Claudette Michell was born in The Pas, Manitoba. Her mother Adelaide Michell survived the Sturgeon Landing and Guy Hill residential schools. Indigenous people are guided by and respect the teaching of our Elders and ancestors who have told us that we must look towards the future as well as the seventh generation ahead. This vision is what Claudette would like to share, “that all people would have common dream of a bright future based on the principles of healing the self, through making and practicing good decisions based on the laws of the earth mother’s traditional governing systems”. This is the Drum. With the loving support of her mother Adelaide, the challenges of her younger life did lead Claudette into the spiral of alcohol abuse, but she would eventually find her way out. As a youth she was forced to attend church, but later in life, the church could not help her to break free from the destructive pattern of alcohol abuse. Alcoholics Anonymous could not help either despite its success with others. What saved Claudette were the traditional teachings of her ancestors. It is the ceremonies and the drum that have given her direction and helped her to reclaim an identity that too many have lost.
She hopes that as she shares this video, others will see how a traditional way of life, the drum and formal education have helped her on her healing journey. She has a dream that others will heed the message of the destruction occurring to Mother Earth and how the women, all women can take back their power to reclaim their true inheritance and claim their own identities. “Everything happens in a circle; be careful about what you do in life because it will come back to you. Don’t abuse yourself, Mother Earth or others. What you put out there is what you get back”.
Claudette passed away suddenly on October 4th, 2012. She is deeply missed by her digital storytelling family.