St. Joseph School Grade 2 student Zoey Kenny watches as Christopher Yates shows her how to string a new drum using hide from his own cows. Photo: Tyler Harper

St. Joseph School Grade 2 student Zoey Kenny watches as Christopher Yates shows her how to string a new drum using hide from his own cows. Photo: Tyler Harper

VIDEO: With good intentions, Nelson school builds Métis drum

The St. Joseph School project is directed by parent Christopher Yates

One by one, the students approached the drum and gingerly took hold on a string of soft cow hide.

Before fitting the string through a small hole, Christopher Yates asked the students to think of something positive. A memory, perhaps, or something they enjoy doing. Whatever made them feel good inside. Only then should they add their contribution to St. Joseph School’s new drum.

“Every time this drum is played, it will have each of the children’s good intentions in it, and it’s going to sing for the children with their own intent,” said Yates. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

Yates, who has four children attending the school, had previously taught drum making and spoke with staff about Métis teachings. But working on individual drums with students, he found, took too much time.

Instead he decided on a bigger project that would include every student. Yates used his own cows from his Vallican farm for the drum’s batter head, as well as for the hides students would use to make their own sticks. Cedar for the drum’s shell meanwhile was donated by the West Kootenay Métis Society.

St. Joseph principal Michael Carere said the drum’s construction adds to the school’s 124-year history while also prioritizing Indigenous knowledge. “Passing that along to the students,” he said, “and the legacy will continue through this drum.”

On Friday, Yates had students from each class help string the drum in St. Joseph’s gymnasium. They held the long hide string and gave it a little tug at the end to make the drum taut.

When the drum is ready, the school will hold an awakening ceremony for it with students using their own drums and sticks.

“It’s an opportunity for them to have something that they physically touch,” said Yates. “They made this drum. They put their good intentions into it, and I wanted them to have something that they could come back and see after they’re out of the school.

“This drum will still be here, and it’ll still be being played 10, 20, 30 years from now.”

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

EducationIndigenous reconcilliation

 

Christopher Yates speaks to St. Joseph School students about the importance of the drum, and how it will be made. Photo: Tyler Harper

Christopher Yates speaks to St. Joseph School students about the importance of the drum, and how it will be made. Photo: Tyler Harper

L-R: Christopher Yates, Father Neil Lustado, West Kootenay Métis Society president Don Courson and St. Joseph School principal Michael Carere standing in front of the school’s new drum. Photo: Tyler Harper

L-R: Christopher Yates, Father Neil Lustado, West Kootenay Métis Society president Don Courson and St. Joseph School principal Michael Carere standing in front of the school’s new drum. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

File photo
Paramedic training returning to Castlegar

Emergency Medical Responder and Primary Care Paramedic training to take place in Castlegar

Emerson Potter, a Grade 3 student at Blewett Elementary, advocated for changes to help him use his wheelchair on the school grounds. He’s seen here with his parents Lindsay Thompson and Keith Potter, and Blewett principal Tim Mushumanski (right). Photo: Tyler Harper
‘Pretty awesome’: Nelson-area student advocates for school to improve outdoor accessibility

Emerson Potter, who lives with cerebral palsy, had trouble moving around Blewett Elementary’s grounds

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

People will be strapping on the inline skates in Castlegar this summer. Photo: Jennifer Small
Castlegar Skating Club offers new summer inline program

New program will let ice skaters continue their training through the summer

Portions of the Skattebo Reach Trail are being improved. Photo: Betsy Kline
Skattebo Reach Trail near Castlegar to become cycle friendly

Trail improvements geared towards cyclists being done in 2021

From the left: Laura Greaves, Kyle Whyte and Steve Bigelow rescued a poisoned eagle Sunday, May 9. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
West Kootenay residents, Conservation Service Officer save poisoned eagle

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardner finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Most Read