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Saskatoon Public Schools
Inspiring Learning
Indigenous Ensemble

The 2018 production of WAC̀IP̄I KTE! (Let's Dance) displays the talents of student performers from Saskatoon Public Schools Indigenous Ensemble. Song and dance are an important aspect of all Indigenous cultures.

This dance theatre production provides insight into the traditional Dakota/Nakota/Lakota views on the importance of song and dance. It provides an overview of wac̀ip̄i history and the evolution of modern day powwow. Powwow has helped many Indigenous people to feel proud of who they are and has motivated them to learn more about their language, culture and history. It has also motivated non-Indigenous peoples to want to learn.

Indigenous Ensemble Postcard web.jpgWithin First Nations’ cultures, song and dance are more than performance arts and leisure-time activities. Song and dance have always been integral mediums of individual and group expression in the ceremonial and social aspects of First Nations cultures. Today, First Nations’ song and dance play a vital role in elevating cultural awareness and cross-cultural understanding.

The Saskatoon Public Schools’ Indigenous Ensemble is an extracurricular program created to provide students with an opportunity to participate in their culture. It allows students to build knowledge and skills in Saskatchewan First Nations and Métis traditional and contemporary music, song, dance, storytelling and traditional arts.

The ensemble, which is co-ordinated by Saskatoon Public Schools’ First Nations, Inuit and Métis Education Unit, welcomes emerging musicians, singers, dancers and storytellers from Grade 7 to Grade 12 who have an interest in developing their skills through education and performance.

Under the mentorship of master First Nations and Métis musicians, singers, dancers, storytellers, artisans and production artists, the ensemble’s members work toward developing multiple artistic skills. Workshop sessions include Métis fiddle and guitar; Métis dances; male and female powwow and round dance singing; flute; First Nations powwow, round and social dancing, and performance specialty dances; storytelling; regalia making; demonstration and instruction skills; and production skills including script development and choreography. 

The Indigenous Ensemble engages youth and provides the opportunity to develop a positive sense of self and personal pride in being First Nations or Métis, as well as the chance to acquire leadership experience. The ensemble’s performances for other students and the greater community are a way for students to share their learning and the cultures of First Nations and Métis peoples.

The ensemble was recognized for its contribution to reconciliation during the University of Saskatchewan’s Building Reconciliation national forum in 2015.

To learn more about the Indigenous Ensemble please download the program brochure or contact Don Speidel, Saskatoon Public Schools’ Cultural Liaison, at