This year 16 youth gathered. Youth were First Nations (Mississauga, Cree, and Mohawk) and “settler” youth. We were hosted by Shelley Knott Fife and Jaime at their home in Curve Lake. Youth and leaders set up a small tent city at the back of the property. The front yard was reserved for drum making, circle time, camp fires, teachings, eating, and building relationships.
Thanks to Gifts with Vision this program was financially viable. Gifts enabled each youth and leader to make a drum, a lasting memory and experience for each of the participants.
Youth spent three days drum making, swimming and canoeing, and visiting the petroglyphs, which are sacred grounds for the peoples of Curve Lake. There were teachings on the four medicines, the sacred fire, and the birthing of the drums, as well as learning about the 30th anniversary of the Apology to First Nations people from The United Church of Canada.
Mary Taylor, from Curve Lake, and Janet McCue, from Peterborough, led us in the process of making and giving birth to our drums. While making our drums and drum sticks, Mary and Janet shared stories of the importance of the drum to Native spirituality, on how to nurture our drum “babies,” singing songs from their traditions, and sharing the tradition of always giving your first drum away. We were taught the dream catcher pattern of lacing our drums.
Many guests shared these three days with us, and we are grateful for their support and presence, reminding us that we are never alone.
Miigwetch, kinana’skomitina’wa’w, nia:wen, and thank you!
—Bay of Quinte Conference, Ontario