Round Dance held in the Banquet Salon for Algonquin College students

Mamidosewin Centre invited singers, drummers and elders to celebrate the Round Dance ceremony
Drummers and singers performing during the Round Dance on March 22.

The Round Dance ceremony was put together by the Mamidosewin Centre for Algonquin College students to gather, socialize, remember loved ones and heal together on March 22, from 5 p.m. until midnight.

This event has been ongoing for the past four years and more people have continued to attend every time the event has been held. This year, there was an approximate total of 200 people.

The Round Dance comes from the west, and it is traditionally held to remember those who are not with us today. Nowadays, it can be held for different reasons, such as birthdays.

Just days before this event happened, a car collision killing five people happened in Waswanipi, a northern Cree community. A few people at the Round Dance were connected to those lost on that day.

“As we gather today, let’s remember those from the accident and dance for them,” said Fred McGregor, MC of the event.

At the beginning of the event, photos cannot be taken as it would be disrespectful towards the opening pipe ceremony performed by the pipe carrier, Vince Kicknosway from Walpole Island, First Nation.

The pipe ceremony is held with tobacco and smudge to cleanse everyone of negative energy to bring forth healing and to begin the Round Dance.

“The connection for the students is important as well as the culture and what we want to give,” said McGregor.

As the opening to the ceremony ended, the rest of the evening started. The invited singers and drummers began to play the traditional music. As the drums were being pounded and as they sang, the people who came to the event danced.

The dance circle was never empty as this was the healing part.

“For me, I think the most important part of the ceremony is to socialize,” said Shayna Shawogonabe, a museum studies student and Mamidosewin Centre worker.

Food was provided for the people late at night as Indigenous ceremonies traditionally end at midnight. They had pepperoni and vegetarian pizza for whoever was hungry.

At the end of the event, the singers performed the closing song to the ceremony to end the night.

“I hope this continues to happen as this has been going on for the past four years. We used to be scattered but now it’s a lot more organized,” said Randy Kakegamick, student advisor from Mamidosewin Centre.

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