The fourth installment for our Indigenous education series spotlights Indigenous drums.
For Indigenous people, the circular shape of a drum represents balance and equality, wholeness and connection. All living things surround the drum, with The Creator at the centre. The rhythm of the drum symbolizes our heartbeat and when we drum it strengthens our connection to each other.
Over the last five year more than 1000 drums were made by students from kindergarten to grade 12. More than 1001 students will be using these drums to perform the Coast Salish Anthem on June 21 at the unveiling ceremony for the Legacy Carving project.
The process of making the drums began with Davita Marsden, an Indigenous Education Teacher, teaching staff the protocols surrounding the drum during professional development workshops. After learning how to make a drum and understanding the significance behind it, teachers were empowered to share this knowledge with students. One of the goals was to bring awareness of Indigenous culture into the classroom through drumming and singing.
A group of Queen Alexandra Elementary students were one of many students who learned how to make Indigenous drums and play them. It took a year of planning, preparation and practice with students, staff and parents to make the 60 drums funded by the Band Aid program through Musicounts.
Before playing the drums, Kristina Leon, Indigenous Education Worker at Queen Alexandra made sure that all the proper Indigenous protocols were followed. "Protocols are really important because these are the teachings that are passed down from our ancestors," says Leon. "It is a way of showing respect to the knowledge keepers within our communities. Protocols are a part of oral traditions and guide the way we do things."
Students were also taught the Coast Salish Anthem and the Women's Warrior Song. The two songs were played every day over the PA system, after acknowledging the unceded territory of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh nations.
These are the types of activities that bring awareness to the community about Indigenous culture, while also engaging students to learn about truth and reconciliation as we move forward together.