K to A: Miyomacihowin Healing, A Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action Through Feast and Round Dance
As part of the Nêhiyâwiwin Cree Language and Culture Program at the Confederation Park Community School, students attend feasts, ceremonies, powwows and round dances while learning appropriate cultural protocols. As part of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, the Nêhiyâwiwin Cree Language and Culture Program wanted to be a part of helping Indigenous students and families to heal through ceremony, song and dance by hosting their first ever Feast and Round Dance as their health promotion initiative. Miyomacihowin, a healing process through ceremony, was intended to help bring healing to those families effected by residential school, for families of missing and murdered girls, youth and women, for those affected by the 60’s Scoop and those who have come through the Foster Care System.
This initiative was a great success, hosting over 500 people between the Feast and the Round Dance. There was a noticeable increase in pride for Indigenous staff, students and families throughout the planning and implementation processes. Many parents came to the school to volunteer for the first time, acting as a springboard for parent-teacher relationships.
Story of the Origin of the Round Dance as told by Cree Elder John Cuthand:
The story goes there was a woman who loved her mother very much. The daughter never married and refused to leave her mother’s side. Many years later, the mother, now very old, passed away. The daughter’s grief was unending.
One day as daughter was walking alone on the prairie, her thoughts filled with pain. As she walked, she saw a figure standing alone upon a hill. She came closer and saw that it was her mother. As she ran toward her mother, she could see her mother’s feet did not touch the ground. Her mother spoke, telling her she could not touch her.
“I cannot find peace in the other world so long as you grieve,” she said, “I bring something from the other world to help the people grieve in a good way.” She taught her daughter ceremony and the songs that went with it. “Tell the people that when this circle is made, we the ancestors will be dancing with you and we will be as one.” The daughter returned and taught the people the Round Dance ceremony.