Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Connecting to culture: Mi’kmaq drum making workshop held at StFX

October 20th, 2021
Participants take part in a Mi’kmaq hand drum workshop hosted at StFX

As 12 StFX students got to work on October 19th making their own traditional Mi’kmaq hand drums during a workshop hosted at StFX, they learned how to craft the drum, and also about the spiritual, traditional and cultural importance on the Mi’kmaq drum, which represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth. 

The drum making workshop was led by members of Sipekne’katik Mi'kmaw Nation, Brian Knockwood, Colin McDonald and Kearny Augustine, and held in Dennis Hall. 

It was one of a number of events held at StFX in October during Mi’kmaq History Month. 

"I felt that it was important to create a space to share and practice Indigenous knowledge and ways of being,” says Terena Francis, Coordinator, StFX Indigenous Affairs. “I started organizing the drum making workshop a few years ago to give students and staff the opportunity to, maybe, learn more about the drum, connect with the culture and to allow for cultural practices to take place on campus.  

“Indigenous students sacrifice so much of their identity leaving their families and communities. I wanted to ensure that we bring some of these practices to them while attending university,” she said.

Instructor Brian Knockwood, a well-known drummer and drum maker who uses techniques and teachings passed on to him from his elders, says, "My life would not be what it is if it were not for the drum," meaning he lives by the teachings of the drum, the heartbeat of Mother Earth.


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