Students from kindergarten to Grade 12 have come together to form the Soaring Eagles Drummers & Dancers. Led by the schools’ First Nations liaison Laurie Oulette, the group has learned to drum and dance in preparation for their first performance today. They will be performing at Chinook School Division’s School Community Council spring forum in Swift Current as the entertainment during the dinner. “We’ve been practising since November and they’re all really excited,” explained Oulette. She has been working at each school with the group twice a week, with the older more experienced dancers helping to teach the younger ones. The students decided on the name themselves, which was blessed by an elder. The eagle represents a balance between academic and cultural education, while the concept of soaring represents moving through each grade. The Soaring Eagles are sponsored by the school division as well as Nekaneet First Nation and Sunworks Arts and Cultural Society. The Buffalocalf Singers, formerly known as the Cypress Hills Drummers, have been teaching the students how to drum and sing. “We’re trying to pass it on to the younger generation so they’ll have a good idea of our Indian culture and traditions to carry them down the road,” explained Russell Buffalocalf of the Buffalocalf Singers. Drumming, singing and dancing isn’t something that comes naturally on the first try, he said. “It takes a lot of years of practice, whether you’re a dancer or a drummer,” he stated. “That’s why we’re trying to get started with these youngsters.” Buffalocalf added the drum beat, which represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth, can bring a sense of healing. “It’s meant to bring healing and happiness,” he said. “Sometimes when I feel down I go to a powwow and listen to the drum and it brings me back to life.” Buffalocalf made a large drum and a hand drum as gifts for the schools to use. Parents and Nekaneet band members helped sew the dresses for the young dancers. In the future, Oulette hopes the Soaring Eagles will perform at powwows, round dances and community events.
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