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Music Program Begins For Indian Children

Donna Pinay, Cultural Centre

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      DECEMBER 1973      v03 n12 p12  
Winston Wuttunee and Sarain Stump entertain students at James Smith School.
Winston Wuttunee and Sarain Stump entertain students at James Smith School.
Winston Wuttunee
Winston Wuttunee

Winston Wuttunee is Coordinator of the Music Department at the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College. He is from Red Pheasant Reserve near North Battleford and is a very talented musician who can play several instruments. He has had much experience with Music as he has been interested since he was young.

In October Winston worked with the Cree Language Instructors and together they composed two songs "Nehiyasis" and "Ninestosin".

He has also visited several elementary schools to sing and meet Indian children. He begins his visit by singing and playing for the students' and then talks with them, encourages them to participate by song or dance, and has a, question-answer period. He made his first visit with Sarain Stump to James Smith School and from this he feels he has gained valuable experience in presenting Indian culture through Music in an interesting way. During his visits he has found that the children enjoy the songs "Nehiyasis" and "Ninestonsin" and is grateful to the Cree Language Instructors for their cooperation.

Winston is open to suggestions and ideas from people and at the moment he feels he is rapidly becoming aware of the needs of the people. At present he is looking for materials, such as songs and poems,that could be produced in the Native tongue.

Winston is working with Gordon Tootoosis in the Music Department and they will he developing a program for elementary Indian school children which will be at least equivalent to any existing music programs in the province. Ideas obtained from some of the best music programs in the world will be used in formulating their music program. Many existing programs used in schools do not interest children and sometimes they are turned off from advancing any further in the field of music.

Winston and Gordon plan to use a different, approach that will interest the students. Many of the songs and music used will be Indian orientated.

"In regard to my music program here at the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College, I am both pleased and anxious. I can see a great future for our musically-minded students, both in traditional and contemporary music. My mental attitude is that of a healthy man and I regard my program as being healthy" says Winston.

"As for people wanting to get ahead in music, I would offer this advice to lean on. Many times, good musicians that we hear of having gotten there by this formula - 85% work and 15% talent. I think that this speaks for itself".

Winston is presently recording some of his songs and those of the Cree Language Instructors and these will be available in cassette tapes as soon as possible. Winston is presently looking for a Cree group of singers who can compose songs and produce quality recordings that would be available for use in schools. Some of Winston's songs can be heard on the F.S.I.'s Mocassin Telegraph Radio program.

There are many developments in the Music Department and with Winston and Gordon working together, there will be more to come.

Winston is available to visit schools on the reserves or wherever requested and anyone interested should contact him at this address:

Winston Wuttunee
Music Department
Indian Cultural College
1402 Quebec Avenue
Saskatoon, Sask.