Indigenous students at Howard S. Billings High School premier special music video – Montreal

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The video could belong on any international music channel and the artists, signed to any famous record label.

But the talented bunch performing in the single They Fly isn’t too hard to reach.

They can be easily found walking the halls of Howard S Billings Highschool.

“It’s not that me to be so out there, not very outgoing. Being able to be out there was pretty awesome,” said Mercadies Kawisenhtaj Deer, a Grade 11 student.

The now-stars responded to a call-out at school for Indigenous students to create a music video.

The project is part of the N’We Jinan, a non-profit mobile recording studio that helps Indigenous youth to share their voices and talents across North America.

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“They show that we’re here,” said Phoenix Teironhiathe Lahache.

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The group of students from the Mohawk nation of Kahnawake worked for five days with the help of Caid Jones, who produced the video, David Hodges who mixed it, Jon Tornblom who mixed it, and Andrei Savu who shot it.

The lyrics are all about their high school experience as Indigenous youth and their desire to break free from the judgment some inflict on those who live in an Indigenous reserve.

“This proves to people that that stigma isn’t true at all and that native people can accomplish big things,” said Wahientha Katelyne Cross, who is also in Grade 11. “I just hope that the younger generations see this and have expectations of this nature when they’re older.”

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The video premiered in front of their schoolmates during the presentation of this year’s Academic Awards Ceremony.

“We were all super nervous, just trying to comfort each other because it was super nerve-wrecking,” said Lola Rosa Onekwen Taraonerate Mcquaid. “It went very well. I’m pretty happy.”

After the presentation, the students received thunderous applause.

“I can’t say how proud I am, beyond amazed and thrilled. … It was very heartfelt, and they did a good job,” said Lahache’s father, Tom as he had his son wrapped in his arm.

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The newly minted singer-songwriters say they walk away from the experience knowing that stepping out of their comfort zone can take them to new heights.

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