Page Archived: Opening Ceremonies featuring the St. Mary’s Oskayak Dance Troupe 12:00 pm

The St. Mary’s Oskayak Dance Troupe opens the festival.  The drum calls everyone to the Festival as dancers perform traditional dance.  Bagpiper Andrew Whiting hears and answers this call by leading the Festival Parade through the Museum, beginning in Butler Byers Century Hall.  Dancers break while the Parade makes its way towards the Boomtown Stage.  Upon its arrival, the Oskayak Dance Troupe welcomes the parade and all Oskayak Dance Troupefestival-goers with a brief final dance.  This musical interplay celebrates the First Nations and the modern day connectedness of our cultures.

St Mary’s Oskayak Dance Troupe has over 20 dancers and drummers in their dance troupe from kindergarten to grade 8. The dance troupe began in the spring of 1989 as an extracurricular activity run by St Mary’s Staff. Over the past years the St Mary’s School and the Pleasant Hill Community worked together to help our families continue to follow their traditional ways. Today we have Elders, parents, community members and staff who teach our students the values and traditions of the Aboriginal Culture and Dance. Our dancers are taught the history of the dance and the true respect it deserves. Each dancer and drummer holds great respect for their dance and songs when they perform for the public. Our dance troupe travels to many schools and teaches the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples the values of our culture. More families have become involved with the dance troupe and we have more requests for our dancers to perform mostly because we do an explanation of the traditional dance history before each dance style.   Our performance is 45 minutes and can be modified to time requests.

Our dance styles include:

  • Boys Traditional dance-
  • Girls Traditional dance
  • Boys Grass dance
  • Boys Fancy Dance
  • Girls Fancy Shawl dance
  • Girls Jingle Dress dance
  • Métis Dances & Jigging
  • Hoop Dancers