Freda’s Drum

Freda McDonald, Elder - (North, White):

An elder presented me with my drum in 1985.

In one of our sacred circles in 1993, we suggested drums to sing with to add to our spiritual healing.  The concept being to sing in our own language.  At that time, only 2 drums were available. 

Many of the women had lost the use of their mother tongue, so Josephine Mandamin and myself began sharing the native songs we knew.  When word got out we were drumming, other drums appeared.  Several women began learning to make their own drums to join us.  The drumming fluctuated from many to very few, but with perserverance the drum sessions evolved in forming the Strong Women drum group (Mush-kow-zee E-kwe-wak) as named by Beatrice Twance-Hynes.

Being fluent in the language, I began writing the songs phonetically for proper pronounciation and translating the words for the women’s understanding of what they are singing.

We learn from each other the songs from our families; and a few of the women have composed their own songs. We learn from tapes and CD’s, sweat lodges, pow-wows, etc.