Your Voice is Power: CBE Students Participate in Hackathons to Create Music with a Social Justice Message

Dec. 21, 2023

​​​From December 12-14, more than 400 students from Western Canada High School, Henry Wise Wood High School, and John Ware School participated in Your Voice is Power, a national coding competition where they learned coding skills through remixing music and learning about Indigenous youth culture. Students heard from Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs Dakota Bear, Pisim, and YB Nakota, who shared their stories about how music and entrepreneurship helped them to overcome adversity in their lives. 

“It was a very energetic two days and the work done with the kids was exciting and inspiring. We really enjoyed the presentations by the artists and their willingness to connect and engage with our students,” said Tanis Greenlaw, Principal of John Ware School. 

“It was a fun experience! Getting to hang out with my friends and the performers and making music was the best,” said Gage U., a student from John Ware School.

Prior to the hackathon events, teachers representing 23 CBE middle and high schools participated in a full-day professional learning session at the Education Centre. They learned about integrating the music of Canadian Indigenous Hip Hop artists with curricular modules focusing on social justice and got to know the EarSketch coding platform. 

“Hip hop is such a powerful mode of expression because of its ability to lift and empower marginalized communities. Business is another method for marginalized communities such as Indigenous Peoples to gain and exercise social power. Combining the two together has made Dakota Bear one of the most important Canadian examples of the opportunities for determined, talented people to make a huge impact in the world. The experience of working with Dakota and with the Your Voice is Power program has shown me new ways of thinking about getting our message to students,” said Jason Swanton, Henry Wise Wood School teacher. 

This unique opportunity for CBE students was made possible through a collaboration with Fair Chance Learning, TakingITGlobal, and CBE’s Teaching and Learning with Technology and Indigenous Education teams. Appreciation goes out to Western Canada High School and John Ware School for hosting the events and Elder Bruce Starlight, for setting intentions for the events in a good way. If you’d like more information about Your Voice is Power, please email:​.​​