A round dance to celebrate International Women's Day

Members of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation gathered yesterday for a feast and round dance in support of International Women's Day.

Members of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation honoured women through a round dance and feast

Dawn-Estelle Miskokomon is the violence prevention coordinator with Chippewa of the Thames' justice department. She helped host the dollmaking and round dance activities in celebration of International Women's Day. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC News)

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation marked International Women's Day with a round dance and feast last night.

The event honoured the nation's relationship with women, which stems from a relationship with Mother Earth, explained Dawn-Estelle Miskokomon. 

The round dance celebration honours the reciprocal relationship between men and women, said Miskokomon. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC News)

"Everything that we know and everything we understand comes from our teachings with creation from our natural world," said Miskokomon.

Although it was a night to honour women, the proceedings also offered an opportunity to honour the respectful relationship between men and women, she said. 

"As we gather around in a circle and song with our men, they honour our women in song to show them their pride and the utmost respect they have for them," she said.

Members of Chippewa of the Thames participate in a round dance. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC News)

The evening was also an opportunity to showcase handcrafted dolls that were created by some of the women in the weeks leading up to the event.

CBC spoke with some of those who participated about what their dolls meant to them.

Andrea Young

Andrea Young's doll wears a red jingle dress, and honours Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC News)

Andrea Young's doll wears a red dress to honour Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

"I named her 'Justice,' because everything reflects back to justice," said Young. 

The jingles on her doll represent healing, she said.

"It's for healing society," she said.

"When you wear your dress, you go out, you dance and heal and you pray for others."

Lena Weekes

Lena Weekes' doll wears a jingle dress. Weekes said she ultimately hopes to make a jingle dress for herself, as well. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC News)

Lena Weekes' doll also wears a jingle dress to symbolize healing. 

It also has another meaning.

Weekes said the doll is a reflection of herself, and that ultimately, she wants to make her own jingle dress.

"My hope is to do a jingle dress for myself," she said. "So that's my start."

Brenda Ireland

Brenda Ireland (right) had the opportunity to work on her doll with her daughter and granddaughter (left). (Paula Duhatschek/CBC News)

Brenda Ireland created a fancy shawl dance doll, in honour of her favourite powwow dance.

"There was one dancer in particular that had butterflies on her shawl and everything, and I was so mesmerized by her footwork where it almost seemed like she was floating because she was so graceful in her dancing," said Ireland.

"That's what I enjoy, I love watching all the fancy shawl dancers. All of them, they're all awesome no matter what and that's what my doll was about."