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6:56 min. - "I use my hands to determine the drum’s circumference. That allows me to customize my drum. For example, to measure my hoop, I count 5 1/2 measures of my hands hooked together by the thumbs." Jean-Baptiste Bellefleur, an Innu from Unaman-shipu


Jean-Baptiste Bellefleur - My mother taught me how to make a drum. I went back to see her after each step. One day she said to me: "Make one for yourself, but be careful not to start over more than three times."
I use my hands to determine the circumference of my drum. This allows me to personalize my drums. For example, to measure my hoop, I count 5 1/2 times the width of my hands with my thumbs hooked together. The 1/2 will disappear when the pieces are interlocked. For the other pieces, the ones I use for the contour, I add the width of one hand.
I started cutting the birch with my axe, and finished with the crooked knife. When cutting the pieces, you have to make sure they're all equally thick before bending them.
I start by putting together the centre and the rings. We'll obtain the desired tension by using cords around the hoop. The cords give the skin its proper tension.
The small bones are made from caribou foetus femurs, a foetus that is carefully harvested in the spring. I did this last spring in order to make this drum. I dried the small bones and scraped them with a knife; they're very malleable. You clean the foetus the same way you would an adult caribou. When we separate the foetus from the placenta, we immediately wrap it in it's mother's hair and bring it inside the tent. It must be cleaned inside, never outside. The foetus has 8 bones that can be used for the drum. The caribou foetus is edible, it's a delicacy that's given to the elders.
Drum - Jean-Baptiste Bellefleur

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