Culture Blog

Growing Together through Art

Growing Together through Art

Jan 25, 2023
Category: General 

By Clayton Gauthier

Drums are used in many ways. They’re used in ceremonies, gatherings, potlatches, and for healing. Every drum holds its own vibration and its own unique energy, as each has its own spirit and healing properties.

The drum is a representation of Mother Earth’s heartbeat. When we are born, the first thing we hear is our mother’s heartbeat, and subconsciously when we hear the drums we make those connections. By reconnecting with the sound, we can come together to create beautiful things in the world -- like melodies, songs, chants and dances. Our relationships with drums must be intimate and sacred as our thoughts and intentions with every song can make up our reality.  

I recently had the privilege to join the Walk Tall group in Prince George to facilitate an art workshop with youths in the program. I got invited to come to guide the groups in designing what art they wanted on their drums.  The type of art we chose to be included on our drums definitely had deeper meanings. For example, many of the youths put their clan symbols on the drums, while some were painting the drums to give to people important in their lives.

Animal imagery is often used to share family, clan, and personal stories, and is significant in most Indigenous cultures. Animals get up every day and instinctively know what they have to do. They understand their relationship with Mother Earth and navigate that trust through different seasons. I wanted to show the youth that every drum, art and symbol has its own story; and sometimes these stories are not spoken but are felt. 

When we see different art forms or if certain animals cross our path, we’re actually being spoken to. It is their trust in the creator that makes them such exemplary role models for humans and communities to follow.

The drum that I brought to the group had an eagle on it; I painted an eagle because at the time in my life I was going through some significant changes and growth. Eagles bring light, love, and new beginnings. When eagles find a mate, they mate for life, and those were the exact qualities that I needed to navigate through those changes.

It fills my heart to think that I can be able to help others see things in a different perspective, but I also remind myself that people are only going to hear what they want to hear, or what they need to hear in that moment. So, I am really mindful of what I share with each group, and we prioritize going the flow of things. The youths also teach me a lot, and every day is a new opportunity to be learn from them—and being open to do is crucial. 



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Last modified: Wednesday 03-Apr-24 12:36:28 PDT