A group of native prisoners in Saskatchewan is trying to make sure native youth don’t make the same mistakes they made.

In an innovative project, 10 inmates of Saskatchewan’s Prince Albert Penitentiary have recorded a 45-minute, 12-track cassette tape of powwow music with a message of hope for young people. The Broken Wing Singers, led by Clem Mitsuing, practice eight to 10 hours a week and have been making powwow music for four years.

With support from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the federal government, the inmates got a music studio, Sweetgrass Records, to bring in a mobile unit to the penitentiary to set up the first live recording session of its kind in Canada.

“I was kind of worried at first,” admitted Ted Whitecalf, of Sweetgrass Records of Saskatoon. “I had never been in a place like that before. I didn’t know what to expect,” he said in a Wind-speaker article. “It was really an honour to be there and I was grateful to be a part of it.”

Said inmate Kevin Sakebow, “The most important thing is to educate the youth not to come here to find their spirituality. Find it out there.”

For more info call Sweetgrass at 306-343-7053 or write P.O. Box 23022, Saskatoon, SK, S7J5H3. —Nation staff