On January 16, Pathways Community Services Association held our 10th annual Honour Round Dance in honour of our late Elder Gordon McGillvary. The Round Dance is our way to say thank you to all community members and to celebrate together by traditional ceremony, feasting, and song and dance.
A Round Dance is an Aboriginal healing and blessing ceremony as well as a social gathering for the community. Traditionally held during the winter months, it is a ceremony to unite the community while enduring the cold on the Canadian Plains. A traditional Round Dance encompasses many ceremonies. Pathways’ Round Dance begins with a traditional pipe ceremony led by our Elder. This ceremony is for prayers to bless the Round Dance, the food, the singers, the people and families in attendance, and to give thanks for our many blessings.
The feast ceremony then begins by preparing a plate offering to all our relations in spirit. Next we eat! Elders will always be served first customarily by a younger person. The celebration then swings into high gear by community members, families, and Elders dancing up a storm to the beat of drummers and singers who come from all over western Canada.
After a few hours of dancing the Give Away ceremony begins by the blessing of the gifts, to be given to everyone in attendance. Later we give away apples, through the apple dance, to ensure that everyone leaves with a gift. The round dance ends by giving away any food that still can be consumed.
Hiy hiy (thank you) to everybody who came and participated in this year’s Round Dance and to all of the dedicated volunteers who made the Round Dance happen! We would also like to thank the event sponsors: The Calgary Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary, Bearspaw Benevolent Foundation, Nexen, Talisman Energy Inc. and NATION Imagination.