My Uncle Pat invited me to sing with the drum at a wellness and sobriety conference sponsored by Deb Stanger and the Spokane Tribe. The event was titled "Breaking the Cycle."
The conference invitation states in part, "This day is dedicated to the human beings that have had to struggle in life to maintain their dignity through... drug/alcohol abuse, violence, trauma, and other problems... As a nation, we need to forgive and begin the healing process..." Community agencies and prevention workers from around the area gathered to share resources and personal stories of healing.
Before the opening song, my uncle made a brief prayer and said, "The drum is the heartbeat of the Indian people." He then spoke of the drum calling our young people back to healthy living, away from addictions, violence, and gangs.
Four of us sang at the drum: Pat, Francis, Deb, and I.
Many times I have sat at the drum and felt the power of that spirit. Today was no exception: I experienced it as an invisible wave emanating from the drum and touching everyone in the room. Most of the people in attendance rose to their feet in respect, and even many of the building staff left their work stations to listen. I've heard it said that the drum is a living person. If this is true, then he or she is a compassionate person offering power, healing, and strength to the Indian people and people everywhere.