We were offered many teachings from Tsuu T’ina Wellness and Knowledge Keeper, Hal Eagletail and Cree Metis Elder Kerrie Moore. We learned how to make a hand drum and how the drum could foster empathy and understanding between people as well has deepen our connection to the planet. We learned that the drum is the heartbeat of Mother Earth and how the sound and vibration can have a healing effect. We were also gifted songs to bring back to our school community.
I returned to my classroom after the workshop filled with excitement and ready to share my new learning with my grade two students. I showed them the video of the Cree morning song; “Waniska”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPfe7jjQ9Zs
The students watched with wide eyes; curious and captivated. They asked to watch it again, and again and again. I asked the students why they wanted to hear the song again and they shared profound answers. My teaching partner had the wisdom to record the students’ answers: “The song feels like it fixes my brain,” “The song makes me feel good, because it isn’t in my language, but it still feels good to my heart,” and “ The song gives me hope and energy.”
This song had value and purpose for all of the students in our class, while at the same time allowing us to intentionally create a space for Indigenous perspectives in our classroom.
From that day forward, Waniska has taken root in the halls and classrooms of Guy Weadick School. Growing each day as more voices learn the song and the accompanying teachings. It is sung to start the day, it is sung to the trees, it is sung in the garden, it is sung in our hearts. Will you sing with us too?