Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) will welcome Sherryl Sewepagaham, music educator and award-winning musician, for this year's second annual First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) school tour on May 30 - June 8.
With a music career spanning more than 20 years, Ms. Sewepagaham has racked up an impressive array of accolades and awards. As a co-founding member of Asani, an Aboriginal women's vocal trio, she received a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award, a Canadian A Capella Hall of Fame Award, and a Juno nomination. In 2014, she released a solo CD, Splashing the Water Loudly. Her music is also featured on the Aboriginal People's Television Network series, Chaos and Courage.
Ms. Sewepagaham will work with students to create percussive and vocal sounds that accompany and interpret legends, and will encourage schools to assess and analyze how the music may evoke thoughts, images and feelings. Students will learn songs in the oral tradition, hear about their historical significance, and perform pieces which incorporate traditional rhythms, language, and drum-playing techniques. A Métis jigging lesson will be combined with teachings on the significance of the sash and cart, along with a brief history of the Métis people in Canada. At some schools, there will be draws to win individual classroom presentations.
"Upon the end of the workshops and presentations, I hope that students can take away an understanding and appreciation of the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to Canada's history and relationships through the diversity in their music, stories, and dance," says Ms. Sewepagaham.
"It's an exciting opportunity to host Ms. Sewepagaham," says Darrell Willier, PWSD's FMNI Coordinator. "Her presentations engage students in activities celebrating FNMI music, dance and stories, with emphasis on their historical, cultural and social importance."
Mr. Willier says the goal of the FNMI guest speaker series is twofold. "First, it provides our FNMI students with positive role models which they can identify with from a cultural perspective. Secondly, 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. This year's tour promises the same."
The 15-school tour schedule includes:
Monday, May 30:
8:45 a.m.: Beaverlodge Regional High School
1:00 p.m.: Beaverlodge Elem. School
Tuesday, May 31:
8:45 a.m.: Robert W. Zahara Public School, Sexsmith
1:00 p.m.: Bezanson School
Wednesday, June 1:
8:45 a.m.: Hythe Regional School
1:00 p.m.: Harry Balfour School, Grande Prairie
Thursday, June 2:
8:45 a.m.: Penson School, Grovedale
1:00 p.m.: Helen E. Taylor School, Wembley
Friday, June 3:
9:00 a.m.: Woking School
1:00 p.m.: Eaglesham School
Monday, June 6:
8:45 a.m.: Wembley Elementary School
Tuesday, June 7:
9:00 a.m.: Rycroft School
1:00 p.m.: Bonanza School
Wednesday, June 8:
8:45 a.m.: Clairmont Community School
1:00 p.m.: Teepee Creek School
Photo Caption: The upcoming PWSD FNMI school tour will feature Sherryl Sewepagaham, a music educator and award-winning musician.