Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Camas and Drums

We drove to Multnomah Falls on Monday and I was happy to see the Camas in bloom.  There is this special patch of it where it thrives every Spring and I always look for it and try to get photos while it is in it's prime.  

The Camas bulb was an important food source for the Native people that lived in this area.  Click HERE to learn more about it.

The Columbia River and Washington state is what you see beyond the Camas patch.

I took all these photos with my iPhone 7 Plus!  I didn't have my Lumix with me.  It does a pretty good job, doesn't it?

Do you have Camas lily where you live?

I like this shot of the Camas, the old fence, the big huge rock, the river and the state to our north.  The rock was deposited there during the great floods of long ago which scoured out the river gorge.  

I made a native people drum many years ago but the skin I used wasn't very good and while the drum sounded good (enough) at first, it soon lost it's "voice".  So, I've been looking for another drum over the years.  On a whim a few days ago I did a search on Craigslist and found some for sale in Gresham, our nearest metropolitan area.  So after some texting back and forth we visited the man and are the proud new owners of two new drums, one for me and one for Dayle.  This is mine.  I wrote a piece years ago that I will share at the end of this post.  This writing is why I need a drum.  :-)

Dayle's drum which has a deeper sound than mine.  The "sweet spot" where you hit the drum for best reverberation is the center of this design.

Here is the back of the drums.. see the way they tighten the skin by wrapping the rawhide lashing?  Brilliant, actually.

Here are the two beaters, one is soft and one is harder.  I selected the smaller one for my drum, it's the harder one and gives a wonderful sound.  I also have a Native wooden flute which I play with the drums.  I had both of my grandsons beating the drums last night while I played the flute, I called it a "joyful noise".  LOL!  

I love how the flute top is in the shape of a bird, I believe that piece is walnut, the main body of the flute is cedar.

I hope you enjoy my poem.  ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

(Please visualize an Indian drum being beat softly and sounding like a heartbeat at the beginning of this poem and again between each stanza)
PAH pum, PAH pum, PAH pum, PAH pum, PAH pum.

I beat this drum for my Indian Grandmother of long ago,
Her story has been passed from mother to daughter,
of a Scottish Grandfather who wed a Cherokee woman.
I never knew her but this I do know…   (drum beats)

Her blood runs through my body and especially my hands.
I create baskets, pottery, beadwork, leatherwork and more.
I feel as if she’s sitting next to me and gently guiding me,
Teaching me, inspiring me and passing her skills to me.  (drum beats)

Thank you my “a-yv-wi-ya e-ni-si” - this is Cherokee
for my “Indian Grandmother” – and I speak these words to you.
I made this drum and call your spirit to me with the
sound of the beat of your heart.  (drum beats)

I feel your love though you are long gone, thank you, e-ni-si. (drum beats)

By Teresa Kasner
© Copyright - September 29, 2006

(NOTE:  The words below are the Cherokee language and the pronunciation.)

Indian = a-yv-wi-ya / axWy / ah yuh wee yaw

Grandmother = e-ni-si / e/R / ay knee see


  1. Wonderful Teresa, such emotion and connection to the past, especially through crafting. I love that you have those drums, they are so beautifully made. I bet the boys loved them, and I hope they bring you much pleasure. CJ xx

  2. Wow what a great drum and great to hear about your native grandmother! You certainly have such creative hands Teresa xx

  3. Replies
    1. I translated from Portuguese -

      "I loved the pictures."

    2. Beautiful blooms. Cool drum! And very cook poem!!!
      xo Kris

  4. Beautiful Camas flowers and beautiful drums. Your poem/song was beautiful. How wonderful to pass this onto your grandsons.
    Blessings, Betsy

  5. It is a perfect day to read this post! The hot sunny weather reminds me of our trip to Kahneeta...Native American land, and culture, a basic foundation for our history in the area. I enjoy seeing the beautiful Camas flowers and I admire your crafting in words and photos and sketches and beads and baskets and jewelry and stitches and music. Thanks for posting! xx

  6. What a great poem and so glad to see you have new drums!

  7. What a magnificent post and I so love both of your drums and could hear that beat while reading that beautiful poem......really touched my ♥♥

  8. Wonderful Teresa, such a beautiful connection to your past and heritage. The drums and flute were a delight. I have never come across Camas before so I am presuming they are not here locally. They are a beautiful bloom.

  9. Your poem is beautiful and I can definitely hear the beating of the drums as I read it. Your photos of the camas fields are just gorgeous. What a pretty color they are.

  10. Beautiful drums and a lovely poem!

  11. A beautiful poem Teresa. An honorable thing to do. I know she hears you and the drum. So lovely

  12. A lovely post Teresa. The drums are beautiful as is your poem. Thank you for sharing. Hugs Anne x


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