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

Fraser Health registered nurse Kai Kayibadi draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. To reduce long lines and wait times the first 1,000 Surrey residents to arrive at the neighbourhood clinic on both Monday and Tuesday will receive wristbands and a same-day appointment. The effort is in addition to the provincial vaccination plan which is now open for bookings to anyone who is 18 years and older. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
69 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Interior Health

The province, in total, recorded 411 new cases showing a downtrend of new infections

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue volunteers attack a hillside fire from top to bottom Tuesday, May 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brushfire erupts at rural West Kootenay home

No one was hurt in the fire, according to Grand Forks/Fire Rescue

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue volunteers doused a hillside fire late Monday night, May 17. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks Fire/Rescue puts out hillside fire

No one was injured after a campfire got out of control below Columbia Drive

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Most Read