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Onion Lake youth promote resilience and coping strategies through music video

WATCH ABOVE: “Young & Happy” showcases a group of aspiring young artists from Onion Lake who are empowering themselves through words and music in a new video. Jackie Wilson reports.

The RCMP have teamed up with local stakeholders to support young talent in Onion Lake, Sask., as part of a crime prevention effort.

The result is the video Young & Happy, which showcases a group of aspiring artists from the reserve roughly 300 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

READ MORE: ‘We want to be a healthy community’: B.C. First Nation youth sing about life on the reserve

Laili Yazdani, Onion Lake RCMP’s community program officer, said the video highlights youth resilience.

“Young & Happy shares stories of courage, strength and hope with healthy coping strategies addressing issues identified by the youth,” Yazdani said.

It was written by a group of Onion Lake High School students who developed their musical talents and skills through traditional and recreational activities.

Jaeli Bruno said being part of the project and video gave a sense of belonging.

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“With the people I’m surrounded with and the music, it felt like finally people will recognize we are talented,” Bruno said.

“I just absolutely felt like myself and completely free.”

READ MORE: First Nations students from remote B.C. community find voice through music

It is a feeling echoed by Cinarah Wolfe, who also took part in the video.

“Life is a mystery and sometimes you gotta take chances to find out who you really are,” Wolfe said.

“I was scared and insecure. The video helped a lot. Now I can dream without being scared to become them.”

Students first took a drum making session, which was delivered by Onion Lake RCMP and Ekweskeet Healing Lodge.

They then completed a workshop with N’We Jinan, a non-profit mobile recording studio, for the last step of the project.

starting with traditional drum making and ending with the music video.

The video has over 80,000 views to date.

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