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Educator Profile: Grace Gadon, K-3 Music Specialist, Elizabeth Rummel School, AB
January 17, 2024
Grace Gadon’s class taking on the Secret Path through music. Grace’s full lesson plan will be shared in future newsletters.
‘As an elementary music teacher who is constantly looking for impactful ways to weave Indigenous learning, particularly about residential schools to my students, I came across the song “Run” by Indigenous folk-gospel Juno-award winner, William Prince. Initially chosen for a musical performance for our Terry Fox assembly, when I looked more closely at the lyrics and ‘felt’ the rawness of the song, I thought of Secret Path, which I had been reading again as we neared Truth and Reconciliation Week.
This connection between story and song unfolded into a powerful collaborative musical study and performance with one of my Grade 3 music classes. The deeper we looked at Chanie Wenjack’s journey home in Secret Path, the more powerful Prince’s lyrics became for us. “One foot in front of the other for it could mean tomorrow for someone.”
Our study of connecting music with the understanding of residential schools, represented by stories like Chanie’s, led to an opportunity to perform for and learn from Îyârhe Nakoda Knowledge Keeper, Tracy Stevens and her family’s experiences in residential schools and day schools. We used the Stoney Nakoda Dictionary to translate some of the lyrics in “Run” to the Stoney language while also working at translating others to French as we are a French immersion class.
Although our “journey” learning from Chanie through music is far from over, this study provided a powerful, rich opportunity for both myself and my students to contribute to reconciliACTION this year and I know it will serve as a tool for future reconciliACTIONS with my music students for years to come.’
Grace Gadon (She/Her)
B. Mus, B. Ed
K-3 Music Specialist
Elizabeth Rummel School
“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”
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