The Indigenous Cultural Heritage Micro-Grant (ICHMG) funds a variety of projects that support the performance, preservation or sharing of Indigenous heritage. ICHMG is now accepting applications for the Fall 2021 intake!
At the beginning of 2021, Jessica Sault was looking for a safe way to continue the Victoria-based women’s drum group A.N.S.W.E.R. (All Nations Strong Women for Education and Resurgence), while dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 protocols. Before the restrictions, A.N.S.W.E.R. would gather in person on a weekly basis with Kukum, the grandmother drum.
“During the pandemic, we couldn’t sit together on Kukum and most of the women didn’t have hand drums,” said Jessica. “FPCC’s Cultural Heritage Micro-Grant looked like a good fit, so I applied to start a virtual hand drum-making workshop.”
Jessica, who is Tseshaht from the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, organized the three-day workshop that took place over Zoom, which was led by Sarah Rhude, who is Mi’kmaq. In preparation for the workshop, the pair participated in ceremony, prayers and ʔuʔuʔiih (gathered, collected) medicine and supplies such as wooden hoops and ʕaatuš (deer) hide, while following traditional and COVID-19 protocols.
The ʕaatuš (deer) hide was soaked with raspberries grown in Sarah’s medicine garden. All materials were smudged, put into plastic bags and the final kits were left on the porch for each woman to pick up individually and safely.
“So really there was no contact what-so-ever,” said Jessica. “They (the łuucsma/women) felt comfortable doing it this way.”
With all needed materials, the group met over Zoom to create their hand drums. Every session was started with a territorial acknowledgment, introductory circle, smudging of the materials at the same time, prayers and thanks.
In total, five hand t’iickins (drums) were created. With support from the Indigenous Cultural Heritage Micro-Grant, A.N.S.W.E.R. was able to continue their women’s drum circle during the pandemic and Nunuukmaʔał (they sing) every week.
“A huge, unexpected benefit was that we learned we can bring in spirituality over Zoom and the participants did ‘connect’ to cultural teachings,” said Jessica. “They (FPCC) gave me full support and the result was A.N.S.W.E.R. continued ceremony, singing and practicing. I grew up with the old teachings of my mother and all the old ladies and my grandmother. When things are put in the way, we find a way to continue, to find a solution.”
Nuučaan̓uł (Nuu-chah-nulth) words provided by the Nuu-chah-nulth FirstVoices webpage.
The Indigenous Cultural Heritage Micro-Grant is now accepting applications from organizations. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2021.
FPCC Heritage Program staff are hosting an online information session on the Indigenous Cultural Heritage Micro-Grants on August 5th from 10:30-11:30am. To register, please send an email to email@example.com
For more information, guidelines and how to apply, click here.
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