Some young Indigenous women in Calgary are getting a nice boost to help their efforts to preserve their traditions. It comes at an important time, as they set out to drum up support.
Members of an all-female drumming group run by the Stardale Women’s Group are celebrating after being awarded a $20,000 grant to go towards producing a documentary on the group.
“We are super grateful and really excited about it,” 17-year-old drummer Jenna Jebb said. “This drum group is so empowering.”
Stardale runs programs to support Indigenous women and girls, with the drumming group being an important part of it.
“As the girls say ‘the drum is my medicine,'” Stardale executive director Helen McPhaden said. “It is a cultural revival.”
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The young drummers will perform on Friday Sept. 30 at Grace Presbyterian Church in Calgary at an event marking Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“I like that we get to express how we feel with the drumming,” 13-year-old drummer Kaydence Letendre said. “Because of the residential schools we lost our culture and so we never got taught those traditions.”
Members of the group are hoping the documentary will further support their work of sharing their culture.
“It helps us to teach about our traditions, throughout our lives, to our children and grandchildren — so we can heal others with it” Letendre said.
“It’s really important because a lot of youth today are directly affected by residential schools through intergenerational trauma and just not being very connected with their culture,” Jebb said. “We can show, for girls that are younger than me that it’s OK to be Indigenous, it’s OK to embrace your culture, it’s OK to be proud of it.”