Article by Paula Laing and Fred Roland (Hwiemtun)

HERIDAN COLLEGE’S Aboriginal Initiatives Office had the distinct privilege and honour of hosting Hwiemtun (English name, Fred Roland) Knowledge Carrier from the Cowichan First Nation, British Columbia, in February of 2015. Hwiemtun shared his craft of making traditional elk hand drums with Sheridan students, staff, and faculty.

This was not ‘just’ a drum, an object to be hit to make sound. It was, and still is, a living entity. The drum was made from the hide of the elk, and its circular frame was harvested from the wood of the cedar tree. These materials were prepared for our use by Jorge Lewis. Proper thanks were given in the form of prayer and laying down tobacco to honour the gifts that were being harvested.

Excerpted from Fall/Winter 2015 Ornamentum. Click here to subscribe.

Paula Laing, Mohawk, Turtle Clan, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, is Aboriginal Initiatives Coordinator at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario.

Drum maker Fred Roland (Hwiemtun), Cowichan First Nation, may be contacted via Facebook.

Drum maker Hwiemtun [right] with Moh:ku Sayeed [left]
Photograph: Elijah Williams