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College's drum project to reinforce 'commitment to truth and reconciliation'

Faculty and students at Algonquin College are coming together, under the guidance of Indigenous Elders, to build ceremonial drums for each of its three campuses.
2018-03-19 Algonquin College Indigenous drum
Students and faculty at Algonquin College join Indigenous Elders to make a traditional drum, March 19, 2018. Photo/ Algonquin College

Algonquin College wants Indigenous traditions to play a bigger role in the culture at each of its campuses.

It launched a new project called 3 Drums, 3 Campuses, on Monday.

Students, faculty and members of the public visited the Mamidosewin Centre in the Student Commons at the Ottawa campus to witness the building of a large ceremonial drum, using traditional materials and craftsmanship.

They worked under the guidance of Indigenous Elders, using traditional materials and craftsmanship to make the drum.

"For many Indigenous people, the drum is the heartbeat of Mother Earth -- that's what one of our Elders shared with me," said Andre O'Bonsawin, Manager of Indigenous Initiatives for the College. "What we're trying to do with this project is embed Indigenous knowledge and cultural teachings in the College."

The project involves three drums being made for each of the College's campuses, in Perth, Pembroke and Ottawa. It is intended to reinforce the institution's commitment to Truth and Reconciliation between Canada's Indigenous people with the wider Canadian society.

O'Bonsawin said the hope is for the drums to eventually be used during important Algonquin College ceremonies, including annual convocation events.


Mike Vlasveld

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