Kanata: Contemporary Indigenous Artists and Their Music

MusiCounts is proud to offer Kanata: Contemporary Indigenous Artists and Their Music, a learning resource that will support teachers in bringing Indigenous voices, perspectives, and music into classrooms.

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Program Highlights

  • This interdisciplinary and curriculum-aligned resource will empower any grade 7-12 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.
  • This resource is a product of collaboration between several Indigenous educators, advisors, and artists, all led by Indigenous music educator Sherryl Sewepagaham.
  • Kanata is 100% free to use. You can download all the resource materials below.
  • Kanata includes several student activities exploring the music of Jeremy Dutcher, the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and Silla and Rise. Several different student activities will encourage students to reflect, create, respond, and inquire.
  • Kanata includes a detailed two-part Teacher Resource Guide, along with supplementary video content created by the educators and artists involved with creating the resource.
  • Kanata works well in remote or in-person teaching environments.

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KANATA PART 1: Introductory Material

Part 1 of Kanata is devoted to equipping educators and students with some of the knowledge needed to study the music of the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Silla and Rise and Jeremy Dutcher. In order to present a broad perspective and understanding of Indigenous Peoples in Canada to students, teachers will need to prepare and familiarize themselves with definitions of Indigenous Peoples and other background information relevant to the teacher resource, the evolution of Indigenous music, specific terminology, the JUNO Awards category, and issues that impact Indigenous artists and their communities. We highly recommend you start here.


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KANATA PART 2: Student Activities

Part 2 of Kanata dives into the music of the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Silla and Rise, and Jeremy Dutcher. Comprehensive chapters on each artist offer teachers several detailed student activities that range from critical listening, art creation, class discussion, and student inquiry. Kanata Part 2 explores how social justice and environmental issues impact and inspire the artists; it shows how their art promotes inclusiveness and diversity and the ways they combat stereotypes, racism, and discrimination; it shares how they empower and give a voice to youth; and most importantly, it reveals how they educate and break down barriers through their art.


Supplementary Video Content

Educators involved with creating this resource created an Introductory Video to supplement topics covered in Kanata Part 1. This video can be used to educate students and teachers alike about the history of Indigenous Peoples and their music.

Jeremy Dutcher, the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and Silla and Rise each created a Behind the Music video to complement discussions about their music in Kanata Part 2. These videos can be used to enhance your students’ learning experience and to ensure artist perspectives and viewpoints are correctly represented. We suggest you begin teaching your students about each of the artists included in this resource with excerpts from their respective videos.

Introductory Video

Jeremy Dutcher

Snotty Nose Rez Kids

Silla and Rise

Curriculum Connections and Outcomes

In the creation of this resource, various Canadian curricula in music, arts education, social studies, and Indigenous studies were consulted from grades 7-12. In this research, four core interdisciplinary themes emerged. These themes anchor each of the activities included throughout Kanata:

  • Language revitalization
  • Cultural identity and expression
  • Social justice (human rights, participation, equity)
  • Environmental justice (land rights, protection)

Teaching with TikTok

You’ll notice Teaching with TikTok suggestions sprinkled throughout the Kanata resource. These are suggestions for how to use this popular content platform to enhance secondary students’ engagement with the subject material. Please only integrate this into your classroom if you’re comfortable with it, and please do not advise students under the age of 13 to use TikTok. We also suggest you check with your high school administrator before suggesting students use TikTok in the classroom.

Acknowledgements

RESOURCE AUTHOR

  • Sherryl Sewepagaham - Music Educator & Music Therapist

CULTURAL ADVISORS

  • Elaine Bomberry - Indigenous performing arts activist/manager
  • Sarah Pocklington - Indigenous music advisor 
  • Kathy Kettler - Inuit throat-singer, Nukariik
  • Cindy Paul - Métis singer-songwriter and visual artist

RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

  • Jeremy Albert - First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Advisor, Elk Island Public Schools 
  • Dr. Lori Doloff - Associate Professor of Music Education, University of Toronto 
  • Mark Reid - District Resource Teacher, Vancouver School Board & 2013 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year 
  • Nicole Schutz -  Music Specialist, Edmonton Public School District 
  • Nick Godsoe - Manager of Programs & Education, MusiCounts

ARTISTS

  • Jeremy Dutcher
  • Snotty Nose Rez Kids (Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce and Darren “Young D” Metz)
  • Silla and Rise (Charlotte Qamaniq, Cynthia Pitsiulak and Eric Vani)

Materials and resources

Kanata: Contemporary Indigenous Artists and Their Music is generously supported by