See and listen to a local performer do a traditional drum dance. A drum dance is an Inuit form of art that has been around for at least the past 4500 years. Drum dancing has been used an entertainment, for spiritual ceremonies, and to solve interpersonal conflicts.
The drum, made up of either bones or wood would usually have the stomach skin of a polar bear, but is now more varied and differs in shape and size depending on where in Greenland you go.
When the missionaries came in the 18th century, drum dancing and singing were seen as heathen activities and were suppressed over the following years resulting in a near-complete loss of it in western Greenland.
This tradition has lasted more strongly in the North and on the East coast and so most of what we know has come from these regions. Although there are few performers left, a dedicated effort to revive this tradition has helped, such as through seminars and funding for performers to teach their skills of making drums and performing the songs in schools.
The drum dance today is mostly performed at certain events such as festivals, and special religious events, and is even used to start sessions in the Greenlandic Parliament.
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