LAC LA BICHE, AB – On March 17, Portage College was proud to host its 19th Annual Round Dance – with a unique twist. For the first time, the College welcomed 400 school children from the region to participate in the popular annual gathering. The event was a resounding success, providing an opportunity for attendees to learn about First Nation culture and ceremony, as well as to celebrate the contributions of two long-standing members of the College community.
The Round Dance was offered in a new format this year. Rather than a traditional community event, the Round Dance was transformed into an educational experience for local schools. Grade 5-12 students from Amisk Community School, Aurora Middle School, Goodfish Lake Portage College Open Campus, Light of Christ Catholic School, and J. A. Williams High School attended, giving them an opportunity to learn in a hands-on, immersive way.
The room filled with positive energy for each song. “The children brought such joy to our campus,” said Robert Rayko, Cultural Facilitator at Portage College. “We’ve never experienced this event in this way. Having it accessible during the day for schools to come made a huge impact.”
Portage College staff, faculty, students, as well as 400 Grade 5-12 students from Lac La Biche schools participated in the Educational Round Dance at Portage College on March 17.
The event was a great success, with the students demonstrating a deep engagement in learning about First Nation culture and showing great respect during the presentations. The elders, knowledge keepers, and drummers who participated in the Round Dance were thrilled with the energy coming from the students.
“This was a day of real reconciliation and ‘reconcili-action,’” said Rayko. “One of the drummers stated that the kids brought so much positive, exciting energy.”
In addition to the educational experience, participants were given a meal and an opportunity to honour two long-standing members of the College community. Shelley Jackson, Program Coordinator of Public Legal Education Program, and Carrie Froehler, Vice President of People and Culture at Portage College, were recognized for their commitment to promoting "reconcili-action" and their dedication to supporting the College and its region.
Carrie Froehler and Shelley Jackson were honoured for their commitment to “reconcili-action” at a Blanket Ceremony during the educational Round Dance. Left to Right: Rick Flumian, Carrie Froehler, Donna Feledichuk, Cynthia Quintal, Shelley Jackson and Geraldine Hagen.
Portage College wishes to thank all those who attended and contributed to the success of this year's educational Round Dance. The event provided an invaluable opportunity to promote intercultural understanding and appreciation for First Nation culture, and to recognize the contributions of those who work tirelessly to support the College and its region.
Jaime Davies, Corporate Communications Manager
780-623-6671 or email