Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) is pleased to announce that this week’s annual First Nations Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) school tour is currently underway and features Cree musicians Jason Chamakese and Robert Gladue. The tour will include stops at eight schools throughout the Division on October 27-30, 2014.
“It is with great pleasure that we bring Jason Chamakese and Robert Gladue to our schools to present their musical talents,” says Darrell Willier, FNMI Education Coordinator at PWSD, who also organizes the well-anticipated annual FNMI school tours. “It will be their third visit to our schools and I’m looking forward to another successful tour. Students and staff are in for a treat that they will remember for a very long time.”
“The goal of the FNMI guest speaker school tour is twofold: it provides our FNMI students with positive role models which they can identify with from a cultural perspective, and the guest speakers also help to break down negative stereotypes that may still exist regarding FNMI people. We have been fortunate in the past to secure high-calibre guests whose achievements have served as an inspiration to everyone, and I know our students and staff will learn a lot from this musical duo,” adds Mr. Willier.
Hailing from the Pelican Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, Jason Chamakese began playing the traditional flute more than ten years ago. “Through the music and the stories that Robert and I share, we hope to instill a positive message of open-mindedness,” says Mr. Chamakese. “We want our listeners to feel as though they have learned something positive about First Nations culture that moves them forward in their interactions with people of all cultures.”
Mr. Chamakese performed at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games with a Saskatchewan-based dance troupe selected to represent the province’s First Nations people. The troupe was initially scheduled to perform four shows at the Four Host Nations Pavilion, however, another show was added to accommodate the demand.
Robert Gladue, from the Waterhen Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, began singing and drumming at the age of 16. He uses his musical gifts to inspire youth to embrace their culture.
Mr. Chamakese and Mr. Gladue began performing together in 2010. “Robert adds such a wonderful element to the performance with his singing,” says Mr. Chamakese. “Like me, he has the same dream of seeing the world through our music.” In October, 2013, the duo was invited to perform at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and remained there an extra week on a three-show tour through the countryside towns of Rothesay, Oban, and Dunoon.
The pair have fused their musical talents into a performance which includes a combination of contemporary round-dance songs and old Cree songs, creating a unique musical and inspirational experience for audiences. The tour’s scheduled stops will include the following schools:
Monday, October 27
9:00 a.m. presentation at Wembley Elementary School, Wembley
1:00 p.m. presentation at Teepee Creek School, Teepee Creek
Tuesday, October 28
9:00 a.m. presentation at Bezanson School, Bezanson
12:45 p.m. presentation at Ridgevalley School, Ridgevalley
Wednesday, October 29
9:00 a.m. presentation at R. W. Zahara Public School, Sexsmith
1:00 p.m. presentation at Hythe Regional School, Hythe
Thursday, October 30
9:00 a.m. presentation at Woking School, Woking
1:00 p.m. presentation at Penson School, Grovedale
Photo caption: Jason Chamakese (left), traditional flute, and Robert Gladue (right), voice and drum, present their musical and inspirational message to eight schools within Peace Wapiti Public School Division during the week of October 27-30, 2014.