Our Stories

Learning about Traditional Indigenous Dances

SSDATA_HCE_ED_EDUC31051On March 7th, 2019 the teacher candidates in our Teaching Physical Education class had the opportunity to learn about traditional Indigenous Dances, such as Metis Jigging, Men's Traditional, Men's/Women's/Teen Fancy, and Women's/Junior Girl's Jingle. Treff Deerfoot also played the hand drum and sang.

The students were able to watch each dance, introduced by Treff Deerfoot, and ask questions about the dance itself and to the dancers about how they became interested and engaged in dance. Treff also spoke about the history of each dance and what the costumes symbolized through different perspectives. We learned that dance, for Indigenous people, is very spiritual but also social and physical.

Physical literacy is about holistic well-being, and being confident and competent and motivated to move, for life. In EDUC 4105 we learn about and discuss what movement and lifelong activity looks like and means from various perspectives. In order to connect with our students, we need an understanding of where they each are coming from, in terms of their experiences and what motivates them. The Indigenous Dance demonstration directly related to our curriculum and was a natural integration of Indigenous ways of knowing and doing. We know that dance is a key piece of our provincial curriculum and is a wonderful way to express creativity, spirituality, tradition, culture, and to engage in physical activity, social events and remain healthy overall through the lifespan.

Our future teachers can take this direct experience and relate it to how we and those around us experience dance and other movements. They can incorporate the knowledge learned about each dance and use this in their classroom/gymnasiums; the content can easily be integrated into any and all subject areas. Connecting with their students through dance and culture might be one of the most important take-away's from this event.