The provincial public library systems is working on strategies to build stronger relationships with the First Nations and Métis peoples across Saskatchewan that need to be more inclusive and receptive to the diverse needs of the Aboriginal people. Such strategies include but are not limited to Aboriginal based programming, creating a welcoming environment, collection development, cultural sensitivity workshops, and many others. These initiatives are the result of the 46 recommendations within the Minister's Advisory Committee final report, Information is for Everyone.
As part of the recommendations the provincial public library system, through the Committee on Aboriginal Library Services (CALS) hosted 4 provincial Round Dances from 2008-2011.
- The first Round Dance on March 14, 2008, hosted by the Saskatoon Public Library.
- Regina Public Library hosted the second Round Dance on February 27, 2009.
- Southeast and Parkland library systems co-hosted the third Round Dance on February 26, 2010 in Lebret.
- The Wapiti Regional Library system hosted the fourth and final public library Round Dance on February 12, 2011, in Prince Albert.
Traditionally, a host is committed to holding the Round Dance for four years in a row.
A Round Dance is an event that happens during the winter months for memorials, honouring, and celebrations, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and new relationships. It is a way to deal with new endeavours, grieving, sickness, giving thanks, honouring people, meeting and making friends. People travel from all over to attend and show support for one another. The pace is relaxed and although the process is serious, humour flows, and it is a time when patience is exercised.
The Public Library's Round Dance will begin with a pipe ceremony at 5:00 p.m. Elder/s will burn, smudge and smoke the pipe. After the pipe ceremony, a Feast will follow. Traditional feast foods are simple and healthy. The feast will consist of four main food items: soup, bannock, berries and grease (berries and grease are regarded as an offering), along with other food items. The round dance will begin after the sun sets, for it is a night ceremony. On First Nation reserves, the singing and dancing could go on to the early morning hours. The event will also include raffles, 50/50 draws, and a "midnight lunch".
First Nation protocol and information for the pipe ceremony and feast: Women who are on their monthly cycle must refrain from attending. Women are encouraged to wear a long skirt to all traditional gatherings. Bring containers and dishes to eat from as well as salt, pepper, etc. No food may be thrown out, if you cannot finish any food, take it home or give it away.