Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION
Banging a drum, catching a dream
School in tune with aboriginal culture, learning
A group of students at Chancellor School has been busy catching dreams.
The Dream Catchers Club meets Thursday lunchtime in the Waverley Heights-based school’s library.
Led by aboriginal elder and drumming teacher Val Vint, the Grade 1 to 3 kids form a circle, pick up an instrument and sing and dance to songs rooted in the aboriginal tradition of the Seven Sacred Teachings — which include respect, courage, love, wisdom, honesty, humility and truth.
"We have fun. The circle is a great community development tool. We get to develop a community without really trying," said Vint, who had made earlier stops that day at Laidlaw School in Tuxedo and Bairdmore School in Richmond West.
"The kids work together and start recognizing each other’s needs. There are not a lot of rules in the circle, just a few basic ones," she said.
As well as learning personal skills, Vint said the circle also provides kids with positive exposure to aboriginal culture, which is "sorely needed."
A school organizer said the Dream Catchers Club is one of the initiatives of the Chancellor School Global Citizenship Team.
"The drum is the heartbeat of Mother Earth and these songs really get in your blood," said Darci Adam, the school’s counsellor and co-chair of the Global Citizenship Committee.
"Parents tell us the children sing the songs at home and they are fun and soothing for them.
Providing a very positive experience with aboriginal cultural teachings is one of the best proactive ways to address racism," added Adam, noting the school has students from approximately 38 nations of origin.
"You are learning the truth about a culture instead of the stereotypes. Children love the drumming group and are making a very positive early association with aboriginal culture," she added.
The group reaches out to students of all abilities, as the drum is a universal communication tool that allows children to speak the language of music, while also learning languages such as Cree and Ojibwa, Adam said.
Mikayla Bandusiak, 9, has benefitted both spiritually and musically from the drumming sessions.
"I’ve learned some cool songs and also how to hold the drum properly. I’ve learned not to hold the drum down, but to hold it up to drum," she said.
"I like the songs because they’re because they’re different to other songs because they’re like a different language."
Cheyenne Carson, 8, said the sessions are fun: "I’ve learned about the seven teachings and the buffalo, bear, eagle, beaver, sabe, wolf and turtle."
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