Take one of the world’s most famous rock and roll bands, enthusiastic elementary school students willing to sing in a completely new language and a Coldstream teacher/videographer inspired by a Nova Scotia teenager and you get a terrific video for National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Melissa Jacobs is a teacher at Kidston School in Coldstream who, in two weeks, had students in Grades 4 to 7 learn the Beatles’ hit Blackbird in the Mi’kmaq language, then put together a two-minute and 37-second video released the morning of Sept. 30, the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
“Today we honour and remember the Indigenous children who were taken from their homes and communities,” says the video. “Together we can create awareness of the impact of residential schools and contribute to the strength that is needed to heal; showing that ‘Every Child Matters.’”
The original song, written and sung by Paul McCartney in 1968, was about the U.S. Civil Rights movement and racial strife in the southern states.
Mi’kmaq teenager Emma Stevens of Eskasoni, N.S., recorded the song in her language in 2019, posted it to YouTube and garnered more than 1.6 million views and a meeting with McCartney. That inspired Jacobs, who had her dad, Terry Dyck, playing guitar on her video.
“With only having two weeks to learn a new language, the kids found it helpful that they already knew the tune,” said Jacobs, who is also the brainchild behind Inspire Kindness Productions.
She produced the Kidston video in collaboration with Kidston Elementary and the Vernon School District.