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The Drum

The Drum is traditionally used to call people together for a ceremony, a council, dance, story telling or other type of gathering or function. The drum and its songs are taken very seriously. There are so many different songs, and they all have a different meaning. Some of the songs are fun songs, some are serious honor songs, and many other songs are for events like a hunt, a harvest, a death, a friendship, a treaty, the wind, the earth and there are so many more. Too many to list completely. There are well over 550 different Native Cultures in what we call Native North America. In each culture there are different songs for different events in ones lifetime. The drum is a gift from the Great Spirit the Creator, to our people. It is the essence and the heartbeat of our souls, and our lives. It is also considered to be the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

The drum is a very integral part of Native American history, and culture. With so many different Tribes, scattered from Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada to Florida, over to California and parts of the Gulf of Mexico, to Alaska and the Bering Sea, there is naturally a great diversity in the crafts, tribal ways, dances and songs.

The drum is usually made from the skin of a deer, bear, caribou, elk, or buffalo hide. The hide is then stretched over a usually hollow frame of wood and tied with either sinew or part of the skins edging that was cut into continuous strips. The skin was soaked until flaccid, then once strung onto the frame it was dried and tightened.. If the drum goes flat as most hide drums do on humid or rainy days then the drums were heated by the fire to tighten the skins.

Traditional Native North American Families

In many Native American traditions the "family" is the center of the community, the meeting place of all of a persons family, friends, elders, and relationships. The band of family, friends, and elders is: home, school and provider for children, offering different role models, much affection, and love. In many traditions the woman's name is used in the family, and mostly many women have great power in the Native American society. When a man wanted to marry a woman the man went to the woman's father and asked for her hand in marriage.

In the Plains and northwest societies a marriage was not complete until the man presented a gift to the parents of the woman he had wished to marry. That was not a form of buying the woman from her parents, but it was an acknowledgement that the parents would be losing a daughter, her talents, services, the parents should be compensated for the time and effort it took in raising her, and for their loss of a valued family member.

When they were finally wed, in many traditions and instances the male took the woman's family name and then, usually moved into the woman's home with her family's clan or band. Marriage was the beginning of a new family unit. it also formed alliances between families. And always NO one could marry anyone male or female in their own clan.

Ownership of provisions is held in common and all share the same fate during times of abundance, and of scarcity. Living well means sharing: Striking a balance between self fulfillment and meeting the demands of relationships with other people, and all of creation. Moral virtues is the ethical conduct for relationships, and they are derived from the laws of nature and strengthened by discipline of the body, mind and spirit.

Ideally children are treated kindly and are seen as a source of wisdom, not just as young ones needing to be taught. Adults lead by example of good character, providing the basis for social harmony within the tribe. When children go astray, they are led back by the use of appropriate lessons, stories teasing and mostly gentle persuasion. Physical punishment in most Native American tribes is not, and was not used traditionally; striking a child is believed to be wrong, because it is believed it will break the child's spirit. Mistakes are considered a part of the learning process.

Although there were some formalized political and religious offices with limited authority, on the whole, Native American societies were basically egalitarian, (holding the view that all their people {especially the men} have equal social and political rights). Few positions were hereditary, and many leaders were chosen on the basis of personal qualities and individual merit.


Information From Mike Sack of the Indian Brook Reservation.

The Mi'kmaq colors are white black yellow and red.

And the center of the mandella is a Star, they are a Mi'kmaq Symbol.

The name Mi'kmaq derives from the term nikmaq, a word in the Native Language which means, "My kin friends", or, in the sense of it's use as a greeting in the 1600's, "My Brothers".

The more accurate spelling and pronunciation of the name is Mi'kmaq, which is the First Nations true name. The singular form of the word is Mi'kmaw. You will still see in many older publications and titles the name Mic Mac, or Micmac. The name nikmaq was anglicized to Mikmak, Mickmack, Mick Mack, Micmac, Mic Mac, and any other possible combinations.

The increased use of this name, Mi'kmaq, which is the plural non-possessive form derived from the word nikmaq, still generates a number of errors.

It should NOT be written as:

Mi'Kmaq (the K is not to be capitalized)

Mi'qmak (K and Q reversed)

Mik'Maq (this word is not two words, but one. And the second M should not be capitalized)

Mic Mac (this probably is the most common spelling, but again this is not two words but one)

Migmag (G instead of Q and K)

The French Lawyer Marc Lescarbot, visiting what is now Nova Scotia in AD 1606, reported that the First Nations peoples there had taught a greeting, which was nikmaq, which means my kin- friends to the French and Basque fishermen and explorers who were beginning to come over from Europe each summer season. So the French would greet the First Nation peoples here by saying, "Nikmaq!" or "My brothers!" as they themselves had been greeted.

In letters to France, they referred to the First Nations people here as "Notres nikmaqs" or "Our Brothers" [Literally translated "Our my-brothers"], adding an unnecessary "S" on the end of an already plural form. This began the tradition of what came to be regarded as the "Tribal" name.

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