“So empowering”: All-female Indigenous drumming group gets new support – Calgary

Some young Aboriginal women in Calgary are getting a big boost to help them in their efforts to preserve their traditions. This comes at an important time, as they set out to rally support.

Members of an all-female drumming group led by the Stardale Women’s Group celebrate after receiving a $20,000 grant to produce a documentary about the group.

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« We’re very grateful and really excited about this, » said 17-year-old drummer Jenna Jebb. « This drum group is so empowering. »

Stardale runs programs to support Indigenous women and girls, with the drumming group being an important part of this.

« As the girls say ‘drumming is my medicine,' » Stardale executive director Helen McPhaden said. « It’s a cultural revival. »

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The young drummers will perform on Friday, September 30 at Grace Presbyterian Church in Calgary in an event marking Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

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Calgary events share Indigenous culture, promote healing and reconciliation

« I love that we can express how we feel with the drums, » said 13-year-old drummer Kaydence Letendre. “Because of residential schools, we lost our culture, so we never learned those traditions.

The group members hope the documentary will further support their work of sharing their culture.

“It helps us teach our traditions, throughout our lives, to our children and grandchildren — so we can heal others with it,” Letendre said.

« It’s really important because a lot of young people today are directly impacted by residential schools through intergenerational trauma and just aren’t very connected to their culture, » Jebb said. “We can show girls younger than me that it’s okay to be indigenous, it’s okay to embrace your culture, it’s okay to be proud of it.

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