Translator (Innu-Aimun): Rose Gregoire
Interviewer: Franziska von Rosen
Place: Sheshatshiu, Labrador
Franziska von Rosen: Can we start with your name and a bit about your background?
Francis Penashue: My name is Francis Penashue. My parents passed away years ago and so has my brother, so I am the only living one of my family now.
There is a difference with my family from that of Elizabeth’s in the way of using the drum. My parents used the drum for spiritual purposes, hunting the spirits of animals. So here in the village I do not play the drum because my father respected it very much. The drum was used in the “country” to get the animal spirit, to obtain food. When I saw my grandfather drum, the next day we got the caribou so that is why I respect the approach of my father and my grandfather. I believe it myself so when I go to the country I use the drum, but I do not use it here in the community.
FvR: Do you carry the drum when you go to the country?
FP: No, but I can use it in the country, not here, since my father passed away. The way my father was using it was to get some food, to locate caribou and other animals.
FvR: Was there any dancing associated with the use of the drum for hunting purposes?
FP: What I remember in the community here is the use of the drum when someone got married, like the party after the service. For that we usually had a drum. In the country my grandfather used to play the drum for us in August for a dance with grandmother and have fun, then the lights had to be off to get the spirits from animals. When he finished he could tell what and where the animals were. So that is why I respect the drum. I don’t play the drum in the community.
FvR: But there would be dancing when your grandfather was using the drum in the
FP: There would be celebrations like when a caribou was killed. They would be happy. The drum would be played and everyone had to dance.
FvR: So the drum is to show your happiness?
FvR: How does it make you feel when you dance to the sound of the drum?
FP: You dance when you see the food you are going to have. Everyone is happy when they see food to feed the family.
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