Moving to a different beat

Embassy Church is Prince Albert is asking the city to take another look at assessments conducted on the property in 2012. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

It’s been more than two hours since school ended, but the halls of the Prince Albert Collegiate Institute (PACI) are still filled with students.

Most are chowing down on freshly baked bannock and stew, but a select few are just finishing up a final drum session with facilitator Wacey Lavallee. The group of boys ranges from teenagers all the way down to the odd five or six year old, but they all have one thing in common: they have to practice a song for next week.

“You can’t be here just hitting the drum all the time. You’ve got to learn how to sing now,” Lavallee says with a chuckle during an interview afterwards. “They were kind of scared to take that next step, but it’s a learning process and it should be all right.”

Every Tuesday afternoon, Lavallee meets with Prince Albert students to teach a little bit about aboriginal drumming. It’s part of the After School Powwow Dancing and Drumming Group, a free community program that first started running in January, and every class he has a few more students.

The goal is to develop a positive atmosphere that helps students from all walks of life learn about indigenous culture, which is something Lavallee says is badly needed.

“I’m really hoping that they’re getting positive living experiences, and also embracing our native culture, because a lot of the urban youth nowadays are getting lost with drugs, alcohol and gangs,” he explains.

For the rest of this story, please see the April 6 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.