Indigenous artists contributing to truth and reconciliation through music and dance

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Rising Indigenous Performers
WATCH: Indigenous performers speak about how their art contributes to the movement of truth and reconciliation – Sep 30, 2022

The Snotty Nose Rez Kids are two indigenous artists and friends who spread the message of truth and reconciliation through rap.

“Since the beginning we’ve always told our story the way it was meant to be told. We spoke our truths, raw and unconditionally, and unapologetically to be honest,” said Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce of the Snotty Nose Rez Kids.

“We’ve always wanted our story to be told from our words, instead of having someone else do it elsewise you know, because it’s from the source,” said Darren “Yung D” Metz, the second half of the Snotty Nose Rez Kids.

They were inspired by hearing other indigenous rappers on radio, and T.V.

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“For us just being on the rez, we’re just like yo, what, there’s native rappers out there, they’re doing it, we could do it, you know that’s what we wanna do, we wanna inspire the youth.”

Metz and Nyce hope other kids are inspired by their work the same way they were inspired by others.

“I think when indigenous people hear our stories it’s like really empowering for them because like D said earlier, representation matters, so for us it’s like just being able to see ourselves, hear our stories, and just being able to relate to something on a mainstream level is huge,” said Nyce.

He believes their work plays a role in truth and reconciliation.

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“I think that what we’re doing is really important towards a bigger picture, like the movement that is the indigenous movement right now, we are a part of a massive resurgence movements that’s going on and we’re just a small part of it”.

“I feel first of all grateful and honoured to be a part of something that was created hundreds of years ago, you know through people who have been doing the work that we are now following in their footsteps you know.”

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Michael “Micsmith” Tootoosis is the co-founder of Stay Royal Records in Saskatoon, a label wanting to give a platform to young indigenous artists. He said there are other ways besides music to express their art like dance.

“They’re able to express their stories in dancing and prayer, once you get into the pow wow circle, you’re not dancing only for yourself, but you’re dancing for the people, you’re honouring the generation that went through the trauma,” said Tootoosis.

Lawrence Roy has been hoop dancing for 33 years and the mark left by residential schools has affected his life as well.

“My mom, she went to a residential school so that’s always something that’s always in the back of my head of what happened,” said Roy.

He teaches hoop dancing to people of all ages and hopes indigenous culture lives on. He believes hoop dancing speaks to the history of indigenous culture.

“It talks about the truth, and it talks about tradition, it talks about the elders, it talks about old ways, it talks about different things, and that’s where it makes a difference for everybody to know all about that,” he added.

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The Snotty Nose Rez Kids added that arts are a way for everyone to come together.

“Once they start listening, they’ll see like we are incredible people, so I think what we’re doing and what everybody’s doing today like getting our story out there, getting our art out there it’s making turtle island, and Canada, and America a lot more of a beautiful place to live,” said Nyce.

Both Roy and the Snotty Nose Rez Kids say more non-indigenous people are coming to not only watch but learn as time goes on.

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