Indigenous Awareness Week showcases cultural talents

The week of events was aimed at showcasing cultural traditions, dancing, singing and storytelling

Dancers showcased traditional dances and modelled traditional regalia representing the clans they belong to. (Lisa Chernyshova/The Omega)

On Feb. 26, Indigenous Cultural Dances took place in the Grand Hall, where a lot of students came to enjoy some wonderful dances, music, storytelling, and general vibes and atmosphere. Some of the famous Indigenous dances were showcased and performed by dancers.

One of the indigenous guests shared his experience from the Cultural Dances evening, Jordan Robinson, from Cold lake first nations, post-bac in business administration.

“I feel good, I feel excited, happy, glad to watch the dancing, to hear the music. I love it, it brings me back to my childhood traditions,” shared Robinson.

“Some dances are for different animals, like different clans, who have different dances. My clan is bear clan and the wolf clan, and there is a wolf song, and wolf dance, and a bear song and bear dance. Those are spiritual things, and you don’t really run around to show them off, you more like only do them if they requested of you, and not with dollars and cents. Some of the dances associated with healing, some of them associated with love, all of them associated with different things,” explained Robinson.

“You learn about your spirit, as you attend those ceremonies and you finding your spirit helpers with those ceremonies. And our spirit helpers represented a lot in our dances and ourselves,” said Robinson.

“Indigenous culture’s foundation is love and relationship building. There is a fundamental difference between a western economic system and an indigenous perspective. Because there is an illusion of scarcity in the world, that there is not enough, and we operate as if we were like we going to go hungry, there is not enough for everyone, nobody shares. But in an indigenous way, they know that there is enough for everyone, that creator gave us this Earth, she’ll provide everything we need, no matter what you always survive,” explained Robinson.

A cultural-educational coordinator with Kamloops Aboriginal Association Society, Bernice Jensen took an active part in dancing.

“I’m very inspired, it’s very empowering, and I’m just proud to be indigenous,” said Jensen.

“Our culture has a tradition that is still alive today, that we are here for thousands and thousands of years and we’re embracing our culture once again,” said Bernice Jensen.

Bernice Jensen explained that depending on different dances it has different customs. She also explained that there are some kinds of dances that kids usually learn from childhood like jingle dresses, traditional dances and they expand their knowledge as they grow up.

Another person who took part in the Cultural Dances, Gordon, shared about Indigenous traditions and uniqueness of dances. “We had a traditional man’s dance tonight, and its original warrior dance. A long time ago, when there was a language barrier between different tribes, the only way they could tell the story was only through dance. So, they would come out and tell the story of how they battled the battle or stole the horse, or they just met other tribes, and how they brought them over, and shared different stories,” explained Gordon.

He also noticed that in total there are around seven different dances they usually do, as well as songs are different and meaning for each dance is different.

TRU’s cultural coordinator, Eric Prytula took an active part in organizing the event. “It was a lot of fun, I’m happy that we came together and it run very smoothly,” said Eric Prytula.    

He explained that the whole week of Indigenous awareness went great, he was an organizer and a lot of people not only enjoyed watching events but also had a chance to take a part in them.