Up North Films

Ojibwe Drum Songs


The documentary provides a glimpse into the life of one Ojibwe elder, his stories, and drum songs.

“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, Michigan. 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 LVD drum, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and Sault Ste. Marie bands, and singers from Marquette.

Price: $20