Salmo circles

My sister Joni lives in the Kootenays, in British Columbia’s Rocky Mountains. She is an able and knowledgeable practitioner of many First Nations ways and crafts. Our family has a long history relating to native arts and cultures, even though our own ancestors were of European stock … but that’s another story.


Joni has wintered in teepees of her own making, designed excellent beadworks, plays the native flute, sews buckskin and, most actively now, is involved with aboriginal friends in drum circles. They drum and sing together on drums they craft themselves. Pictured in the centre is one Joni made for me and Danica.

The big photos offer two views of a spiral drum path Joni has just completed … all by hand and all by herself. It looks like 4 concentric rings to me, but Joni calls it a spiral, so maybe that’s the way you move in it. My “baby” sister is only weeks away from becoming a senior citizen, but she shows no signs of slowing down.

The drum spiral is only one outcome of Joni’s ongoing work, shaping her immediate environment. A careful observer of nature, she is working out ways of improving her surroundings by planting native trees and flowers so that they can thrive without artificial treatment.

While many of us want to live greener, more ecologically responsible lives, Joni really walks the walk. “I’m learning how to fix the land without pissing people off. lol So far, so good… ,” she wrote recently.

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