In spring 2016, Stampede School participated in a special activity with a group of Grade 5 and 6 students from Belvedere-Parkway School who had been exploring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, learning about residential schools and the impact they have had on First Nations communities. Together with Nii’danamska, Brent Scout, of the Blackfoot First Nation, we made drums.
Students were given the knowledge of making drums during one of their mornings at Stampede School and they made plans to breathe life into them at the Blackfoot marker on Nose Hill. As a class, they wanted to honour and celebrate the lives of children impacted by the residential school system.
As a class, they wanted to honour and celebrate the lives of children impacted by the residential school system.
The day came to head to Nose Hill and the weather was unco-operative, so the students came to Stampede Park and we had the celebration here. Students and parent volunteers played their drums while Nii’danamska sang traditional songs. He shared with us the tradition of breathing life into the drums, which has to be done to honour and give new life to the animal who gave its hide to make the drums. He told us that the sound the drum makes represents the heartbeat of the animal living again.
Students were touched by this unique experience that allowed them to gain traditional Blackfoot knowledge and participate in an important ceremony.