BY ISABELLA BOURQUE
The Aboriginal Students’ Office (ASO) held their monthly drum circle Nov. 22 which was led by Michael Fraser of Cold Lake First Nation. The participants watched a film about the Blackfoot Sundance and honouring culture. We then played a few songs and drummed our end of term stresses away (temporarily, at least).
I asked Abby Lee, a frequent drummer who attends ASO drum circle, on why she likes to drum.
“It’s my meditation … I don’t know, it calms me,” she said, adding that her favourite song is The Charging Buffalo Song and “is [her] power song.” (BTW – the Charging Buffalo song is killer! Super intense and fun to do).
A lot of the students who participate in our drum circle got to make their own drums from the drum making workshop that the ASO puts on every year (also led by Fraser). For many of our students, in addition to connecting with culture, drumming is a chance to get away from the stress of classes. Believe it or not, pounding on our drums and singing along is very soothing and empowering.
On Nov. 27, the ASO held a beading session in the forum for Wellness Week. It was a lot of people’s first time beading – which is super exciting!
Students at this session made earrings, key chains, and bracelets. Elder Myrna also shared stories and teachings while showing newcomers how to bead.
We had a few newcomers this beading session, like Alex Ho. I asked Ho how his first beading experience was and he replied by saying, “It was such an amazing experience! It was really therapeutic and helped with my mental health.”
When asked if he would continue beading or participating in other ASO events, he assured me that he will indeed continue on his beading endeavors and is very excited to participate in other creative Indigenous activities.
Following the beading session, we had our ASO community meal and another beading activity for the Indigenous students in the ASO (if you can’t tell, we love beading). Tacos in a bag was our community meal (…mmm) and we learned to bead popsockets!
Aurora Tupechka, also a first time beader, set out on the adventurous task of beading a popsocket for her phone as her very first project. Tupechka also said that her first time beading was, “extremely therapeutic” and she said, “I enjoyed that we could do it together – it was a nice community activity. It made us come together in the ASO.” Moral of the story: drumming and beading are really good stress relievers!
We were also joined by alumni, Gavin Wilkes, who shared with us what he is doing now that he has graduated. It was really nice to catch up with him! It is always so exciting when former students visit (Psst. It was Wilkes’s first time beading too!).