Indigenous teens in Surrey come together through music

The high school students started the songwriting process with a single question: What does it mean to be an Indigenous student in Surrey, B.C.?
A group of Indigenous teens in Surrey, B.C. were brought together in 2017 to make music with the mobile production team N'we Jinan. (N'we Jinan/Surrey School District)

This year a group of nine high school students from nine different nations were brought together for one week to write and record a song together — and to make a music video.

They began with a single question: What does it mean to be an Indigenous student in Surrey, B.C.?

"The song that me and my friends made is Hide and Seek and it's about our culture, or our back story being hidden from us whether we like it or not," said Theresa Henderson, a Métis teen.

"And we're going out and we're finding it for ourselves, and learning who we are."

The teens go to four different high schools in Surrey and some had never met before the songwriting project began. Surrey currently has the largest urban Indigenous population in Metro Vancouver, which is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

They were brought together through N'we Jinan, a non-profit that helps youth share their personal narratives, one song at a time, using a mobile recording studio.

N'we Jinan has traveled to more than 30 Indigenous communities across Canada and has released five albums to date.

The Surrey teens' song is featured on the latest N'we Jinan album, The Silent War Volume 5.

The 'Hide and Seek' crew performing at a N'we Jinan album launch party in Vancouver. (Chantelle Bellrichard)

To hear more about the song 'Hide and Seek' and what it means to the teens who wrote it, click the 'listen' button above.