Multicultural Celebration Creates Intercultural Connections
On Sunday, November 15, 2015 a Multicultural Celebration took place at the Mackenzie Art Gallery hosted in partnership with the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan. This event is part of Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, proclaimed annually by the provincial government to celebrate the Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Act.
The focus of the event was drumming across cultures. Four experienced drummers and groups from several cultural traditions (Ranch Ehrlo pow wow drum group, Uganda Canadian Association of Saskatchewan, Carol Daniels and Muna DeCiman) took turns sharing their styles and teaching everyone to join creating intercultural connections.
Allen Ssemmanda, a member of the Uganda Canadian Association of Saskatchewan, and one of the featured drummers shared her experience of the event:
I love to hear how the others play their drums and see how they relate with others. I appreciate having the freedom to play my music.
At the interactive art workshop aspect of the event, participants created a community drum. While they drew and painted various designs on the large rectangular piece of fabric, they talked and laughed together. At the drum circle, it was held and played by many hands to share the beat.
This year, the recent Paris terrorist attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis weighed on everyone’s minds. During his greetings, the Honourable Mark Docherty, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport stated:
We should recognize just how lucky we are to be in this country, to be in this province, to be together and know full well that this kind of gathering isn’t welcome in a lot of places around this world.
MCoS Executive Director, Rhonda Rosenberg acknowledged that the event was taking place on land that is the traditional territory of the Cree, Saulteaux and Métis and part of Treaty 4 land. MCoS recognizes that we are all treaty people – part of the relationship agreed to over 150 years ago.
When asked about the rationale for the drumming for this event, she explained:
As far as I know, drumming is universal in human cultures. This special drum circle provides opportunities for intercultural connections based in curiosity and appreciation.
The conclusion of the event was a round dance. All drummers joined the Ranch Ehrlo pow wow drum group while the audience participated in the dance. It was the culmination of the intercultural connections formed at the event and was quite a sight to behold.