Students of Four Directions secondary have released a new song and music video, with lyrics inspired by the May announcement by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc that a survey of land near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School had revealed about 200 probable unmarked graves.
The school project was the result of a one-week intensive program provided by the N’we Jinan mobile production studio, which seeks to teach students about sound recording, music production, songwriting and performance.
Four Directions secondary is an academic program taught through an Indigenous lens, intended for Indigenous students who are more likely to succeed in smaller, more personal and flexible settings.
The project features nine students from grades 11 to 12, including Skyler Oakes, Mileo Merrill, Jaynus Lecoy Peters, Draiden Ambridge, Evan Tarlit, Kevin Lavoie-Dick, Flower Dick, Charlie Cuthbert and Daisy South.
“It’s just been an incredible journey to watch our students, all of our students, behind the scenes, supporting and encouraging their peers through this experience. It’s been an absolutely phenomenal learning journey,” said Four Directions math teacher Courtney Bruin.
David Hodges, one of the N’we Jinan producers, said the program is intended to support young leaders through a journey of creativity.
“Your story is your strength. Everyone has a story to tell, and those stories can be valuable sources of resilience and strength,” he said.
Another producer involved, who goes by the name Drei, was the videographer and facilitator for the project.
Explaining the process, Drei said the project was created during a four-day process, with songwriting and lyrics on day one, individual recordings on day two, video shoots around Kamloops on day three and a storyline and cinematic shots wrapping up day four.
“We’re just the facilitators,” he said. “The students came up with everything — the words, they recorded their parts, in front of the camera, performing and everything.”
Following the presentation, the students involved gave some feedback to the producers who had helped them, with comments like, “I feel stronger now,” and “It really took us out of our comfort space to make this video, I’m not going to lie.”
The nearly four-minute music video, called Together We Thrive, can be found on the N’we Jinan YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2ke4yTbnUc.