Make Music Matter partners with Kehewin Native Dance Theatre and National Music Centre to deliver new mental health support and empower Indigenous voices in central Alberta
‘Naskwahamâtowin – Let’s all share in the music’ project named recipient of Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund
Toronto, January 19, 2023 – Announced this week, Kehewin Native Dance Theatre (KNDT) in Kehewin Cree Nation, Alberta, has been awarded funding from the Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund for a new initiative in collaboration with Canadian NGO Make Music Matter (MMM). National Music Centre (NMC) in Calgary is also an official partner of the initiative.
The ‘Naskwahamâtowin – Let’s all share in the music’ project will combine MMM’s Healing in Harmony therapy model with Indigenous music, languages, and culture to help address the mental health crisis in the community and other devastating effects of intergenerational trauma. Beyond gaining tools for personal healing, participants will create original songs that will be used for advocacy to help break stigma and raise awareness of the issues they face.
“We are thrilled to receive a Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund grant to help us expand our multidisciplinary approach to cultivating wellness through the arts,” says Rosa John, Artistic Director at KNDT. “Along with our partners Make Music Matter, we will offer new and innovative arts-based programming to address a lack of mental health support in our community, help amplify Indigenous voices, and fuel critical conversations on local, national, and international levels.”
“It’s our hope that this collaboration could help establish a new framework for trauma-informed mental health support through the arts for marginalized groups across Canada,” explains Darcy Ataman, Make Music Matter founder and CEO.
“National Music Centre believes in the power of music to heal and bring diverse communities together, so we couldn’t be prouder to support this initiative,” said Andrew Mosker, National Music Centre president and CEO. “NMC is always looking for ways to bring music and healing beyond the walls of our building, and this is just one of several new initiatives that we’re exploring in other regions of the province and country.”
KNDT has established itself as a haven for young people in Kehewin Cree Nation where they can reconnect with their culture, rediscover their identity, and develop new skills. Over 100 youth are expected to take part in the Healing in Harmony project throughout the next year including individuals from surrounding reserves. The music they create will be integrated into KNDT shows that tour across Canada to thousands of audience members.
About Kehewin Native Dance Theatre
Kehewin Native Dance Theatre (KNDT) offers community workshops, training, educational resources, and performances that incorporate Indigenous theatre, dance, music, and storytelling. Now in its 12th year, their annual Summer Arts Training program on the Kehewin Cree Nation in Alberta empowers Indigenous youth through instruction in dance, script development, story creation, costume creation, and Native theatre. They have dazzled audiences across Canada and worldwide with performances by champion Pow Wow dancers, hoop dancers, breathtaking Contemporary Dancers, and renowned drummers, singers, and storytellers. www.kehewinnativedancetheatre.com
About Make Music Matter
Make Music Matter uses the creative process as a therapeutic tool to help empower marginalized individuals and communities to recover, reintegrate, and reclaim their future with hope and dignity. Its innovative Healing in Harmony music therapy model has been clinically proven to help reduce PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Healing in Harmony has helped transform the lives of over 11,000 individuals in eight countries worldwide. Participants emerge with a renewed sense of agency and self-worth. Their original songs are professionally produced and released globally, serving as advocacy tools to promote human rights and combat stigma. https://makemusicmatter.org
About National Music Centre | Centre National de Musique
The National Music Centre (NMC) has a mission to amplify the love, sharing, and understanding of music. It is preserving and celebrating Canada’s music story inside its home at Studio Bell in the heart of the East Village in Mohkinstsis (Calgary) on Treaty 7 territory. NMC is the home to four Canadian music halls of fame, including the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Quebec’s ADISQ Hall of Fame. Featuring musical instruments, artifacts, recording equipment, and memorabilia, the NMC Collection spans over 450 years of music history and innovation. A registered charity with programs that include exhibitions, artist development, performance, and education, NMC is inspiring a new generation of music lovers. For more information about NMC’s onsite activities, please visit studiobell.ca. To check out the NMC experience online, including video-on-demand performances, made-in-Canada stories, and highly entertaining educational content, visit amplify.nmc.ca.
For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:
Kehewin Native Dance Theatre:
Rosa John, Artistic Director
Make Music Matter:
Rebecca Purver, Media and Communications Manager
National Music Centre:
Julijana Capone, Senior Publicist