OHSWEKEN – A full day of singing and dancing at the 5th Six Nations District Mini-Sing had everyone smiling as they respected and appreciated the Haudenosaunee culture through song and dance last Thursday.
The Mini-Sing, held at Emily C. General Elementary School in Ohsweken, included singing groups from; I.L. Thomas Elementary; Oliver M. Smith Elementary; Kawenni:io; Emily C. General Elementary; J.C. Hill School and Oneida Immersion School.
They gathered last Thursday, April 28 to sing traditional songs and dance traditional dances like the pigeon, women’s shuffle, old moccasin and stick dance.
“This singing has been happening among our traditional communities for many generations,” said Niki Skye, NSL Cayuga language teacher at Emily C. General Elementary School. “Usually it takes place among all of the Haudenosaunee communities’ adult singing groups but this is an opportunity for younger children who are involved in their schools’ singing groups to showcase their talent.”
She said that a lot of the schools have their own culture and language programs, so it’s important to let them show what they’ve been learning.
“It’s for the children and youth who show interest in singing,” she said. The children involved range from Grade 4 to Grade 8.
The Mini-Sing began at 10 a.m. and finished up around 3 p.m.
“It was a great day. Any time the students can interact with one another, whether it be athletics or a social gathering like this, it’s great,” said Skye. “Its a very positive thing.”
Skye went to explain parts of the larger Haudenosaunee Community Sing with adults group that is a separate event from the Six Nations District Mini Sing. She said that the Haudenosaunee Community Sing groups will sometimes travel as far New York and join up to 20 other different singing groups.
“It’s a part of who we are as Haudenosaunee people — this singing is just a natural inclusion of all of our activities,” she said.
The Haudenosaunee Community Sing takes place twice per year — once in the spring and once in the fall. It begins with singing, always has some food and then ends with a group social and includes local groups like; the Old Mush Singers, Six Nations Women Singers and the Sour Spring Singers.
Skye said that this year’s Mini-Sing was a great success and that next year the event will be held at Kawenni:io.