Cross-country drum circle to unite Yukon, N.W.T. and provinces this weekend

·1 min read
Yukon's Dakhká Khwáan Dancers at the Adaka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse in July 2018. (Max Leighton/CBC - image credit)
Yukon's Dakhká Khwáan Dancers at the Adaka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse in July 2018. (Max Leighton/CBC - image credit)

The Yellowknives Dene Drummers and the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers out of Whitehorse are participating in a cross-country drum circle that people can attend in the N.W.T., the Yukon, and six provinces this weekend.

The event is called Drums Across Canada, and it originated from an Indigenous arts gathering in Niagara, Ont., called Celebration of Nations.

Drumming groups in eight different performing arts centres in Canada will each get 10 minutes to drum and talk about their traditions. For those who attend, it'll be a blend of virtual and in-person demonstrations — and all of it will be in real time.

The hope is that it'll foster healing, send out love and create change.

Avery Zingel/CBC
Avery Zingel/CBC

"You're standing strong when you hold the drum," said Bobby Drygeese, a member of the Yellowknives Dene Drummers. "It helps you with everything in life too. Because when you're walking out on the land you gotta breathe and make sure everything is balanced."

The event says the drumming will be organized as a call and response, travelling back and forth across Canada. Drygeese said it's the first time he's participating in an event with other drumming groups this way. "[I] just usually join them," he laughed.

The free event starts at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC) in Yellowknife at 1:30 p.m. MT on Sunday. Yukon's event is taking place at the Carcross Learning Centre in Carcross and begins at the same time (12:30 p.m. in Yukon).

Marie Corderre, the executive and artistic director of NACC, said Manitoba, Quebec, PEI, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario are all participating in the event. She said she's looking forward to seeing traditional drumming from different peoples.