Bell Let’s Talk awards Kehewin Native Dance Theatre funding

The Kehewin Native Dance Theatre was awarded funding from the Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund, in collaboration with Canadian Make Music Matter and the National Music Centre in Calgary, an official partner of the initiative.

The Naskwahamatowin, ‘Let’s all share in the music’ project’ will combine with Make Music Matter’s Healing in Harmony therapy model with Indigenous music, languages, and culture to help address the mental health crisis in the community and other effects of intergenerational trauma. 

“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,” said Rosa John, Artistic Director at KNDT, in a press release. 

“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.”

Participants create original songs that are used for advocacy in helping to break the stigma and raise awareness of the issues they face.

“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,” said Darcy Ataman, Make Music Matter founder and CEO, in a press release.  

Kehewin Native Dance Theatre has established itself as a haven for young people in Kehewin Cree Nation. They can reconnect with their culture, rediscover their identity, and develop new skills. 

They have amazed audiences across Canada and worldwide with performances by champion Pow Wow dancers, hoop dancers, breathtaking Contemporary Dancers, and renowned drummers, singers, and storytellers.

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 Kehewin Cree Nation empowers Indigenous youth through instruction in dance, script development, story creation, costume creation, and Native theatre. 

Over 100 youth are expected to take part with the Healing in Harmony project throughout the next year. The music they create will be integrated into KNDT shows that tour across Canada to thousands of audience members. 

“The National Music Centre believes in the power of music to heal and bring diverse communities together, we couldn’t be more proud to support this initiative,” said Andrew Mosker, National Music Centre president and CEO.

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