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Specific Features

2:28 min. - If a piece is broken when making a drum, while bending for example, you can start over up to three times, but never more than that. It’s better to completely abandon making that particular drum.


Narrator - If you break a piece while making your drum, either during thinning or bending, you can start over up to three times. But never more than that. It's better to completely abandon making that particular drum. Also, out of respect, we never burn the pieces that were used. Rather, we hang them on a tree with great care. If you persevere, the drum will be dangerous. That's what I was taught. The red on the sides and strings of the drum is very important. This colour belongs to the hunter. It enables his dream ally to recognize him and chase away evil spirits. That's why it's used on the hunter's clothing, mitts and snowshoes. Traditionally, the Innu made this color from alder bark (atushpi)
Papanassi's eye, the little hole in the drum, symbolizes the passage from winter to summer. This symbol comes to us from a legend, Summer Birds, in which Papanassi, a little marsh owl, (he who makes no noise when he flies) gets his beak burned, spying on the keepers of summer through a little hole in the tent. The unsuspecting keepers of summer spend the night dancing. On a mission to spy on them, the little owl sticks his beak into a hole in the side of the tent. When the dancers inspect the walls by torchlight, they burn what they think is a branch, not realizing that it's the bird's beak. That's how the marsh owl's beak became permanently curved and white because of the heat of the fire. In the early morning, Pécan and Caribou steal the bag containing the summer birds. Although they are considerably ahead of their pursuers, the pursuers call out to them: "Winter and summer should come and go..." "Alright", answer the animals, as they set the summer birds free. At that moment, the snow began to melt and the birds scattered everywhere.
Drum - Jean-Baptiste Bellefleur

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