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Drum circle planned for National Indigenous Peoples Day in Prince George

The event will take place at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park
residential school gathering may 29 13
Citizen Photo by James Doyle/Local Journalism Initiative. Wesley Mitchell shakes a rattle with a young drummer at Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park during a gathering in remembrance of the 215 children whose remains were found on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops.

An open drum circle will take place at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.

‘This is an open circle and open gathering,” says Wesley Mitchell, of the UHNBC Drum Group organizing the event.  

“We are looking for people to bring their art, bring their music, their culture maybe regalia and just honour to this day.”

The UHNBC Drum Group has performed every Monday night throughout the pandemic to lift the spirits of frontline healthcare workers at the hospital.

He says the June 21 drum circle will be similar to the Monday night hospital gatherings. 

Mitchell says COVID-19 protocols will also be followed such as mask wearing, and social distancing.

Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dolleen Logan will open the event with a few words when the event begins at 11 a.m. and an Elder will speak each hour on the hour until the event closes at 3 p.m.

With the news of the 215 children found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in May affecting Indigenous peoples across Canada, Mitchell says he recognizes the significance of coming together to honour the day.

“We are going to bring in as much of the past as possible for healing but we want to bring mostly positives and bring strong culture.  Non-Indigenous peoples of all nations can also come and observe and listen to our leaders and hear the heartbeat of the drums.”

The drum circle will be open to everyone who wants to attend and observe the day.

“This is how we are going to get through this. This is a day that is to listen and to learn if you are not Indigenous and for the indigenous to stand up and show and share,” adds Mitchell.

The drum circle will take place on June 21 at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and as the event is still in the planning stages more details will be announced closer to the date.