The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Hannah Jenkins
Hannah Jenkins
Copy Editor

Hi! My name is Hannah Jenkins, and I am one of the copy editors here at the North Wind. I am a sophomore at NMU, and I love all things writing and editing-related. I am proud to be a part of this great...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

TIMES ARE CHANGING — FAFSA announced changes to its filing system in February.
Editorial — The "better" FAFSA
North Wind Editorial Board February 27, 2024

Professor debuts latest documentary

With the rhythmic sounds of the Teal Lake Drum filling the air, a near sold-out crowd packed into Jamrich 102 Friday evening, eagerly anticipating the latest documentary, “Ojibwe Drum Songs,” from sociology professor Michael Loukinen and Learning Resources electronic technician Grant Guston.

The film, which is the fourth in the four-part Ojibwe series, ran approximately 50 minutes and looked at how integral the role of the drum is in Ojibwe culture and history. Much of the footage that was shown has rarely been seen by non-natives, and even many natives have never seen the proceedings.

Elder Jim Williams, who’s interviewed throughout the film, said making a film about such a sacred aspect of his heritage was a long, but important process.

“It was kind of grueling at times,” Williams said, adding that, although difficult, it was a positive experience. “Looking at it now, I’m glad I was a part of it.”

Story continues below advertisement

Williams said he helped make the documentary so this knowledge could be passed down to younger generations. Understanding one’s past is crucial and that’s what this film helps the viewer to realize, he said.

For Loukinen, filming this documentary brought on some interesting challenges, primarily the ability to film an event not typically seen by outsiders.

“It was very intense,” Loukinen said. He added that it took nearly three years to make the film, and much of that time was spent building a relationship with Williams and the community.

“[I was] developing the trust of the people,” he said. “Developing the trust of Jim Williams.”

While establishing these relationships, Loukinen also took the time to work on other projects, which slowed production down considerably. He also had to overcome one major problem — a lack of visuals for the film. He said, with a subject matter so focused on music and sound, he had to rely on Guston to help give the film a visual flair.

“I asked Grant to dig deep with the special effects,” he said. “I felt that we really needed it because we had so few visual aspects.”

Guston said that making this film, along with the others in the Ojibwe series, has had a tremendous impact on him.

“The drum means a lot to me now,” Guston said. “Everything [American Indians] do is spiritually powerful. They have so much to offer.”

Guston reiterated that filming “Ojibwe Drum Songs” was challenging because there were plenty of scenes which they could not show in the final version of the film.

“There’s so many things we wanted to share, but couldn’t,” he said. “We’re honoring the sacred nature of things.”

In the end, Guston hopes this won’t deter viewers, and that people can take away the same appreciation he has for learning about different cultures and histories.

“I just hope they can find some appreciation. You’re trying to share with them what you discovered.”

More to Discover