Photo supplied by the Indigenous Business Students' Society

The Indigenous Business Students' Society honours alumni with first annual Round Dance

Breanna Pochipinski

The Indigenous Business Students' Society (IBSS) was created in October 2018 by Aubrey-Anne Pewapisconias-Laliberte and Jessica Mirasty, and has just celebrated its first anniversary. The student group formed to show Indigenous students that they have a place in the Edwards School of Business and to give Indigenous students a place to find like-minded students with similar background on a large campus.

When the council started in 2018, the group had 24 members, since then the group has grown to 34 members. The IBSS is set up with Headpersons as opposed to a hierarchical structure. No member of the IBSS is higher than the other, some just have more responsibilities than others. There are four headpersons: Hunter McLean, Spokesperson Headperson, Pamela Whitehead, Logistics Headperson, Sheldon Bear, Events and Traditions Headperson, and Jessica Mirasty, Student Supports Headperson.

Hunter McLean, a 4th-year Management major and Spokesperson Headperson for the IBSS, transferred from Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT) in fall 2018. After finding a group of individuals that he could relate to, McLean joined Pewapsiconias and Mirasty to form the IBSS. A unique feature of the IBSS is that the group consists of both Edwards School of Business students as well as SIIT students. The blending of the two groups of students allows for transfer students, such as McLean, to have a smoother transition into Edwards School of Business from SIIT.

"It's been humbling and exciting at the same time," McLean said when recounting on how the first year of the Indigenous Business Students' Society has been. "The amount of support and growth that we've had is phenomenal."

Some of the events that the IBSS held over the past 16 months include the first IBSS Networking Gala, SIGA Case Competition, Indigenous Business Panel Speaker Series, and the first annual IBSS Round Dance.

The first Annual IBSS Round Dance was held last month on January 11. Round dances were traditionally held to honour someone who had passed on into the spirit world. Today, the social dances are held for all kinds of reasons, including honouring people for accomplishments or celebrating special events. The first annual IBSS Round Dance was held to honour the Indigenous alumni of Edwards School of Business. The alumni that attended the round dance received Edwards Alumni Pins during the ceremony.

"It's going back to the idea of trailblazing and making sure that there is a path for others to follow," McLean explained. "The more people that take that path, the flatter it will get, and the easier it will be for others to travel."

Many protocols must be followed when hosting a round dance. The event is to be held in Winter and the area that the dance will be held in needs to be smudged before the event happening. A ceremonial feast is to be done within four days of the round dance in order to welcome in the spirits. The IBSS will continue to host the annual Round dance for at least the next three years.

This term the IBSS hosted the round dance, and they have more events happening over the next few months. This Thursday the IBSS is hosting their second Networking Gala. They are also planning on hosting events that highlight their traditions, such as beading workshops, ribbon shirts and skirts workshops, a weekly talking circle, and the continuation of Bannock Chats every second Thursday.

For the members of the IBSS, the group is considered family. They aim to be trailblazers for those who come after them, and the student group is working towards creating a place where Indigenous students feel welcomed in Edwards. The IBSS office is located in room 91.2 in the Rawlinson Center on the ground floor in Edwards School of Business. "Everyone is welcome," McLean said, "Indigenous values have value in everyone's everyday life."

For more information on the Indigenous Business Student Society stop by Room 91.2 in the Rawlinson Centre or visit

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