Regina teen dances outside hospital to support her kokum who's sick with COVID-19
17-year-old Meadow Musqua is supporting her kokum's recovery with healing dances
As a Regina elder battles COVID-19 in hospital, her teenage granddaughter is dancing for her recovery.
Speaking on the lawn outside the hospital, where she had just performed a healing dance, 17-year-old Meadow Musqua, who is Dakota/Cree and from Peepeekisis Cree Nation, said she knew exactly why she had to be there.
"I'm here to dance and heal my grandmother, my kokum, Lorna Standingready."
Standingready, of White Bear First Nation, is in hospital after being diagnosed with the delta variant of COVID-19.
"I'm here to help heal and do the traditions that I was taught in any which way I can," Musqua said.
"It's important to our culture [and] it's important to me because these are the traditions that were taught to me."
'This is what we know is healing'
As she prepared to dance, Musqua remembered her mother's advice and lessons on what it meant to care for her loved ones and community in this way.
"My mother had … told me 'you are here for a reason and you come to dance for the people, nothing more,' " Musqua said.
Musqua's friend, Kiana Francis, joined her in the dance.
"I'm helping my friend with prayers and healing and a little bit of uplifting," Francis said. "This is how we've been brought up. These are our ways. This is what we know is healing."
Reflecting on her experience of the pandemic, Francis said she has noticed how the virus reminds people of their interconnectedness.
"We all live on the same earth, we all breathe the same air," she said. "What affects one person can affect us all."
Teen stresses importance of masking, sanitizing
Musqua agreed, and stressed the importance of taking every available precaution to keep people like her kokum safe.
"We've just got to make sure that everyone is safe and taking these precautions. Wearing a mask, sanitizing and keeping everyone safe," she said.
"The feeling that I feel right now, I wouldn't want any other person to feel the way that I'm feeling."
While she is worried about her kokum's health, Musqua is also glad that she and her friend are able to dance for her right outside the hospital.
"It shows that even through all of the hardship our people have been through, that we can still come together," said Musqua. "We are resilient, and we are now proud people that can do this freely. We honour our ancestors who weren't allowed to do this before."