Edmonton Métis Dancers perform traditional broom dance at NAKA festival

The Metis have always been a social and festive people with a love of song and dance, blending their First Nations and European ancestral cultures into unique fiddle playing and dance styles. Arthur C. Green/ CKLB Radio

It was a performance full of culture, storytelling and great fiddle music as the Edmonton Métis Dancers rocked the stage at the NAKA Festival yesterday in Yellowknife.

Lyle Donald is the Director of Dance.

“Learning Mètis dance is more than just playing fiddle music and jigging around,” Donald said. “Mètis dance and music relay a time of Canada’s history during times of dramatic change in the Canadian landscape. The dances and music tell us about times of celebration and resistance within the Mètis experience of the encroachment of colonial rule in Canada’s West.”

One of the traditional dances showcased for the audience was the broom dance which dates back to the sixteenth century, Donald says.

It’s now time for the traditional broom 🧹 dance 💃 by the Metis Dancers here at NAKA festival.-ArtCGreen

Posted by CKLB Radio 101.9 FM – Yellowknife on Wednesday, March 4, 2020

“It is a dance which first performed by the Scottish with swords before they used to go to war elders have told us,” Donald said. “Soldiers would lay their weapons on the ground and to the tune of the bagpipes they would dance with the sword crossing their legs over the weapon.”

Donald says the number of times dancers cross their legs over the sword or in this case a broom is the number of people that were killed by the soldier in battle.

“This dance has been part of our community of our Métis for a very long time,” Donald said. “Through teachings from Mètis Elders from the Edmonton region for the past 30 years we are able to share the stories of our music and dances to create a better interpretation of our part in Canada’s past.”

The Edmonton Mètis Cultural Dancers are available for performances.

For bookings contact lyle@metisdance.com





About the Author

Arthur C. Green
Arthur C. Green is from Whitbourne Newfoundland and graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked as a spot news photographer/journalist with such news organizations as Vista-radio, CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire and Postmedia in Alberta.