Thunder Bay

Mother's Day event expected to draw 500 First Nations drums to Thunder Bay

Hundreds of people are expected to drum, sing and walk their way through Thunder Bay, Ont., to the shore of Lake Superior this weekend in a walk for healing.

Participants prepare to 'beat the heartbeat of Mother Earth' in walk for healing

Frances Wesley dreamed of bringing together 500 traditional hand drummers in Thunder Bay, Ont., for a Mother's Day walk for healing. (Cathy Alex/CBC)

Hundreds of people are expected to drum, sing and walk their way through Thunder Bay, Ont., to the shore of Lake Superior on Sunday in a walk for healing.

The Heartbeat of the Drum event is the vision of Frances Wesley, a Cree woman who lives in Thunder Bay.

Wesley said she had a dream of gathering 500 hand drummers to bring healing to the city that has seen the deaths of seven First Nations students since 2000 and more than a dozen mysterious deaths of Indigenous women in the last 30 years.

"We really need to come together as people in this community and let them know we do care for them," Wesley said.

The event is purposely timed for Mother's Day as the drummers will be "beating to the heartbeat of Mother Earth," according to the Facebook page for the event.

"The beat of the drum will be heard across the nation," the social media posting says.

The response to the idea has been "overwhelming," Wesley said on Thursday.

"I'm really excited about Sunday," she said. "And a little bit nervous. I think we're going to have a large crowd.

The event begins at Waverly Park at 12:30 on Sunday, with drummers walking from there to Marina Park.

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