Sunday November 08, 2015

Drums, throat singing and what many hope is a new era of reconciliation

Inuit throatsingers at swearing-in ceremony 0:54

Listen to Full Episode 37:07

The sound of drumming, throat singing and fiddle tunes were a big part of the Justin Trudeau government's swearing-in ceremony. Many hoped that the inclusion of indigenous cultures is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

So far reaction has been celebratory. Social media is abuzz with messages of pride, hope and joy. A beaming National Chief Perry Bellgarde could be seen in the audience at Rideau Hall. He called it "a new era of reconciliation."

Reconciliation that began with a drum song.

Here's what's on the show this week:

Theland Kicknosway is the 12-year-old traditional drummer and singer who led Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his new cabinet into the swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa. "It was a surreal moment. I could not believe that I was right there," recalled Kicknosway, who is Pottawatami  and Cree from Walpole Island, Ontario.

Usually schools are built by the government, using tax dollars. But in the late 1940s, Jean Marie River First Nation, N.W.T., built one using love. The current chief, Gladys Norwegian, talks about how the community worked together to build their own school, so they could keep their kids out of residential schools. 

Gerry Shingoose

Gerry Shingoose went to Muscowequan Residential School in Saskatchewan for nine years. (CBC)

On November 3rd, The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation officially opened its expansive archive to the public. A sacred fire was lit and survivors offered tobacco for healing.  Gerry Shingoose, whose siblings all attended residential schools — and who herself went to Muscowequan Residential School in Saskatchewan for nine years — was there to honour her family.

For many people, Duncan Campbell Scott is remembered as a renowned Canadian poet and public servant. But for others, he's the man responsible for a cultural genocide. Campbell Scott was Minister of Indian Affairs and created residential schools. Until last week, a plaque by his grave in the Beechwood Cemetery recognized his literary work, but made no mention of the dark side of his legacy. Cindy Blackstock explains why she wanted to make both sides known.

Billy Joe Green is an elder blues statesman. He was also a member of the legendary Feathermen, a group of young men back in the '60s who really led the way for indigenous music in Canada. His son, Jesse Green — a musician in his own right, and a filmmaker — has produced and directed a documentary about his dad and that influential music scene, called Brown Town Muddy Waters.

November 11th is Remembrance Day. A day set aside to remember those members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty. But did you know that November 8th marks Aboriginal Veterans Day?  Ed Brown is from Prince George, B.C. He spent 19 years serving in Yugoslavia, Syria and Afghanistan. And came back as many soldiers do, with post-traumatic stress disorder. He has written a poetry book about coping with PTSD.

MUSIC Polaris 20140923

Tanya Tagaq (The Canadian Press)

This week's playlist:

Eagle and Hawk - I See Red
Tanya Tagaq - UJA
Leanne Goose - Homeless
Billy Joe Green - No Way Home

stories from this episode