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Children's drum and song teachings mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Renfrew County

At the Waba Cottage and Museum in White Lake, Jessica Tapp and her family of five marked this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a music lesson.

"Oh we love drumming," said Tapp. "We have lots of fun with the drumming and the singing and the community, bringing people together."

Indigenous educators from BIAK Early On hosted a drum and song ceremony Saturday with the goal of educating about Indigenous culture before diving in directly on the tragedy of the residential school system.

"I find people are very hesitant to want to actually talk about the residential school part itself," explained Jessica Levesque, a childhood educator with BIAK Early On and a Pikwakanagan First Nation member.

"But they don't know the difference between reconciling if they don't know what they're reconciling for."

Saturday's ceremony was geared towards children and young families, offering a different approach to a difficult subject.

"Because our audience is mostly younger children, we try to show them what was taken from us so that they could see and enjoy it instead of focusing on the stories of the survivors," added Levesque.

"The families that are non-Indigenous are really interested in hearing about our stories and our lives previously, and what the drumming means to us," said Nancy Ward, also with BIAK Early On, and of Bonnechere Algonquin First Nation.

The ceremony included education on individual songs, as well as the drums, what they represent, when which drum is played, the hide the drum was made from, and the images depicted on the hides.

Nancy Ward leading a drum circle. (Dylan Dyson/CTV News Ottawa)

"They represent Mother Earth and when we play them, they are Mother Earth's heartbeat," says Levesque.

"We teach them all the different beats like the single beat, the double beat, the triple beat."

"As Canadians we celebrate cultures, and in general we are accepting of all cultures but I find that we have sort of forgotten the Indigenous culture," said Arnprior resident Amber Kennedy, who is of Métis background and in attendance with her family.

"It's nice to be immersed in a little bit of the Indigenous culture because I didn't get that growing up unfortunately."

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