Innu youth make powerful video about Natuashish | Provincia…

Innu youth make powerful video about Natuashish | Provincia…

A music video featuring seven Innu youth from Natuashish has racked up over 100,000 views on YouTube in just a few days.

The song, titled ‘Mushuau Uassits’ is a hip-hop song with lyrics written by the youth and David Hodges. Hodges works with N’we Jinan, a non-profit that travels to First Nation, Inuit and Metis communities to teach youth the fundamentals of sound recording, music production, songwriting, vocals and performance.

Cavelle Rich and Jersey Tshakapesh, two of the youth, spoke to SaltWire about making the video. 

Their first language is Innu-aimun and they had help translating some of the questions SaltWire posed by Mushuau Innu Natuashish School vice principal Nora Pasteen.

They said they did the video partially because they had nothing to do, a problem kids have that is highlighted in the song.

When asked what inspired the lyrics they said it’s how they feel about Natuashish. The two girls said Garfield Rich and Sam Rich, two of the other participants, wrote the lyrics that inspired them the most.

“No more fighting, no more drinking, there’s people dying, there’s people missing,” read some of the lyrics referenced.

“We lost so many people that’s why we numb the pain, but the future is bright and there will come a day, so much racism, I want to run away, but this is my home, my land, I love this place,” another part reads.

The girls told SaltWire they want people to listen to their words and voices about Natuashish  — and their concerns.

Hodges said the message from this song is powerful.

“This song is a call out to the adults, that they need to be more responsible and listen more to their children,” he said. “What we’re trying to do with this project is spring people into action and also show there are positive things happening in Natuashish.”

Hodges sat down with the kids and talked to them about what they wanted in the song and it went from there, he said. The youth wrote down ideas, themes and lyrics and he helped them structure it and do the technical work.

“I told them right away I’m just here to help produce it,” he said. “I do the technical side but the song, the meanings, had to come from them.”

Hodges said a follow-up program focuses on capacity building locally, and he hopes to do that in Natuashish.

“Now that it’s positioned itself in a positive way we’re helping Innu Education try to get more dollars for its arts programming. Sometimes it takes projects like this to wake people up and realize there are youth in these communities that are looking for these opportunities to develop their skills in the arts.”

Now the seven youth, Tyrese Rich, Gwen Poker, Garfield Rich, Sam Rich, Cole Piwas, Cavelle Rich, and Jersey Tshakapesh, are fundraising to go to Montreal in April to perform their song at an N’we Jinan showcase with other youth from across Canada who participated in the program.

The video can be found here:

More information on the N’we Jinan visit

National News Jon Cartu

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