For a second time this year, students at the Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex (CGCEC) at the Cote First Nation have managed to make history by participating in a ground-breaking project.
Nine students wrote, recorded and filmed a song in a music video, with the assistance of the Treaty 4 Education Alliance, for the N’we Jinan Tour.
The N’we Jinan Tour is a music initiative that brings a mobile recording studio and a video production team into schools and youth centres across First Nation and Native American communities, said information found on the Internet. The program offers youth the chance to create an original song and music video that explores relevant issues and topics while promoting positive messaging, community engagement and collective voice.
Jasmine Kakakaway, Veronica Tourangeau, Sean Kakakaway, Lori Anne Brass, Kalista Kakakaway, Trenton Keshane, Tian Papequash and Mikhye Tourangeau accepted the challenge and for four days, wrote, sang and recorded the video at the CGCEC.
The students had the opportunity to view their music video, Look at Me, along with family, friends, teachers and students, in a video release celebration ceremony held in the gymnasium of CGCEC on December 13.
Opening remarks were delivered by Jonas Cote, principal, who acted as emcee for the event. “Welcome students, teachers, parents, special guests, members of the Kamsack RCMP Detachment and members of the community,” he said.
Elder Sadie Cote delivered the opening prayer.
Chief George Cote delivered a message of congratulations to the students. “There is so much power in the voice, and so much power in words. I want to take the opportunity to thank the Treaty 4 Education Alliance for coming to our school and helping our students make a music video that will be put on YouTube and be watched by people around the world. We are making history.
“We appreciate our leadership here, our principal, teachers, school board, Chief and council and we thank the Lord for the blessing of our children,” he said. “Let’s listen to their voices and bring our people together spiritually. Cote First Nation is a strong nation and I am very proud of you for this accomplishment.”
“Today is a proud day for Cote First nation,” said Richard Fiddler, chairperson of the school board. “The many years of hard work which we have dedicated to our education system has culminated in this historic event. Congratulations to the students.”
Tony McNabb-Cote of Cote First Nation who works at the Treaty 4 Education Alliance, was introduced as “our IT (Information technology) wizard.”
“When our IT comes in to a school, we come to add support,” he said. “I am humbled by the support of the staff here at Cote school and of the N’we Jinan folks who came out and spent a few days with the students.
“Who knows what impact this project will have on these students, how it may help them as they pursue their future walk of life. On behalf of our team I want to thank everyone for this moment.”
“I want to say a big thank you to Jonas Cote, principal of the Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex,” said Reona Brass, also of the Treaty 4 Education Alliance, located in Fort Qu’Appelle. “This project was a big thing to throw on his plate.”
Each of the nine students who participated in the project came forward and spoke a few words.
Cole Kakakaway described the four days of shooting the video, and how he went from being nervous on day one to “nervousness gone” on day four. “I’m feeling proud,” he said.
“I joined this program because I was up for a challenge,” said Lori Anne Brass. “The project had its ups and downs but in the end it was worth it.”
“When we did the song it was fun working with everyone and when they recorded me I was proud of myself,” said Tian Papequash.
Veronica Tourangeau said “I participated in this project because I wanted to try something new, and to make my friends and family proud.”
“Being in the video was a lot of work and a lot of fun,” said Sean Kakakaway. “I really enjoyed being part of the production.”
Jasmine Kakakaway recalled that she was nervous and scared at the start of the project, but ended up enjoying the experience.
“At first I was nervous, but now I’m proud of myself,” said Mikhye Tourangeau.
Kalista Kakakaway said although she was nervous at the beginning, her motive for participating in the project was to try something new and make her family proud.
“I was scared when we performed in front of the whole school, “said Trenton Keshane. “Then I sucked it up and did my part, and I ended up having a lot of fun.”
The video was played for the first time for all in attendance to watch. The gymnasium erupted into cheers and applause when the music video ended.
In closing remarks, Principal Cote said he was “amazed at what this group of kids has accomplished.” In earlier remarks he had mentioned that many of the students participating in the music video had also participated in a ground-breaking cook-off contest, last spring, for the Cote school and had won first place.
The group will be travelling to Winnipeg in April to join other groups who have completed music video projects with the N’we Jinan Project and they will perform in front of a large audience.
Janet Love Morrison, teacher and one of the support staff of the video, remarked how proud she was of the students and their accomplishment. “It’s been an amazing experience,” she said. “I’m so happy for them; they met the moment and chose to embrace something new.”
To view the video, it may be found on YouTube by typing in the search: N’we Jinan Artists, Look at Me.