An ode to native drumming


Singing group “Thunder Nation” performs native drum songs. Nov. 29 2018.

Nyla Henderson

As a way to end Native American heritage month, local Native Americans stopped by the Student Multicultural Center on Thursday to host a drum circle honoring Natives from the past, present, and future

“It is our last honoring for Native American month, the month of November,” said Cheryl Black-Robinson, member of the Chippewa tribe.

The drum circle was lead by Natives from the Cleveland and Pittsburgh areas who make up a musical group called the Thunder Nation Singers. Many songs that were sung held spiritual significance.

“On the drum is thunder nation singers,” Black-Robinson said. “As songs are being played and sung it speaks to the natives. It speaks to them in many, many ways.”

For the Natives, the drums are more than just a musical instrument. There is a central meaning held within the drums.

“The drum was a gift,” said Rob Robinson member of Athabaskan tribe. “The drum is sometimes referred to as the heartbeat of Mother Earth. Some cultures call it the voice of the creator.”

“The drum is central to so many things,” Robinson said.

During November, Native American Heritage has been celebrated through different events across campus. Some of those events included a Dream Catcher workshop, Heritage month poster unveiling, and a panel discussion around the origins of Thanksgiving.

“What this is, is to help acquaint people with some of our customs, some of our songs, and some of our dances,” Robinson said.

Along with food, dancing, and drumming, Natives allowed opportunities for people to ask questions and learn more about their culture.

“This is a population that I hadn’t really explored as much as I should,” said Thalia Anguiano, graduate student, higher education administration. “I feel really, I guess, more educated for lack of a better term.”

Although Native American Heritage month has concluded, recognizing their history will remain a continuous action.

“I would just like to thank the university and the Multicultural Center for recognizing the Native Americans and how important it is to keep all cultures alive,” Black-Robinson said.

Nyla Henderson is a Diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected]