Keeping First Nation traditions alive through drum-making workshop

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. - A recent drum-making workshop in Fort St. John took place to get participants involved in traditional Indigenous arts and assist them in their healing journey.

Alanna Moore and Connie Greyeyes, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Coordinators for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS), organized a two-day drum-making workshop to bring local First Nation communities together.

The event took place on January 31st and February 1st at Treaty 8 Tribal Association office.

According to Moore, the drum-making workshop is about learning the history of hand drums and their importance to the First Nation’s healing process.

“We support families and survivors, raise awareness of the MMIWG crisis, and organize cultural workshops like this. By doing this, we provide community members with a safe space to come together and connect with their culture and other people in many ways that promote healing,” said Moore.

The workshop aims to target mainly Indigenous male members. Walter White, from the Enoch Cree Nation in Treaty 6 Territory, hopes to address issues participants are facing in these workshops. He believes these cultural workshops provide a safe space to tackle serious issues like drug usage, mental trauma, and physical health abuse in the community.

“Drum-making is an act of healing for our communities,” said White.

He said for Indigenous people, the drum-making process shows their belief in traditional values despite the challenges caused by the modern lifestyle.

Throughout the workshops, White shared his ancestors' inspirational stories in hopes of helping community members combat modern life's difficulties.

“Our traditions and rituals are organic and connect us with nature compared to the modern consumption model, which disconnects us from our surroundings," said White.

The MMIWG coordinators said they want to host more workshops in the future to engage with community members.

Manavpreet Singh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,