One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain
— Bob Marley

Drumming has been an integral part of Indigenous cultures since time immemorial. In many traditions, Indigenous women used a hand drum to sing lullabies to their babies to help the baby connect with her and to their culture. The drumbeat also represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth.  Energy travels through the vibrations of a drum, re-aligning with our bodies natural rhythms and we connect to our mother’s heart beat again - nourishing our body, mind and soul.

'First Nations Love' Drum Painting by Chippewar (photo used with permission from the artist)

'First Nations Love' Drum Painting by Chippewar (photo used with permission from the artist)

BUILDING STRENGTH - WOMEN'S COMMUNITY HAND DRUM GROUP

We invite women to join our upcoming Women's Hand-Drum group that is in harmony with the New and Full moon cycles of 2016. We will smudge, sing, drum, make offerings, learn teachings, eat, laugh, and share our languages and stories. These gatherings are a time to be thankful for what we have and and ask for whatever healing we might need collectively and personally. Indigenous Community leaders will be invited to share teachings and songs with our group. Come celebrate being strong women with us!

1st Circle begins on February 22nd, 2016 for the Full Moon - bring a drum or an instrument, a long skirt and some food to share at the First People's House at McGill University.

 

MOON TIMES AT A GLANCE

1ST DRUM CIRCLE: FULL MOON GATHERING FEB. 22ND, 2016 5-7PM WITH JEAN STEVENSON

2ND DRUM CIRCLE: NEW MOON GATHERING MAR. 8TH, 2016 5-7 PM WITH TBD

3RD DRUM CIRCLE: FULL MOON GATHERING MAR. 23RD, 2016 5-7PM  WITH MOE CLARK

4TH DRUM CIRCLE: NEW MOON GATHERING APR. 7TH, 2016 5-7PM WITH LAUREN MCCOMBER

5TH DRUM CIRCLE: FULL MOON GATHERING APR. 22ND 5-7PM WITH VICKY BOLDO

6TH DRUM CIRCLE: NEW MOON GATHERING AND CEREMONY MAY 6TH 5-7PM WITH ODAYA - KIM PICARD, ÉMILIE MONNET, NAHKA BERTRAND AND ANIK SIOUI + COLLABORATOR: DAYNA DANGER


ETHEL JEAN STEVENSON

Facilitating the Full Moon Circle on February 22nd, 2016. Song: Strong Women Song

Jean is Muskego Cree, a band member of the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. Jean is a proud wife, mother and grandmother with 2 children and 4 grandchildren. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from McGill University and works with her husband, Delbert Sampson to share Cultural and Spiritual teachings. Since 1992, they have been conducting traditional Native Ceremonies for urban Indigenous people. They provide spiritual guidance for Aboriginal inmates in the correctional system. They also facilitate different Ceremonies and give Pow Wow dancing demonstrations at various events in Canada. Jean and Delbert share a love for traditional dancing and ceremonies for well-being. They are committed to living a spiritual way of life and sharing their knowledge with others. 


MOE CLARK 

Facilitating the Full Moon Gathering on March 23rd, 2016. Song - The Four Kohkoms: Grandmother Water 

Métis multidisciplinary artist Moe Clark is a nomadic songbird with wings woven from circle singing and spoken word. Mistress of the looping pedal, she creates sonic landscapes of layered voice. She facilitates creative workshops in communities with a basis for deepening embodiment and awareness with personal and collective expression. Her work as an artistic producer stems from her desire to find intersections for collaborations: intercultural, intergenerational and interdisciplinary in nature.

Moe has two albums of words and music: Circle of She: Story Song (2008), Within (September 2014) and a bilingual book of poetry Fire & Sage / De sauge et de feu (Maelström Press in 2013). Most recently she co-directed Transcestral; a musical exchange between indigenous pow wow and Gnawa trance music (First Peoples Festival 2015). She directed the 10th Annual Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Montreal, highlighting Indigenous languages and co-created Bird Messengers (2011) performance with Émilie Monnet (Algonquin, French). In the Cree language songwriting project Back to Where My Heart Belongs (2013) with Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Métis, Cree) and Joseph Naytowhow (Cree), the song nîtahkôtan won best music video at ImagiNative Film Festival (2015).


LAUREN MCCOMBER

Facilitating the New Moon Gathering on April 7th, 2016. Song - Grandmother Moon and Men's Honour Song. Theme - Honouring the Universal Male Energy.

Lauren Karonhiarónkwas McComber is a Kanienkehá:ka women of the Bear from Kahnawà:ke. Lauren has been walking the Red Road since February 2014 and she is the Founder and Facilitator of the Kahnawà:ke women's group Carrying Our Roots to Empowerment (CORE) that aims to empower Kanien'kehá:ka women by allowing them to explore their past, present, and future identity through culturally based workshops and presentations. Lauren is currently studying social work at the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI), where she has learned all of her drum songs, and doing a work placement at Kahnawà:ke Shakotiia'takehnhas Community Services (KSCS) in the Addictions Response Services (ARS) department. 


VICKY BOLDO

Facilitating the Full Moon Circle on April 22nd, 2016. Song - Wildflower

Vicky singing a closing song at the Cedar Rose Retreat in 2014 (Cedar and Gold)

Vicky singing a closing song at the Cedar Rose Retreat in 2014 (Cedar and Gold)

Vicky Boldo, kisēwātisiwīn:thōtin:iskwew born in British Columbia is a transracial adoptee from the ‘60’s Scoop Era – although she was placed for adoption at birth she is a strong ally to the survivors of this time. Vicky is of Cree/Métis heritage. She is the mother of 4 and grandmother of 3.

The healing journey that Vicky has been on for over 25 years has brought her to a place of strength and compassion. Her joy in living is matched by her desire to give back to the community. Vicky is a coordinator in women’s health with the MUHC, she is a registered energy medicine practitioner (ANQ), presents workshops on personal boundaries, interpersonal relationships and on learning to know the “vibrational self”. Most recently she has begun to give lectures regularly to students and social service providers in order to bring cultural awareness on the issues of transracial adoption. 


ODAYA

Facilitating the New Moon Circle on May 6th, 2016. Song - TBD

Dayna Danger, Emilie Monnet, Nahka Bertrand and Anik Sioui

Dayna Danger, Emilie Monnet, Nahka Bertrand and Anik Sioui

Odaya… C’est un groupe de jeunes femmes autochtones dynamiques, engagées et créatives. Nous puisons notre force à travers l’héritage de nos aînées tout en souhaitant inspirer la jeunesse autochtone et créer des ponts entre les différents peuples. Une des particularités nous rendant unique est que chacune des membres du groupe appartient à une nation différente : Kim est Innue, Émilie est Anishnabe, Lisa est Sauteault/Anishnabe, Anik est Wendat/Anishnabe et Nahka est Dene. Une volonté de mieux connaître nos cultures, nos chants, notre rapport au tambour et de recevoir des enseignements traditionnels animait chacune d’entre nous. Également, le désir de contribuer positivement à la communauté autochtone, de faire connaître la richesse et la beauté des Premières nations à travers l’expression artistique et de créer un espace pour dénoncer les injustices et exprimer notre vision était un moteur commun qui nous animait. Demeurant toutes dans la région de Montréal, nous rêvions d’un lieu où nous pourrions nous retrouver en tant que femmes autochtones et échanger sur nos préoccupations, nos cultures, nos vécus, nos espoirs et nos rêves. Avec la naissance d’Odaya est également né un précieux sens de communauté et d’appartenance. Nous sommes fières de notre identité et de notre héritage culturel. C’est pour cette raison que nous souhaitons le partager et le faire rayonner autour de nous.

Odaya est née au mois de janvier 2007. Quelque temps plus tard, nous nous sommes enregistrées comme organisme à but non lucratif avec la vision de créer et d'appuyer divers projets qui visent l'amélioration des conditions de vie des Autochtones, que ce soit dans la région de Montréal ou ailleurs. Étant animées par des valeurs de partage et de compassion, nous avons décidé de façon consensuelle que la totalité de nos profits serait réinvestie dans la communauté.


GRATITUDE

We are grateful for the support and dedication from Ms. Paige Isaac (Mi'kmaq), the Coordinator of the First People's House of McGill University, who will be providing the space and resources to make this community event possible for Indigenous students, staff, alumni and community members at McGill University as well as the Urban Indigenous community in Montreal. Thank You Paige! Thank you to all of the facilitators who are coming together to uplift and empower us women. 

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