Meskanahk Ka Nipa Wit Youth Dance Troupe performs in Hawaii

The Meskanahk Ka Nipa Wit Youth Dancers attended the World Indigenous People’s Conference on Education

A Maskwacis Cree dancer awes the audience during their performances in Hawaii in May.

A Maskwacis Cree dancer awes the audience during their performances in Hawaii in May.

Submitted by Kevin Buffalo

Coordinator/ Vice Principal- Meskanahk Ka Nipa Wit School

The Meskanahk Ka Nipa Wit Youth Dancers attended the World Indigenous People’s Conference on Education from May 19-26, 2014. Our youth group went there to present and to dance for the Indigenous people. There were people from New Zealand, Australia, USA, Brazil, Europe, South America, Asia and other parts of Canada.

While we were there, the 21 youth who attended plus 10 chaperones from Maskwacis were teamed up with 9 youth from Paul Band and 7 chaperones. Our presentation was originally set for a group of 30 on Thursday, May 22 at 11 a.m.; however there were over 75 people trying to observe. They tried to cram themselves into the adjoining meeting rooms and it was too packed. Therefore, adults and youth performers decided to go out into the courtyard to dance, as it was 88°F on that sunny day (36°C). Suddenly we had over 250 people come out when they heard the drumming.

What a spectacular event!

We completed our presentation (that was now 45 minutes longer than slated) with a round-dance and followed-up with pictures. The response was totally positive and we welcomed the feedback, which included four invitations to the following places: Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and California.

Later that evening, we did on-stage performances (15 minutes) and although some presenters went over their time limit, people waited for our showcase. There was a standing ovation and we were later invited to come back for the powwow in October at Hawaii (with all-expenses paid as long as we can get there). We will have to see how that goes. Another group went to a remote location to assist in development of Stone Foundation to protect homes from floods. We thank the people of Hawaii for sharing their knowledge, their stories, and welcoming us to their traditional territories.

Some of the activities the students participated in were:

– La Opio Youth Day at the second richest high school in America; where one of the singers performed there at noon (Emerson Samson *see picture). That was well received and many of the pictures and videos are posted on the WiPCE Facebook page;

– Attended the Polynesian Village where the students observed and participated in the dance/ drumming activities, performances, Luau and capped-off with a show performance with the fire-twirling show;

– Attended the Weyani School of higher learning and observed the practice of Technology and Media Arts- that group has won seven Emmy Awards for their student-led films and cinematography;

– An ecological farm with young people working there that provides organic fruit and vegetables world-wide (we enjoyed dinner there)

– Some students went to get a mud bath at Taro Farm

– Pearl Harbor Tour

– Daily swimming in the Pacific Ocean (Waikiki Beach)

– We stayed at the Ohana East hotel (1½ blocks from the ocean)

– Shopping for treasures and gifts

– Many of the students tried surfing and were successful

It was a remarkable experience that the students will probably always remember their entire lives. We have much admiration and are truly thankful for the support to make this event such a huge success. This includes all the fundraising and behind the scenes efforts that the parents/adults and even the youth were a part of. It took much planning in order for this to occur. Our youth dancers are now being requested to perform at shows and other venues in the near future.