Date: Monday, March 20
Time: Drop in anytime from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
BC Children's and BC Women's hospitals at 4500 Oak Street, Vancouver, entrance 35, by the courtyard. The event will also be live-streamed via webcast
A round dance is a special traditional event in First Nations culture, it is an open ceremony, intended for healing and remembrance that brings people together "to heal, to honour and to celebrate life," says Adrian LaChance, a traditional dancer and storyteller, who will be emceeing the event.
Originally started with the plains area tribes, the round dance has spread throughout Indigenous communities and was started as a means to bring communities together, to share songs and stories and to have fun. The round dance songs usually consist of love, loss, and humour.
The goal is to engage community and staff to come together from various cultures and backgrounds to celebrate together on the traditional, ancestral, occupied and unceded territories of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-waututh Nations in joining hands and dancing.
We gratefully thank Elders Margaret George, Dennis Joseph, Shane Pointe and Marie Bercier for their opening. Joining us as stickman, who will help guide the flow of the event through the dances and the songs is Bronson LaChance, as well as Cree drummers Courage LaChance, Justice Kaskamin LaChance, Cassius Bear Benson.
Everyone is welcome: all ages, backgrounds and cultures. You don't need a special invitation and you can come and go when you want. Traditionally, women wear long skirts, but feel free to wear whatever is comfortable for you, including jeans. Please dress for the weather, as this event is outdoors.
For dancing, gather in a circle. Hold hands with the people on either side of you, with your left hand facing up and your right hand facing down. You can jump in anywhere in the circle and at any time during a dance.
The circle moves to the left. This reflects the way the Earth moves around the sun, says LaChance. "We believe when you're moving in that direction, you're healing."
Step to the beat of the drums. "The beat of the drums is like that of the heartbeat. We acknowledge the heartbeat of Mother Earth," explains LaChance.
Don't worry about your feet. But if you want to get more detailed: step left with your left foot, which represents the male, then slide your right foot next to it. Your right foot, the female, stays close to the ground to represent how closely connected you are to the Earth.
You don't have to dance. You're welcome to come, find a seat and watch. "There's healing in watching, as well," says LaChance.