Aboriginal culture was celebrated at Carihi as students from the Kwak’wala Language class and Aboriginal Support block had the opportunity to participate in a traditional drum making workshop.
The school received money from SD72 to host the workshop that was lead by Phil Mills and Mavis Aubichon, who not only helped the students build the drums, but provided teachings around the drums as well.
“Phil and Mavis visited us twice over the past few weeks,” said Aboriginal Support teacher, Nicolas Pisterzi.
“The first class was the teachings, preparations and making of the drum together as a group and in the second class we had some more teachings around it, we made the drumsticks and then we did the ‘birthing ceremony’ of the drums.”
Mills and Aubichon focused on teaching the significance of the drum not only as a tool for music, but the spirituality behind it as well.
“The students were taught that every time the drum beats it’s like the beating of the animal’s heart,” said Pisterzi. “Every drum sounds different and is unique, much like how every animal and human is different and unique. It is also a powerful tool that can be used as an alternative way to provide healing and medicine for people.”
They fabricated 27 fourteen inch elk hide drums from hides and drum rings prepared with the help of Mills’ craftsmanship. The students built drumsticks as well. Fifteen of the drums will be gifted to Carihi and 12 will be gifted to Ecole Phoenix Middle School through Ms. Keisha Everson’s Kwak’wala class.
“They’re very important because the two schools, Phoenix and Carihi, do not have drums,” said Pisterzi.
“And the purpose of these drums is to be able to start drumming groups, ceremonies and to bring more First Nations culture to the schools through the drums.”
Pisterzi explained that Mills and Aubichon want the drums to be accessible to everyone, aboriginal and non-aboriginal students and staff alike, who is interested in learning.
“Phil and Mavis went above and beyond in helping us,” said Pisterzi, “I really admire Phil for his craftsmanship, he really did go the extra mile to make sure every drum was tightened properly and the hair was taken off. He was very professional and I really appreciate his teachings about his culture, and Mavis, for her teachings around the birthing ceremony of the drum. It was just a really great time for us to come together and do so much learning.”