Fostering unity: Women Building Futures partners for Round Dance

Four participants in the Round Dance move around the circle during the ceremony, linked together

Published On
March 20, 2024

Women Building Futures partners with Bent Arrow for their annual Round Dance

Women Building Futures (WBF) was honoured to partner with Bent Arrow for the second year running to hold their annual Round Dance earlier this month. 

The ceremony, which also featured a Pipe Ceremony, a feast and Indigenous vendors, was held at the Alberta Aviation Museum in Amiskwacîwâskahikan, also known as Edmonton on Saturday, March 2. 

Hundreds of people attended the event, including elected officials Janis Irwin, Brooks Arcand-Paul, Searle Turton, Ashley Salvador and Sarah Hoffman. 

The Round Dance comes as Bent Arrow celebrates 30 years of being a beacon of support, empowerment and healing in Indigenous communities, and with Women Building Futures in its 25th year of helping women break barriers on their paths to economic security. 

“We are committed to strong Indigenous partnerships and relationships, and our focus is on building sustainable and reciprocal relationships between Indigenous communities and WBF,” president and CEO of WBF, Carol Moen, says. 

The power of a Round Dance 

A Round Dance consists of many people working together to ensure all parts of the ceremony are performed according to oral teachings. 

“These gatherings serve as a means of fostering unity, strengthening community bonds and passing down cultural teachings from one generation to the next,” says Bent Arrow. 

WBF has made a commitment to understand and support culturally appropriate learning opportunities for students and staff, and to support equitable opportunities for training and employment for Indigenous women. 

In 2022-23, 21% of the women that graduated from WBF training programs were Indigenous. 

Staff from WBF are working together to support Indigenous communities. The staff from both organizations came together to plan and support the ceremony. The Bent Arrow Practice as Ceremony team provided Round Dance teachings, including traditions and protocols for the ceremony. 

Speaking on the relationship between the organizations, Bent Arrow says: “The partnership is associated with the journey of Indigenous peoples as it benefits WBF in advancing their knowledge to help serve Indigenous women better.  

“Joint activities like this Round Dance are beneficial, as we can all come together to learn and build relationships with the community, which in turn helps the community trust WBF’s ability to support Indigenous women.”