MusiCounts Learn Launches “Kanata”, a Contemporary Indigenous Music Teaching Resource

March 11th, 2021
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MusiCounts, Canada’s leading music education charity, is proud to announce Kanata: Contemporary Indigenous Artists and Their Music, a learning resource that will support teachers in bringing Indigenous voices, perspectives and music into classrooms. This new resource is a product of collaboration between several Indigenous educators, advisors, and artists. It will empower any grade 7 to 12 music or social studies educator to explore and celebrate contemporary Indigenous music in the classroom in a way that is authentic, respectful, and culturally appropriate.

“I am truly honoured to have been invited to be the writer and creator of the newest MusiCounts Learn teacher resource guide, Kanata,” says educator and musician Sherryl Sewepagaham, who led the development of the resource. “The uniquely Indigenous approach to this resource will allow teachers and students to explore the life and music of three dynamic, contemporary Indigenous artists with in-depth lesson plans, artist interview videos, and supplementary teaching material."

"This resource aims to help educate both teachers and students about Indigenous voices and histories, colonial and environmental impacts, social injustices, and language revitalization efforts that each of these artists explore through their music.”

-Sherryl Sewepagaham, Kanata Resource Author

The teacher resource guide explores the music of Jeremy Dutcher, Silla and Rise, and the Snotty Nose Rez Kids. The three artists contributed videos in which students can learn about this music directly from the artists involved. With a blend of genres including rap, classical, and electronic dance music, this resource will act as a pathway through which students will understand that Indigenous music is an evolving and diverse practice spanning many genres and sounds.

“MusiCounts is committed to giving educators across Canada new tools and resources through the MusiCounts Learn program,” said Kristy Fletcher, MusiCounts’ Executive Director. “The Kanata Teacher Resource Guide aligns so closely with MusiCounts’ mandate to make music education possible for all kids in Canada. This new resource can be used by any school in Canada, whether learning is happening in-person or remotely, and regardless of whether the school has access to musical equipment.”

Kanata is the latest resource to be produced under MusiCounts Learn, MusiCounts’ newest program which supports music education in Canada through creating new, innovative teaching resources for educators. The Kanata resource is free to use for all educators across Canada and can be accessed below. Schools and students who use this resource will be invited to submit a capstone project by May 24, 2021 for a chance to receive one of ten $1,000 MusiCounts grants to support music education at their school.

“I hope this resource will be a conduit for schools and educators to work towards addressing and building positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action in education,” says Kanata author Sherryl Sewepagaham.

This project was made possible in part by the Government of Canada.


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Download the Kanata Resource

Learn more about the resource, download the free Teaching Guide, and watch the Behind the Scenes videos with Jeremy Dutcher, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and Silla and Rise.


About Sherryl Sewepagaham

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Sherryl Sewepagaham is Cree-Dene from the Little Red River Cree Nation and is currently a music therapist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. She has been a district consultant and a K-6 elementary music educator for over two decades integrating First Nations content. Sherryl co-founded the 2006 JUNO-nominated Indigenous women’s trio, Asani and composes and arranges traditional-based, original songs and choral repertoire for children, youth and adult choirs in the Cree language. She continues to create Indigenous teacher resources, including for the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program.