Round Dance


Bent Arrow has an annual round dance that draws hundreds of people. The round dance is in the Fall.

Round Dance – Aboriginal Day (2012)

What is a Round Dance?

The first known round dances took place in a long lodge called nanapawnikamovikamik, or “night singing tipi,” as part of small tribal camp gatherings. Today, the round dance remains one of the most intimate and communal expressions of Aboriginal spirituality.

From the first tuning of the hand drums (by way of fire), to the fun of meeting old friends and making new, a round dance is for everyone, children, parents, Elders and lovers. A time to swap stories, catch up on the latest news, break bannock, and share some tea and tobacco. And even better, to hear both the old and new songs sung in Plains and Woodland Cree. It’s a time to honor traditions and memories of ancestors dancing around their starry campfires, flickering against the dark blanket of the night sky.

A round dance is held for memorials, honouring, and celebrations. It is a way to give thanks, grieve, court, honour people, meet new people and make friends, and celebrate community.  People travel from all over to attend and show support for one another. The pace is relaxed and although the process is serious, humour flows. The round dance has an infectious upbeat tempo and creates a simple and fun activity.