Ojibwe Drum Songs Premieres April 4


A new documentary that offers a revealing glimpse into the life of an Ojibwe elder, his stories and the songs that come to life around the drum will premiere at 7 p.m. Friday, April 4, in 102 Jamrich.

Ojibwe Drum Songs is a film by Michael Loukinen (Sociology). Grant Guston (Audio-Visual Services) assisted with special effects and graphics in his capacity as owner of Lake Effect Media. Loukinen was invited by the Lac Vieux Desert Band (LVD) of Lake Superior Ojibwe in 1996 to produce documentaries and a digital archive of their traditions. Ojibwe Drum Songs is the fourth film in the series. It blends story, song and dance.


“The drum is the oldest-known instrument and an essential aspect of Ojibwe life,” Loukinen said. “It’s believed a spirit resides in the drum and that it must be treated with reverence and respect."

According to April Lindala (Center for Native American Studies), who appears in the film, “Songs that accompany drums have their own message. They may express a prayer or a call to helper spirits, perhaps to heal the sick or provide personal strength. A song might urge us to dance or it may simply put a smile in our heart. It might honor veterans or women as life-givers. Songs carry stories and stories carry songs. It is all connected within each beat of our own heart.”


The documentary is narrated by Jim Williams Sr., an elder of the Lac Vieux Desert Ojibwe band in Watersmeet. He heard elders sing at feasts, pow wows and ceremonies while growing up and went on to start a traditional drum group called the Lac Vieux Desert Singers. The film features both the LVD drum and the Four Thunders drum, which is the merger of singers from the LFD drum, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and Sault Ste. Marie bands, and singers from Marquette.


Admission to the premiere is $5 for adults, $3 for students and free for children.


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Updated: April 2, 2008

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