Indigenous teenagers perform healing dances to help loved ones, others recover from COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Indigenous youth perform Jingle Dress Dances to help those recovering from COVID-19'
Indigenous youth perform Jingle Dress Dances to help those recovering from COVID-19
WATCH: When COVID-19 hits your family, there's not much you can do aside from following public guidelines and like many illnesses, the people around you can feel helpless. But, one Indigenous teenager and her friend are taking action and helping the best way they know how. Taz Dhaliwal has more on the daily healing Jingle Dress Dance the girls are performing for those recovering from COVID. – Sep 27, 2021

Meadow Musqua’s family has been hit hard by the Delta variant as her beloved kokum — grandmother — and a few other relatives are currently in hospital, fighting for their lives.

Musqua and her friend Kiana Francis are dancing for their recovery.

The 17-year-old and Francis have been performing healing Jingle Dress Dances on the lawn outside of the Regina General Hospital every evening for the past week.

“COVID-19 has affected my family tremendously. It’s affected me in ways that I can’t really explain it myself, in ways that it makes me want to break down every single day knowing how much of my family is getting sick,” said Musqua.

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She adds her grandmother, an elder, is finally doing better. She feels the traditional way of dancing and prayers are making a difference.

“She was barely able to talk, to catch her breath just by talking she wasn’t able to get up and I heard she wasn’t eating,” Musqua explained.

Meadow Musqua (left) danced at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building during a ceremony honouring the remains of 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school. Courtesy: Meadow Musqua

She says her kokom’s breathing has now improved and she’s moving around more now after coming out of the ICU.

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Musqua’s says anyone still questioning COVID-19 needs to realize its severity, go get vaccinated if they haven’t already, and follow all health precautions in order to protect others and limit the spread of the deadly virus.

“It’s not something to laugh about. You can’t be going out, people out here thinking it’s a joke and it’s not,” Musqua stated.

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The young dancer says they were initially told by hospital staff that they needed special permission to dance on the lawn there and do interviews with the media there, but as two Indigenous individuals, they couldn’t believe they needed permission to do healing dances on land that their ancestors have inhabited for millennia.

“It’s an honour to be here, to be who I am, to dance for the people in a country that was built to cut us down,” Musqua said.

“I just thank the creator for letting this happen, for letting us to still be here, to dance a new day, to dance a new day, to be able to be healthy, so we can heal our elders, our relatives, and people out of our relations.

Musqua says her and Francis will keep dancing for their loved ones and others in the hospital battling COVID until they’re better.

“Meadow is the strongest person that I know, she came out here by herself the first day, you know she made that first step, she didn’t have to,” Francis said.

“She could have just sat back and watched, she knew what she had to do, she knows these ways are true and they help,” she added.


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