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N'we Jinan project helps First Nations youth find voice through music

Youth from remote First Nations communities are getting a chance to express themselves in song through an initiative called N'we Jinan.

'Arts has a real power to shape culture and to shape communities,' music producer says

Chisasibi First Nation youth participated in the N'we Jinan project, which was started by Montreal producer and educator David Hodges. (David Hodges)

Youth from remote First Nations communities are getting a chance to express themselves in song through an initiative called N'we Jinan.

The program was spearheaded by musician David Hodges and Joshua Iserhoff, who is the former grand chief of the Cree Nation Youth Council of Quebec.

"I really believe … arts has a real power to shape culture and to shape communities," said Hodges.

"We basically worked… to bring music studios into all the Cree communities in Quebec, mainly because there's an absence of music programming and arts," said Hodges.

With a lot of undiscovered talent in communities, projects like his help youth find their inner musician, he said.

The response to the program has been overwhelming and has had a lasting impact on Hodges.

"I think one of the things I've learned from this is the youth want to be heard. I think that a lot of times, we're not sure how to be able to … get them to be heard in a constructive way," said Hodges.

The N'we Jinan project is touring Quebec Cree communities until March 2016. 

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