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Sahtu

Fort Good Hope unveils huge drum on winter road


Travellers in the Sahtu region of the Northwest Territories will now be greeted by an iconic northern symbol – a gigantic drum, possibly the biggest in the world.

The community of Fort Good Hope unveiled the large sculpture in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday. As first reported by CBC, the large instrument is located on the Fort Good Hope-Colville Lake winter road, about 36 kilometres outside the K’asho Got’ı̨nę charter community. 

Vivian Edgi Manuel, economic development officer for the K’asho Got’ı̨nę Government, told Cabin Radio about 40 people attended the ceremony. 

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“People enjoyed it and people were happy with that monument. They’re quite proud of it because the drum is important to them,” she said.

“The drum is a part of our culture and tradition and it’s used in ceremony, we use it for prayer. It’s really important to the people and when they have drum dances, people really enjoy hearing the drum.” 

The drum on the Fort Good Hope-Colville Lake winter road is made from corten steel and coated with a rusty patina. Photo: Viviane Edgi-Manuel

Edgi-Manuel said the K’asho Got’ı̨nę believe the new drum may be the biggest in the world. They’re hoping to apply to Guinness World Records to find out.

The global authority on record-breaking achievements currently states that the world’s largest drum is a traditional CheonGo drum in Simcheon-Meon, South Korea. That drum is 5.96 metres (19 ft 6 in) tall, 5.54 metres (18 ft 2 in) in diameter, and weighs seven tons. 

The drum outside Fort Good Hope is slightly bigger, measuring 5.94 metres (19 ft 6 in) tall and six metres (19 ft 10 in) across.

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Edgi-Manuel said she hopes visitors will “be amazed” by the big drum, which helps to mark the land of the K’asho Got’ı̨nę and the Arctic Circle.

The community came up with the idea for the sculpture during a tourism conference in Fort Good Hope and subsequent conversations with the Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment between March 2019 and February 2020. 

According to the department, the drum replaces an Arctic Circle sign erected by the Mackenzie River in the 1990s that met paddlers on their way toward the Arctic Ocean. The Sahtu region is the only place in the territory accessible by road and river that intersects with the Arctic Circle. 

Drummers at the unveiling ceremony for the drum sculpture outside Fort Good Hope. Photo: Viviane Edgi-Manuel

Fort Good Hope commissioned Inkit in Yellowknife to design and manufacture the sign. It’s made from corten steel and coated with a rusty patina to give it the appearance of an authentic drum. The drum then travelled along the winter road before reaching its final resting place this week.

The project was led by Ne’Rahten Development Ltd, the business arm of the Yamoga Land Corporation, with support from the territory’s Growth and Recovering by Investing in Tourism fund.

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