Cultural education through dance and stories
Hine Crowchild of Red Thunder the Next Generation, an Aboriginal dance group from Calgary, dances for all those who can’t.
“We’re a family group and the reason that we do it is because my older brother has cerebral palsy, so he can’t walk or talk but he likes to dance,” Crowchild said. “We dance for him, because he can’t dance.”
Red Thunder put on a display at the University of Alberta-Augustana campus soccer fields on
June 21 for National Aboriginal day. Although the day’s name will likely be changed to National Indigenous Peoples day, following a statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We come here every year to Camrose. For us it’s a way to show people our culture, to showcase what we do,” Crowchild said. “Behind every dance we do we try to explain what it means, what it represents, that’s what National Aboriginal Day is, to educate people about our culture.”
There were approximately 2,000 school children from Camrose schools as well as several rural Battle River School Division schools who attended. Jane Cherry-Lemire, the arts director at the City of Camrose said it was a successful day.
“We’ve braved the wind, but other than that it’s been amazing we appreciated how many people have come out. Red Thunder did a great job as they usually do,” she said. “Looking at the smiling faces and the kids interacting I would say that everyone enjoyed it.”
For Crowchild, the opportunities to learn about Aboriginal culture happens daily, she said that she is still learning everyday herself.
“[We learn] by just talking, we ask questions, we’re forever learning on a daily basis about our own culture as well,” she said.
Camrose Mayor Norm Mayer said that having children learn about Aboriginal culture through events like this benefit everybody.
“It’s a culture that’s unique in nature, and a culture we can all learn from,” he said. “I think it’s great for the younger people to know the history. A lot of this history doesn’t get taught to any great degree. The youth coming up today are our people of tomorrow so the more education that they can get and the more knowledge they can get about what the country is about I think the better off we all are.”