Saskatchewan

Saskatoon teacher's rendition of national anthem in Cree hits home for viewers

A Saskatoon teacher's rendition of the national anthem in Cree to begin the Fred Sasakamoose hockey tournament in Saskatoon has been shared online hundreds of times, with people praising her voice and Cree singing.

Falynn Baptiste says Cree language a blessing, big part of First Nations identity

Falynn Baptiste was raised in Red Pheasant First Nation, and now lives and works in Saskatoon as a teacher. After seeing the response to a video of her singing the national anthem in Cree, however, she wants to make more time to record more songs in Cree. (Submitted by Falynn Baptiste, photo taken by Niki Xie)

There's never been a more exciting time to be First Nations, in Falynn Baptiste's eyes, something that struck home for her when seeing people's response to a video of her singing in Cree.

Her rendition of the national anthem in Cree to begin the Fred Sasakamoose hockey tournament in Saskatoon has been shared online hundreds of times, with people praising her voice and Cree singing.

"There seems to be a movement happening where people are motivated to preserve and to embrace the First Nation people and preserve the language and revitalize the language for the generations to come," the Saskatoon teacher said. "Perhaps that's why the response is so strong."

Baptiste's parents, who hail from Cumberland House and Red Pheasant First Nation, both spoke Cree and shared the language with her.

For her, it's a blessing to be able to speak it now.

"It's something that permeates the being and helps you to identify with yourself and understand your traditions and your customs."

Falynn Baptiste sings in Cree at the Fred Sasakamoose hockey tournament:

She first sang the national anthem in Cree during the Olympic torch relay when it came through North Battleford in 2009, where she was teaching at the time.

"I don't think it had the same impact as it has now," she said, noting her latest rendition has garnered much more feedback. "I'm actually quite overwhelmed by its response."

People throughout Canada and even a few people based out of the U.S. — "so essentially people from all over Turtle Island"— have reached out and praised her for the song.

It's also sparked a thought to perhaps sing and record Cree songs for an album.

"It's always on my mind and it's part of my plans and especially after the response for this, maybe it's time that I get on that and actually finish a project or do a project," she said, chuckling.
 

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