STM College hosts Round Dance to celebrate start to school year

Evening of drumming, singing and dancing draws young and old

By Paul Sinkewicz

St. Thomas More College recently hosted a Round Dance to welcome students back for another school year.

The event attracted hundreds of partipants from Saskatoon and area, and featured invited drumming and singing groups, Metis jigger Courtney-Dawn Anaquod, special guests. Master of ceremonies Sanford Strongarm ran the program, keeping young and old dancing in between speakers. 

STM College has a focus on strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities and groups at USask and the local and provincial community, and recognizes the importance in honoring Indigenous culture through integration of ceremony in College celebrations.

Under the leadership of STM’s Scholar on Indigenous Education, Harry Lafond of Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, STM’s Authentic Indigenization action group brought on Lorna Arcand to serve as cultural coordinator for the event.

With additional support from Yvette Arcand, Director, and Arlene Bear, Associate Director, Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP), a full day of activity was been planned.

Dozens of volunteers from STM and ITEP got together before the event to make 700 sandwiches and create bagged lunches for attendees. 

T-shirts were also given out as gifts to participants, with both red and orange shirts available to honour both Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Residential School Survivors and Victims.

Before the dancing commenced at the Education Gym, a traditional feast and Pipe ceremony at Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre, under the new leadership of Candace Wasacase-Lafferty.

The event was hosted by STM in partnership with Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, ITEP, the Saskatoon Tribal Council and with support from SaskCulture.

Volunteers formed a highly-efficient production line - a necessity when you are making 700 sandwiches!

Butter, mustard and bologna between two slices of white bread. What could be better?

Staff and students from STM College volunteered to help feed the Round Dance participants

Master of ceremonies Sanford Strongarm used his gift of gab to keep the crowd entertained

Colourful ribbon dresses always brighten up a room!

Drumming and singing call the dancers to the floor

The beat of the drumming is infectious

Different drum sticks adorn the head table

Friends find each other at the Round Dance

STM was proud to host its first-ever Round Dance on Sept. 23

STM professor Chris Hrynkow, his children, and Islam Peace Conference keynote speaker Azeezah Kanji take to the dance floor

STM staff member Kerry Stefaniuk hands out bagged lunches

Special guest Metis jigger Courtney-Dawn Anaquod entertains the crowd while they eat

Back to dancing!

Strength in connection

Honoured Elders enjoy each other's company as they watch the dancing

ITEP students and alumni were invited to find their shirts

STM's Gertrude Rompre hands out shirts to participants

The Round Dance was a fun event for families!