MusiCounts is proud to announce Kanata: Contemporary Indigenous Artists and Their Music, a learning resource that will support teachers in bringing Indigenous voices, perspectives and music into classrooms. This new resource is a product of collaboration between several Indigenous educators, advisors, and artists. This curriculum-aligned resource will empower any grade 7-12 music or social studies educator to explore and celebrate contemporary Indigenous music in the classroom in a way that is authentic, respectful, and culturally appropriate. Plus, by using this resource in your classroom and completing a final project, your school will be entered for a chance to receive thousands in prizes through MusiCounts.

Kanata Part 1: Introductory Material

Part 1 of Kanata is devoted to equipping educators and students with some of the knowledge needed to study the music of the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Silla and Rise and Jeremy Dutcher. In order to present a broad perspective and understanding of Indigenous Peoples in Canada to students, teachers will need to prepare and familiarize themselves with definitions of Indigenous Peoples and other background information relevant to the teacher resource, the evolution of Indigenous music, specific terminology, the JUNO Awards category, and issues that impact Indigenous artists and their communities. We highly recommend you start here.

Kanata Part 2: Student Activities

Part 2 of Kanata dives into the music of the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Silla and Rise and Jeremy Dutcher. Comprehensive chapters on each artist offer teachers several detailed student activities that range from critical listening, art creation, class discussion and student inquiry. Kanata Part 2 explores how social justice and environmental issues that impact and inspire the artists; it shows how their art promotes inclusiveness and diversity and the ways they combat stereotypes, racism and discrimination; it shares how they empower and give voice to youth; and most importantly, it reveals how they educate and break down barriers through their art.

This resource will be made available in French very soon.

Supplementary Video Content

Educators involved with creating this resource created an Introductory Video, to supplement topics covered in Kanata Part 1.  This video can be used to educate students and teachers alike about the history of Indigenous peoples and their music.

Jeremy Dutcher, the Snotty Nose Rez Kids and Silla and Rise each created a Behind the Music video to compliment discussions about their music in Kanata Part 2. These videos can be used to enhance your students’ learning experience, and to ensure artist perspectives and viewpoints are correctly represented. We suggest you begin teaching your students about each of the artists included in this resource with excerpts from their respective videos:

Final Capstone Project: Kanata Artist Profile

Kanata culminates in a capstone project that will invite classes to work together to complete an Artist Profile on an Indigenous artist from their province, territory, or region. Classes can submit their final project to MusiCounts by May 24 2021, and be entered for a chance to receive 1 of 10 $1,000 grants to support music education at their school. More information about this Capstone Project can be found in Kanata Part 2. The deadline to submit this is May 24, 2021.

Curriculum Connections and Outcomes

In the creation of this resource, various Canadian curricula in music, arts education, social studies and Indigenous studies were consulted from grades 7-12. In this research, four core, interdisciplinary themes emerged. These themes anchor each of the activities included throughout Kanata

  • Language revitalization
  • Cultural identity and expression
  • Social justice (human rights, participation, equity)
  • Environmental justice (land rights, protection)

That said, the lessons and activities included in this document should align nicely with province-mandated learning outcomes.


Resource Author

Sherryl Sewepagaham - Music Educator & Music Therapist

Cultural Advisors

Elaine Bomberry - Indigenous performing arts activist/manager

Sarah Pocklington - Indigenous music advisor 

Kathy Kettler - Inuit throat-singer, Nukariik

Cindy Paul - Métis singer-songwriter and visual artist

Resource Development Advisory Committee

Jeremy Albert - First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Advisor, Elk Island Public Schools 

Dr. Lori Doloff - Associate Professor of Music Education, University of Toronto 

Mark Reid - District Resource Teacher, Vancouver School Board & 2013 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year 

Nicole Schutz -  Music Specialist, Edmonton Public School District 

Nick Godsoe - Manager of Programs & Education, MusiCounts


Jeremy Dutcher

Snotty Nose Rez Kids (Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce and Darren “Young D” Metz)

Silla and Rise (Charlotte Qamaniq, Cynthia Pitsiulak and Eric Vani)