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Wuttunee Returns To Institute New Course

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      NOVEMBER 1973      v03 n10 p15  
Winston Wuttunee Indian music in Saskatchewan has been given fresh impetus with the recent return of Winston Wuttunee to the province.

Winston has been hired by the F.S.I.'s Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College in Saskatoon to institute a program of Indian music appreciation for use by teachers in the classroom.

The music program is one of a number of directions the College is moving in to develop an Indian orientated curriculum for schools.

To his new job Winston brings a wealth of talent and music experience. Born on the Red Pheasant Reserve near North Battleford, Winston began his musical career at the tender age of ten with a study of the piano "and it's been music ever since."

Winston later moved with his family to North Battleford and then to Chilliwack B.C.. In 1960 he joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a musician in their band "because my music teacher had joined and so I did too." He stayed with the army until 1963 and then worked for two years in London, Ontario.

In 1965 he again joined the army this time as a clarinet player with the Royal 22nd Band and stayed with the army until accepting his job with the Cultural College in August of this year.

It was in high school while he was involved in musical productions that he "just kind of realized it was music all the way".

Winston joined the army "because It was good way to get musical training" and that training paid off because now he is a virtuoso on the clarinet, saxophone and guitar as well as the piano.

Winston's main strength, however, is his songwriting ability and he has to date composed more than 20 songs. Although he has also worked in a rock and roll band, Winston prefers both to write and perform folk music because, "that is the way I can express myself best."

His interpretation of a good song is "a song from an Indian heart" and in his music he puts his feelings as an Indian into lyrics.

Of all the songs he has written, Winston's own favourite is called "See The Arrow".

See the arrow
sail across the skyway
going from the east
and west to the sun.

Take that arrow,
great mighty arrow,
this is the love
that your beauty has won.

And when you cry
your children shall die,
but when you long
your children are strong.

Borrow from the ages
a hundred years before us.
black hair and brown eyes
and ways of the deer.

Come softly to me
near Necheemos
lets made a baby
that the great spirit adores.

Winston's ambitions for his music see the "linking of the past with the present, the incorporating of Indian tradition into my songs."

"Of course, though, anything written by an Indian is Indian music, since it all comes from an Indian heart."

In his work for the Cultural College, Winston is putting together a 50 hour course dealing with contemporary Indian choral music that will be tried experimentally this winter at the band school on the James Smith Reserve.

The course will include listening to recorded music as well as teaching the children to perform Indian songs. In the process the children will learn the meaning of harmony and melody and how it is used in Indian music and will be encouraged to perform Indian music, as for example in Christmas concerts.

Eventually the College hopes to put together a multi-media package using a number of teaching aids that could be used to teach Indian music at any school in the province.

Winston has great hopes for the course because it is something he wants to pass on to the children. Music to him is a "way of life; a way of life that leads to a happy outlook, a life of harmony and melody."