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Round dance celebration

Organizers hope the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation event will become yearly

The Taylor Community Hall played host to the first-ever Treaty 8 Tribal Association's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation round dance and feast.

The association's executive director, Marlene Roy, said it was quickly put together in about a month.

“It was actually the District of Taylor who reached out to us and said they wanted to do something Sept. 30,” she said.

But what is a round dance?

“It's just people getting together, celebrating, sharing, visiting,” explains Roy. “I think our lives get so hectic, we don't take that time anymore.”

The evening featured both round and tea dances.

“There's no difference. It's the cultures. Dene is a tea dance. For the Cree, it's a round dance.”

Like May's annual Spirit of the Peace Pow Wow, also held in Taylor, First Nations from as far away as Saskatchewan, even on the short notice, came out to take part.

Roy is planning for it to be an annual event and on Sept. 30 with a underlining purpose.

“We're reconciling. We want to move forward. We want to honour our children that never came home as well as honouring our residential school survivors.”

“When we first came together to decide to do this round dance, we thought why not include all the nations. So, it was really important to incorporate the tea dance and the round dance into one event,” said Connie Greyeyes with the organizing committee.

“Long ago, we weren't allowed to have these kinds of ceremonies or gatherings. It's especially important on Orange Shirt come together to laugh, dance, sing, share a meal.”

For Greyeyes, the day is an emotional one with highs and lows.

Her mom, 91, is a residential school survivor.

“She's inside listening to all the drumming. It couldn't be anymore perfect for us.”

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