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 music or social studies educators at any grade level 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 explores contemporary Indigenous musicians, using the music of Jeremy Dutcher, the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Silla and Rise, and the Twin Flames as real-world examples.
  • This resource includes a detailed introductory document to help teachers feel confident in bringing this topic into the classroom, lesson ideas and activities, and supplementary video content from educators and artists.
  • Kanata works well in remote or in-person teaching environments.


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.

Twin Flames

KANATA: Twin Flames Special Edition

This new addition to the MusiCounts Learn Kanata: Contemporary Indigenous Artists and Their Music resource explores the music of Ottawa-based duo, the Twin Flames. This resource, authored by Indigenous music education specialist Sherryl Sewepagaham, offers elementary and secondary educators three comprehensive activities through which they can engage their students in discussion, research, critical inquiry, and performance of the Twin Flames’ powerful music. Through exploring topics including mental health, language preservation, and Inuit culture, the activities in this resource serve as a unique opportunity for educators to bring reconciliation into the classroom.

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. 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 school administrator before suggesting students use TikTok in the classroom.



  • Sherryl Sewepagaham - Music Educator & Music Therapist


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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)
  • Twin Flames (Jaaji and Chelsey June)

Materials and resources

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