By Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – The Acimowin Opaspiw Society (AOS) is announcing the first of four Memorial Round Dances being held to memorialize and honour former students and survivors of the Blue Quills Indian Residential School.
The memorial is scheduled for March 19, 2022 and will be held at the Saint Paul, Alberta Recreation Centre.
The ceremony will begin with a pipe ceremony and feast at 5:00 pm. Bobby Badger and Eric Tootoosis have been requested by the survivors to emcee the Round Dance, with Harvey Dreaver and Magwa Tootoosis selecting the singers.
Everyone is welcome to attend.
The Society plans to host the Memorial Round Dance three more times over the next three years.
Eric J. Large, Elder/Survivor on the Board of Directors and spokesperson, said of the society’s decision to hold four Dances, “The first one marks the beginning of the mourning phase because this Round Dance is being conducted for all the families of the former students and survivors of Blue Quills.”
“We are collectively mourning the people who have passed for the next four years together. The fourth and final round dance is going to mark the end of our collective mourning phase.”
The overarching goal of AOS is “to reclaim and restore, our inherent Language, Culture and Holistic wellbeing, which was nearly assimilated to extinction, by the Indian Residential School System,” concluded Large.
The Society will be announcing several projects and initiatives, which align with their mandate, both at the Round Dance and in the coming weeks.