First Nations take on drumming, singing to thank front-line workers, connect community - InfoNews

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First Nations take on drumming, singing to thank front-line workers, connect community

FILE PHOTO
March 31, 2020 - 6:30 PM

While you’ve likely seen the videos of people in Italy signing and making music from their balconies during the COVID-19 quarantine, the scene sounds a little different in some First Nation communities in North America.

Nikki Fraser and her great-aunt Dianne Morgan Fraser were treated to the sounds of drumming and singing from their neighbours near Kamloopa Road on the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc reserve.

Morgan has been mostly staying inside during the pandemic to protect her health and that of others. When she heard the drumming, she knew she wanted to share the experience.

“I heard the drumming in my own house, and I didn’t even have any windows or doors open,” Morgan says. “I knocked on Nikki’s door and I said, ‘Do you hear the drumming?’ She said, ‘Yes, I do.’ I said, ‘That’s such beautiful medicine to hear that, the drumming and the singing.’”

The two enjoyed a cup of tea and listened to the music for about half an hour. Nikki, who has has been isolated with two young children, says it was uplifting to hear her neighbours coming together in that way. She suspected there was around five or six people drumming, and about three people singing.

Credit: SUBMITTED / Nikki Fraser

“We're a pretty tight knit community in this neighbourhood… there has been a social media callout about how people drum at the same time, so I believe that’s one of the reasons why they were drumming,” Nikki says. “There has been a callout for people to go out on their deck or their porch around 7 at night to go and sing so a lot of people have been doing that.”

Nikki believes the music was done as a part of a North American initiative called the 8000 Drum Prophecy, which encourages First Nations individuals to create music together to create connection and offer gratitude.

“It’s like an echo or a reflection of what was happening in Italy when they first started singing on the porch and staying connected. I feel like we’re doing a similar thing with the 8000 Drum Prophecy,” Nikki says. “I believe it’s a collective of both honouring our frontline workers and also breeding community connection during this time.”

For Morgan, it was a powerful moment to thank the front-line workers and connect the community.

“It was really heartfelt that we can hear this in our community and the drummers are sharing their love and gratitude for all the people who are on the front lines,” Morgan says. “Those were powerful prayers and songs that they were singing.”

Credit: SUBMITTED / Nikki Fraser

Another individual got in on the drumming last night. Justin Young, who recently shaved off his eyebrows to help him stay isolated, captured footage of the drumming.

"We wanted to be about praying and sending out good to all," Young says.

Credit: FACEBOOK / Justin Young

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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