Interview with George Duma
Interviewer: Franziska von Rosen
Place: Sheshatshiu, Labrador
Franziska von Rosen: Can you tell me your name and a little bit about your background, please?
George Duma: My name is George Duma. I am from here, Sheshatshiu. I was born here in the “country.” I did not see a lot of travel in the country, just a little bit around here. From Seven Island [Sept Iles] to around here to see my family, that was what I saw.
FvR: Was dancing part of your life when you were growing up?
GD: Not in the country, I never saw them dance like that. Just here in Sheshatshiu, I have seen that. People come in from the country and they have a little dance here.
FvR: For what occasion would that be?
GD: It would be for New Year’s. Also, if people have been out in the country for ten, eleven months, they would be happy to be here when they arrive and before they leave and celebrate. I have seen that too.
My dad used to play the drum. He would go from tent to tent. And when my dad came to our tent, I would see my mum dancing. I would see that for hunting, for caribou, for anything like that. Sometimes three drums would be going from different tents and people would be dancing. Maybe even four sometimes. My grandfather was sometimes one of the other drummers.
FvR: In each tent there would be a drummer?
GD: Yes. Always someone would be a drummer.
FvR: I have heard that you have to have dreams before you become a drummer; can you tell me something about that?
GD: The reason why you got to dream before you drum is to have the songs. In my case I have only dreamed my dream twice. When you are dreaming you hear your song, then you can copy it. Then you can play the drum. Here only the old people sing. Some people will say that you are singing wrong if you have not had a proper dream. [Note: some people we talked to in Sheshatshui said that you have to have a dream three times before you can start drumming.]
FvR: How do you feel about dancing?
GD: I feel great. I feel happy. Proud when I hear the drums because it reminds me of my background, in the country, hunting. We do not play much here now.
FvR: Thank you very much, George.
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