On November 4th, I went down to the Wabano Centre for Aboriginals. Every Monday night they have a culture night for Ottawa's Aboriginals. I took advantage of this and went down to talk to people, and to sit in on some activities. I sat with a mother and daughter; the mother was old and had been in an accident which had left her disabled. The daughter had been taking care of the mother since the accident. She had told me that she is her mother and that she wouldn’t leave her, it was her mother who had taught her that you need to help people in need. They go to Culture Night every chance that they get to go out to talk and catch up with old friends. The free meal was a nice little cherry on top.
During the dinner, there was an astounding sense of community in the room. It reminded me of the community meals that I would attend on my reserve, Membertou. All got together, gave thanks to the creator, and ate.
After the dinner the large group broke up. The room was full; I was later told that this was the smallest crowd in months. The crowds were broken up into the usual settings. The top floor had elder teachings and crafts. The crafts made were beautiful, ranging from headdresses to beading key chains.
The men’s drum group there had been getting together every Monday to practice and just to have a good time. The group’s name was O-Town Boys, a name that they had been stuck with. I was told that the wanted it to be temporary but it just stuck. They gathered into the backroom of the building and took their seats around the moose hide drum made.
When they started, the beat of the drum seemed to be in sync with a heartbeat. The singing was as if it was being sung by twenty men, but there were only four. When asked if I wanted to join, I didn’t want another disaster like the tipi one to happen, I declined, because I haven’t drummed before.
But they were ready to accept that and let me join in anyway. To join this drum group with no experience whatsoever. It was a great feeling, but maybe when my Monday evenings empty, I’ll join.
Madison Joe is currently a student in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. Madison Joe hails from Membertou, a Mi'kmaq First Nation in Nova Scotia. He can be found playing his Playstation or roaming the streets of Ottawa completely lost.
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