Tim Masso of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, left, and other carvers present a drum that was carved from tree to finished product during Gathering Our Voices in the Alberni Valley last week. The drum was presented to Port Alberni Friendship Center. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Indigenous youth create monument to language, culture at Alberni event

Culture, language go hand in hand with Gathering Our Voices drum project

Participants from Gathering Our Voices have left a lasting impression on the Alberni Valley. More than 900 youth between the ages of 14–22 years and accompanying adults spent four days connecting with their culture through various workshops and cultural events.

One of those events has left a legacy: a handcarved drum.

The drum project brought together youth from GOV who worked on the carving from a log to a finished product in just two days.

“It was anyone who wanted to carve,” said Tim Masso, a language student from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island’s west coast.

Hjalmer Wenstob, a contemporary Nuu-chah-nulth artist and Masso’s brother, put on the carving event, right from choosing the log to providing carving tools and overseeing the participants.

Wenstob, from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, is taking a Masters of Visual Art at the University of Victoria with a focus on sculpture and installation. He also teaches sculpture. For two days outside the doors at the Alberni Athletic Hall, he guided people through carving and painting the drum.

The drum features two salmon, a male and a female; the female has 17 eggs in her belly, representing the 17 GOV conferences that have taken place.

“It’s really significant to the fact that all these youth are coming together and we’re carving this drum that brings together people in the future as well,” Masso explained.

“Our culture and language go hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other. This drum does really go well with my talk about language,” he said. Masso is in his second year of the Language Proficiency Program at the University of Victoria.

A linguist since he was 15, Masso is passionate about teaching Nuu-chah-nulth language to others. One day, he said at the GOV closing, he would like to see Nuu-chah-nulth language spoken in every home.

The drum was presented to the Port Alberni Friendship Centre and will be stored there for any nations to use. There are people from seven or eight First Nations that use the friendship centre, including Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations, whose territories are around Port Alberni and the Alberni Valley.

Many of those people come to the friendship centre to practice singing and dancing, and will be able to use the drum, he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Tim Masso of Tla-q-qui-aht First Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island introduces a drum project that was completed during Gathering Our Voices in the Alberni Valley last week. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Tim Masso of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation places handmade drumsticks atop a drum that was created at Gathering Our Voices 2019 in Port Alberni in March. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Some of the Gathering Our Voices participants who helped carve the drum pose for a photo before the drum was donated to the Port Alberni Friendship Centre for safekeeping, then blessed. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Just Posted

Alberni Valley fire departments hold car wash to raise funds for Wounded Warriors Run

Come out Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to learn more about the run

67th year for Port Alberni’s men’s open bonspiel

Public is welcome to cheer on teams throughout the weekend

Alberni Valley residents vent anger over proposed Beaver Creek cannabis project

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District grapples with limited authority to restrict operations

Paper Excellence, owner of Crofton mill, hit by malware

Paper production in Crofton, and other mills, impacted by incident

B.C. NDP’s throne speech speaks of benefits to B.C., says MLA Scott Fraser

Fraser agrees to meet with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs over pipeline

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Most Read