students participated in many of the activities, including throat signing — a competitive duet where the first person to laugh loses — and the Inuit games high kick demonstration. But the favourite seemed to be the dancing.

“If you’ve got two left feet it’s okay because we’re going to go to the left,” joked Jason G. Mullins of Aboriginal Experiences, inviting spectators to form a line and perform a friendship dance during the first day of the festivities.