Local drumming group to honor Truckee elders
A group of women will gather this weekend at the Truckee Senior Center around a large drum made of buffalo skin and cedar. The aroma of sage smoke will permeate the room, drawing unwanted feelings and thoughts away from the mind and soul, and preparing listeners for the experience that will soon begin.These are the women of the Da ‘Owaga All Nations Drum, a North Lake Tahoe group of American Indian heritage dedicated to preserving the tradition and song of their ancestors.
“Women coming to the drum has to do with feeling connected with the mother and the Mother Earth,” said drummer Neena McNair. “Our intention is to carry the message of the drum, and to teach a manner of respect for [her] and for each other.”In American Indian cultures, the sound of the drum represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth, according to drummer Cynthia Ashe. “We think of the songs as prayers that are meant to be felt. It’s grounding yourself, putting your feet on the ground, and feeling what the Mother Earth is trying to send back to you.”
On Sunday from 23 p.m., the women of Da ‘Owaga will give residents at the Truckee Senior Center a special holiday performance.”This weekend we will honor and respect the elders by telling them that without them, we would be nowhere,” said drummer Sheilah Honaker.Also honored will be the animals, ancestors, and women to which many of the other drum songs and chants are dedicated. Some of the songs are ceremonial in nature, according to drummer Susanne Scott, others are family songs, or just enjoyable tunes taken from a number of native histories.
The women of the drum gather primarily to remember song, and for the healing power of their music. But they are also willing to bring their drum to private celebrations such as weddings and funerals. To learn more about da ‘Owaga, or to invite the group to perform, contact Cynthia Ashe at (775) 831-3011.
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