The students of Kawenna on:we Primary Mohawk Immersion were asked to open the Tribe Called Red concert held at Queen’s University in Kingston on March 19th. The students were very enthusiastic and with very little prompting they were able to recite an approximately fifteen minute Thanksgiving Opening Address entirely in Kanyen’kehà (Mohawk).
The children looked especially traditional in their ribbon shirts and longhouse dresses. As they recited the Thanksgiving Address, it was obvious how excited they were when they got a bit of the giggles. However like the true champions they are, they shook it off to finish the address. Every now and then their voices would taper off but the teachers were able get them back on track easy enough.
Kawenna on:we Primary Mohawk Immersion is the first school of its kind on Tyendinaga. It runs from Senior Kindergarten to grade four. One parent had this to say about the event, “My little one was so excited about this concert, it’s nice that we get to do stuff like this, it’s good practice for the kids.”
The Four Directions Aboriginal Centre in Kingston provided a scrumptious dinner to the children, parents, and teachers of Kawenna on:we as well as a Tribe Called Red and other people involved with the concert.
In 2014, the “Tribe Called Red” earned two Juno Award nominations for Breakthrough Group of the Year and Electronic Album of the Year. Their website, atribecalledred.com, describes them as, “Bursting forth from Canada’s capital, native Producer and DJ crew A Tribe Called Red is making an impact on the global electronic scene with a truly unique sound. ATCR is made up of three members – two-time Canadian DMC Champion DJ Shub, DJ NDN and Bear Witness”.
Theland and Elaine Kicknosoway were both present in full regalia to encourage concert goers to dance, although the crowd needed little coaxing.
The concert was part of the Annual Queen’s University 2014 Aboriginal Awareness Week. The week long events included a women’s Full Moon Ceremony at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, a film screening, “A Lesser Blessed” and director talk with Anita Doron, Drum Day: Come Learn Traditional Drumming at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, and a Celebration of Indigenous Arts, Culture and Dance in the ARC Main Gym.
Vanessa McCourt, Aboriginal Advisor at Queen’s University Four Directions Aboriginal Centre (QUFDAC), with Queen’s Native Student Association (QNSA) work together to promote Aboriginal culture on Queen’s University campus. Guswenta’s Indigenous Knowledge Initiative (GIKI), also mandated to create Aboriginal awareness, co-organized the Tribe Called Red concert with QUFDAC and QNSA. It was the largest event of the week with an attendance of about 300 people according to McCourt.