Interview with Charles P. Bellefleur

Interview with Charles P. Bellefleur

Innu-aimun Translator: Rose Gregoire
Interviewer: Franziska von Rosen
Place: Sheshatshiu, Labrador

Franziska von Rosen: Let us begin by you telling me your name and a bit of your background.

Rose Gregoire: He said his name is Charles P. Bellefleur. He is from La Romaine in Quebec. He was brought up in the “country.” His parents brought him up in the bush in Quebec, for one thing he never went to school.

FvR: Did he experience drumming and dancing as a child growing up?

RG: His grandfather used to play the drum and then his dad, and now he does. The drum was used for hunting purposes. Probably his father used the drum at least once a week.

FvR: Can he talk about how he learned to drum?

RG: His older brothers had been singing, and they made the drum. He felt that they wanted him to continue with the drum. He is afraid of losing the playing of the drum, and that is why he is playing.

FvR: Who is allowed to play the drum?

RG: You dream about the drum once or twice, then you can play the drum. You can start singing as the drum is very special as it had been used a long time by his grandfather, and then his dad. The drum gives you visions about where to go when people go hunting. Then the dream tells you where to go to get food. That is how it goes. The drum gives you good hunting. It gives you riches. Only a hunter can beat the drum.

FvR: What about the songs? Are they received in a special way?

RG: The first song that he used when he started to play the drum was a song about his dad because he remembers his dad singing about the Creator who gave guidance. He is singing to his dad; now it is your turn to show me, guide me about living. The second song that he used was one his father used to sing about the caribou. The caribou goes into the woods. To him, it is like making a path.

FvR: So you can see where it is going. Is that the idea?

RG: Yes. In his song too, it is about the caribou. The caribou can hear the drum and the dancing, and a group of them hang around together. To him and his grandfather the caribou are dancing.

FvR: Can you ask him how he feels now when he is drumming?

RG: He says he really enjoys it when he beats the drum. He learns a lot from the drum. He thinks about his father when he plays the drum.

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Indigenous Dance