A lesson in drumming during a Focus on Youth Indigenous Camp at Cathedral High School focused less on staying on beat and more on the significance of the instrument and why it should be respected.
Led by Site Supervisor Melissa Button, students learned that drums are considered sacred objects and when played it's not about putting on a performance, but rather connecting with the Creator.
"The reason why it’s a sacred object is because what it’s made from," she said, adding that the frame of the drum is made from the trees and the face is made from deer hide.
"They come from living things and so we have to honour it."
"When we use them we are either praying, healing or honouring."
Indigenous Camp is one of 19 different Focus on Youth camps offered in the summer meant to provide "high quality summer program opportunities for children and youth in identified HWCDSB neighbourhoods."
This year, the camp is offered at both Cathedral and Annunciation of Our Lord Catholic Elementary School and gives students a chance to explore Canadian roots through traditional games, arts, storytelling, singing, sports and cultural activities.
In addition to drumming, students also looked at the Medicine Wheel which is made up of four equal sections to represent physical, spiritual, emotional and mental aspects of life. The four colours, red, white, black and yellow represent all the human races.
“The wheel is made of equal sections because everyone is created equal and we must respect each other,” said Button. “Even something that’s small, like bees, we need to protect as they are an important part of our ecosystem,” said Button.
As a take home, students made Medicine Wheel inspired bracelets that will act as a constant reminder to treat one another (and our special belongings) with respect, love and kindness.