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Fire Nation Drum Group Takes Center Stage at Wabeno High School’s Veterans Day Ceremony

Photo: Forest County Potawatomi

As Veterans Day approaches, communities across the Fire Nation Drum Group are gearing up to express gratitude to those who have served in the military.

Fire Nation Drum Group Takes Center Stage at Wabeno High School’s Veterans Day Ceremony (Photo: Forest County Potawatomi)

Echoes of Tradition: The Fire Nation Drum Group’s Stirring Performance

In a recent development featured by WSAW, in November 10, 2023, in Forest County, Wabeno High School stands out with a distinctive ceremony led by students. In this unique event, students delve into the history, sacrifice, and traditions of military service. The ceremony, held on Friday, saw students learning about the significance of each fold in the American flag. The event was a heartfelt tribute that included performances by the choir and band, but one of the highlights was a captivating drum circle led by the Potawatomi Tribe’s Fire Nation Drum Group. Amidst the beats, a song titled ‘Soldier Boy’ resonated, paying homage to Native American soldiers and their invaluable contributions to various conflicts, dating back to the Revolutionary War.

The beating heart of the ceremony was the Fire Nation Drum Group, representing the Potawatomi Tribe. Their drum circle, a powerful element of Native American culture, added a distinct layer to the tribute. Nick Shepard, the drum circle teacher, shared the personal connection to the performance. ‘Soldier Boy,’ the poignant song they performed, holds nostalgic ties for Shepard, as it was his father’s favorite during his time as a Vietnam War veteran. The Fire Nation Drum Group’s contribution goes beyond the immediate performance, delving into the rich history of Native American involvement in the military.

Shepard emphasized the significant role Native Americans play in upholding democratic values, noting that they consistently lead in enlisting and fighting for the nation’s freedom. With more than 9,000 Native Americans currently serving in the military, the Fire Nation Drum Group’s drum circle becomes not just a musical expression but a profound testament to the enduring spirit of warriors.

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Passing the Beat: Heritage and Tradition

According to the news released by Military News, the Fire Nation Drum Group legacy of Native American involvement in the military and the significance of the drum circle were further illuminated by Micke Konaha, a Native American veteran. Having served in the U.S. Army from 1971 to 1976, Konaha stressed the importance of passing on traditions. For him, being a warrior meant carrying on the family tradition, a sentiment echoed by many Native Americans.

The drum circle has become a vessel for passing down cultural heritage, as highlighted by sixth-grade student Negon Pemma. Learning to drum from his late grandfather, Pemma expressed the unique experience of being enveloped by the rhythm, describing it as a moment where he is in his own world. As the Fire Nation Drum Group continues to play a crucial role in ceremonies like these, the heartbeat of the nation, represented by the resounding drum beats, reverberates through the generations, ensuring the traditions and stories of warriors endure.

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