scuttlebutt, cornwall, ontario

Students awaken their drums

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Students awaken their drums
Theresa Cook during the drum awakening ceremony at Bishop Macdonell Catholic School (Shawna O'Neill/Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Students of Bishop Macdonell Catholic School and St. Matthew Catholic Secondary School took part in a spiritual drum awakening ceremony with drums that they made on Thursday, May 23.

“We are really excited about it and are very honoured to have these (teachers) here with us today,” said Marian Lawson MacDonald, the CDSBEO Indigenous Education Lead Coordinator. “We can’t do anything without the voices of…the actual First Nations community.”

Over a dozen drums were made by Primary MEP students, who were given a helping hand by returning students that now attend St. Matt’s. These older students acquired drum making skills from community partner Paul Allaire.

“They’re really connecting the spirit to the drum,” explained Lawson MacDonald, who said this is the first time the school hosted this particular project.

Brenda Rivers from Moose Creek, Theresa Cook and Lorraine Thompson from Akwesasne, and David Dearhouse, who appeared in the 2013 Canadian drama Standstill, the first feature length film majorly spoken in Kanienke:ha (Mohawk language), were all a part of the ceremony.

Lawson MacDonald said the CDSBEO incorporates Indigenous education into the curriculum of each grade and class. She is looking forward to June 12 when a group of students from Perth and Ingleside will conclude a year-long study of our local history with an experiential day of learning, visiting the Lost Villages and Akwesasne.

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