Teaching the children

Continuing from the previous post 🙂

After opening speeches and me doing the Noon Day Prayers and smudging, it was time for some teachings.

There were several school classes of kids from age 6 to 12 there to learn about First Nations culture. There also were quite a number of adults there and lucky for me several First Nations People also joined the circle.

I Had set up a small teachingdisplay and we discussed the meanings of Eagle, Wolf, Buffalo and Bear,  the Guardians of the 4 directions for the Anishinaabe People and the kids got a chance to handle an Eagle feather, a Buffalo horn, a Wolf ‘s tail and the Bear skull.

Then, on we went to the culture of the Haudenosaunee Longhouse and where the differences are.

Deer antlers, and other items were inspected and questions answered. We talked about how the Anishinaabe smudge and why the Mohawk People do not, but rather use Tobacco Prayers and how to conduct oneself when such an opportunity arises.

I also addressed some more problematic areas like why the white settlers tried to kill all the Wolves in the area while the First Nations watched in horror. Wolf is seen as an important teacher of family values, endurance and survival skills apart from being a mayor Clan Guardian for all First Nations.

There would be much to tell, but I also wanted to mention, that whenever a First Nations person is in the circle, I always give them the word to chime in and contribute or share personal experiences or give teachings.


2 hours of teachings go by very fast and then it was time for drumming!

They had all waited for that! We had to take turns to give all the kids a chance to play either the big Pow Wow drum or one of the frame drums I had brought for the occasion.

I explained, that the large drum was a gift from one of my clients and that it represents the voice of the Earth Mother. We played the heart beat and I sang a chant or 2.

Kids always want to speed up the beat and singing is a good trick to slow them down. Some children have lots of trouble keeping the beat or rhythm while others take to it easy and right away.

Some Anishenaabe Women see it as a special privilege to be able to play the big drum, because the men in their communities usually restrict them from even touching a Pow Wow drum. In the last few years there are a few female drum groups but they often experience the full brunt of rejection from their male contemporaries. No such problems exist in the communities of the 6 Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy 🙂

Everyone enjoyed the drumming sessions and at the end all the participants followed me in a traditional Closing Prayer.

Shi’ Meegweetch

Niawe

Shya’-nam

Thank you all


Upcoming celebrations for National Aboriginal Day

I have been asked by the town of Huntsville to do the Noon Day Prayers for National Aboriginal Day, which is June 21st = the Summer Solstice

National Aboriginal Day is a fairly new holiday here is Canada.

Most Native communities have always celebrated the Summer Solstice according to their cultures and people living in the big cities drive home to the reservation for the day, much as other Canadians would do for Thanksgiving day.

So this day was essentially selected by the Government to pay long over-due tribute to the First Nations.

Here is a little more about it all came together:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Aboriginal_Day

and

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/canada/national-aboriginal-day

http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100013712/1100100013713

Sadly there is little funding in the communities for putting an event and so we all organize things on aolunteer basis.

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I  am planing to set up a cultural display for our 2 Host Nations, the Anishinaabe  ( = the Ojibwa)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anishinaabe

and the Kanien’keha’:ka  (= the  Mohawk)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohawk_people

After the prayers at Noon I will have the Teaching Tent open for cultural teachings:            

– – Smudging:

       Making Prayers with sacred herbs
    = learn about smudging and  participate in a smudging ceremony   
               
— Our Host Nations the Anishinaabe and the Mohawk:
            a look at 2 distinct cultures –   

– – Buffalo teachings  –

– – Frame Drum circle 🙂

    I will bring the large Pow Wow Drum and extra  drums

– – sometime later …..

  after I catch my breath……
   Question period!!????

= What would you like to know..?

—-Closing prayers

A shaman drums……..

To me my work with drums and drumming, is an inseparable aspect of being Shaman —

My people call a person that does the things I do a “Kham”, leading Khamlanies = healing and other rituals. Udega is another similar word but it rather describes a person working with herbs and potions.

Someone who uses drums and chants , who has one or more Spirit Guides, mostly in animal form that he or she contacts while drumming in order to find out what is wrong with a client is called a Kham. The word this culture uses is Shaman, also a Siberian word, Tunguse to be precise and descriptive for someone entering ecstatic trance.

In this culture I claim this word as a befitting description for me because it points not only towards what I do but also to my Siberian heritage and distances me from the also often used term “Medicine Woman” that implies Native American heritage and incidentally would be analogues to the word Udega among my people.

Shaman however is not what I do, it is what I am. It permeates every aspect of my daily life, my art, the way I teach at elementary and university level, the way I mentor my private students, and how I conduct public multicultural gatherings and rituals.

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The musical aspect of my practice as a shaman involves drums and drumming as well as chants, traditional ones and others received in trance states and by extension movement and dance.

To me drumming in itself has different aspects that all fit onto a fluid continuum from light-hearted fun all the way to deep states of conflict resolution and healing.

Describing this continuum in more detail I want to first mention community based events that I facilitate and supply a multitude of drums and percussion instruments for:

There is the Bracebridge Drum Circle that gathers every Tuesday evening and provides everyday fun, good for you drumming. People come to jam together and also practice culture specific rhythms from around the world.

Next is the Frame Drum Circle, called “The Healing Drum” It is centred around spirituality and personal growth and I teach the use of the drum as a tool for relaxation and meditation, anger management and conflict resolution and -on occasion- I facilitate cathargic psychological ab-reactions for participants and lead them into profound healing states.

Even further along the continuum is my use of drums in shamanic healings. When I either drum with or for an individual client order to put him/ her and me into trance, so I can “see” into the body/soul to find an illness or dis-ease.

The last on the continuum is me alone, drumming and chanting, most every night to initiate and maintain altered states of consciousness and thereby see/find out about concerns I have for self and others. That is also where I receive most of my chants and where rituals are “born” as finished entities, ready to be used with the community and where the concept of much of my artwork comes from…..

Looking Back Woman

One of my most important companions is my drum.

Nice sentence !

– But which one?

I have over 60 drums, many of them handmade by me.

I use them for school visits and public teaching events, on Pow Wows and multicultural gatherings, for the people to use, to learn about drumming and the Power of the heartbeat of Mother Earth, so they all can meet and feel the voice of our common Soul.

There however are a few drums, that are “special” 🙂

Let me introduce you to one of them:

My Llooking Back Woman drum”.
The woman on it is looking back at where she came from.
What she has experienced
What she has survived
All the good stuff
And all the bad.
But she is moving forward.
towards the tree of Life that grows on Mother Turtle –
(seen as the living animate World by our Native People)
There are many Spirits in the air, surrounding the woman.
She is not alone.
There are buds on the Tree
for new Beginnings
like a Spiral of Life the sap/ Energy is rising up the Tree
To bring forth the New in the Woman’s life.

This is a healing Drum for women.
Only women may ever play it.
I am watching out for that.

Sometimes, this drum appears in the dreams of people I work with or mentor .

To help them move
FORWARD!