Thompson Rivers University

A week of games, dance and story-telling

  Posted on: February 28, 2014

Smudging Aboriginal Indigenous
Aboriginal Awareness Week is March 2 to 8, 2014.

Aboriginal Awareness Week is March 2 to 8, 2014.

Students, staff and faculty are invited to learn and participate in some of the diverse cultures of First Nations and Aboriginal communities in this region and all over Canada at TRU’s annual Aboriginal Awareness Week at the Kamloops campus. Experience the Red River Jig of the Métis people, the traditional game of Slahal, and the sharing of stories and legends by students and Elders. A daily lineup of events provide unique opportunities to increase your awareness of the diversity on our campus.

Aboriginal Awareness Week 2014

Organizer Vernie Clement, TRU’s Aboriginal Mentor and Community Coordinator, has been instrumental in expanding the event, which began over a decade ago. “As a student, I felt it was important to have more events that created the opportunity for Aboriginal students and the TRU community to come together, and bring an awareness of the span and uniqueness of the Indigenous Peoples on this land.”

Related story: A learning community at Cplul’kw’ten

This year’s lineup starts with a winter social event on March 2 called a Round Dance, which originates in the prairies. At Cplul’kw’ten (the Gathering Place) on Monday March 3, watch and learn the traditional game Slahal. On Tuesday, TRU will host Aboriginal Elders from all over the area for the annual Elders’ Luncheon, and in the evening there is a demonstration of Métis Jigging that will get the audience on their feet to try it out.

Wednesday March 5 at the Irvin K. Barber Centre, students and Elders will share a story from the people they come from at the Stories & Legends event. Thursday, student volunteers at Cplul’kw’ten will lead a Craft Night and Regalia Making workshop.

Aboriginal Awareness Week concludes with the Honouring Our Tiny Tots Traditional Pow Wow March 7 and 8 at the TRU Old Gym.

All students are welcome and all events are free to attend. See the event poster for additional details.


“We have been living here together for 500 years, maybe it’s about time we start to get to know one another.”—Elder Mike Arnouse


Métis Jigging for All Ages 
5pm March 4 at the Grand Hall

The Red River Jig, the unique dance developed by the Métis people, combines the intricate footwork of Native dancing with the instruments and form of European music. The styles are influenced by the European polka, waltz, two-step, schottische, jig and square dance; and the steps intermingle with First Nations dances. The chord progressions use complex harmonic structures, abandoning the I-IV-V-I progression of European-derived tunes.

The audience is encouraged to participate with hand-clapping, foot-stomping and dancing to create an aural accompaniment. Please come to learn the basic step, Duck Dance, Red River Jig, and Drops of Brandy.

For more information:
Vernie Clement
Aboriginal Mentor and Community Coordinator
T: 250.852.7838
E: vclement@tru.ca