TYENDINAGA – Kahnawake, Six Nations and Tyendinaga Kanyen’keha Immersion programs gathered for the 6th Annual Kanyen’keha Variety Show on Thursday April 3rd to show off their Kanyen’keha speaking abilities. Ella Boomhour (5) and Ellie Claus (9) opened the night with the Thanksgiving Address. Both girls enunciated quite skillfully and required little to no prompting.
The first appearance began with a few giggling of toddlers, just barely potty trained, singing to their heart’s delight. The Totahne Language Nest sang Kanataronkhonwe and Tohsa Seksa’a. The little boy was very enthusiastic singing as loud as he could, but that didn’t stop him from realizing the girls weren’t singing. He stops looks around and says, “Come on you guys, sing!” as his arms stammered for effect. The audience couldn’t help but laugh while he led them back into song.
The funniest show of the night Six Nation’s Owira’a Ori:wase. Two men wore a shirt on their arm for the body and their forearms and hands were their legs and feet. They sported a Pull Up around their wrists. Someone else’s arms were through the sleeves of the t-shirt and they flailed about without rhyme or reason. The audience couldn’t help but LOL especially when it was babies’ feeding time. Artie Martin rapped quite skillfully in Kanyen’keha to finish off their set.
Quinte Mohawk School Enrichment Class performed Tsyonathonwishen’neha and Kawenna on:we children acted in Oh nontsye:ren ne ohkwa:ri tsi ken’nehentahsesha. With the number of children in the skits the evening could have been something very different, however, the children were fearless and the audience proud to hear our young children say, for example, “tohsa satahonhsatat ne thiken!! Tohsa sotsi akta niyahase ne thi!!” with ease.
All of the performers did a great job. Kahnawake sang Conway Twitty and did it justice with their rendition of his song Ratiwennahne:rats all in Kanyen’ keha. The last show of the night was about how the bear clan learned about the medicines from Tyendinaga’s own Shatiwennakaratats Adult Kanyen’keha Immersion program.
Karihwawishon Brown says the variety show started when Kahnawake wrote a letter asking for participation from other Kayen’keha Immersion programs to celebrate Language Awareness week in the communities.
The children will grow up with a strong sense of who they are this is something that has historically been absent from previous generations. Their sense of self will replace the shame felt by those of us who do not speak any of the language of the Haudenosaunee.