Orange Shirt Songs

by GHOSTRAIN 3000

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about

I collaborated with teacher extraordinaire Arwyn Carpenter and the students of Perth Public school to compose and record seven songs for 2019 Orange Shirt Day. A day for reflecting and learning about the history and damage of government sanctioned residential schools in Canada.

Residential schools were used to assimilate First Nations children into Canadian culture, horrifically many of the children were severely abused and many died due to neglect and malnutrition. Statistically, students had a higher chance of dying in residential school than soldiers in WW 2. These schools operated from 1870 to 1996. They were kept secret by the federal government. My great grandmother and her siblings attended residential school.

Orange Shirt Day was started by a survivor of the residential school system, Phyllis Webstad. Thank you dear Phyllis for bringing this national trauma into the light and for this opportunity to heal.

All purchases of this album donated to the Orange Shirt Society.
www.orangeshirtday.org/donations.html
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Here's the initial email that started the process of writing the songs:
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Hi,

I was thinking on your question last night about trees etc and the conversation I had with my grandmother this summer came to mind. I was telling her about the dance and the video with the school and all the kids and the focus on residential schools. Our casual conversation halted as my grandma got quite, furrowed her brow a bit and was listening intently. She was surprised to here about this project, but not shocked or upset but more like, "wow". It's hard to know her feelings on it exactly cause my grandma is a bit out of this world with old age, however she proceeded to tell me the following story:
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She said, "you know I went to a residential school museum one time."
I said, "Oh yeah?"
"I could hear their voices and see them... those kids." she meant their ghosts.
I asked, "grandma, did any of our family go to residential school?"
"Oh sure. My mom and her sisters went." she said matter of fact.
"Oh." I said.
"They would sneak out to visit their parents." She said.
"Then they would go back?" I asked.
"Well, they ran away and hid in the bush." she concluded.

Its hard to get details of where and when cause of my grandma's age, but I gather it was around 110-120 years ago (if I subtract my grandmas age and my guess as to when her mom was a student), I think this all happened around Pikwakanagan/Golden Lake then years later they ran away up to Tamiskaming. I can try to ask my great uncle Rod. He's older but is more with it.
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Anyways, I thought "Wow! Escaping Residential school and hiding in the bush...", Sort of protected by or rather, using the trees as cover... Pretty great for our purposes.
My grandma (my moms mom) is Algonquin so I have a good library of words for "tree" to choose from!

Examples that I like -
mitig : tree ...
mitigòns : saplings: 1. a young tree.
panigàkozi : fallen tree whose leaves continue to grow ...
wanakong : top or tip of tree, crown of tree ...

Link to Algonquin dictionary for words related to "tree"- www.thealgonquinway.ca/English/search-results-e.php
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A song is already forming in my subconscious!
In the coming days I will compose a simple song (like a three line haiku) with a primal melody that the students can sing/recite. I'll use the seven classes. Each with a simple step of the composition. Foot stomps, hand claps, wood sticks, shushing sounds, voice work as we discussed.
I will send for your input before the week is over. 👍🌲

All purchases of this album donated to the Orange Shirt Society.
www.orangeshirtday.org/donations.html

credits

released October 3, 2019

Written, performed and recorded by Luke Gustafson / Ghostrain3000.
Includes backing vocals- Children's choir from Perth Public School.

All purchases of this album donated to the Orange Shirt Society.
www.orangeshirtday.org/donations.html

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GHOSTRAIN 3000 Toronto, Ontario

Sweaty bio pic is Ghostrain 3000 aka Luke Gustafson, cuttin' tracks since '94.

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Track Name: Wasidawideye-Orange Shirt Song
Wasidawideye - Orange Shirt Song -

Wah – sid – da – wid – deh – yeh
Is the word for heart break.
They took her orange shirt away,
Wah – sid – da – wid – deh – yeh.
2nd verse (Stayed in School 300 days).

Wah – sid – da – wid – deh – yeh
Her heart was broken in this way.
Resdential school says,
“Broken hearts are here to stay”.

If you speak, mother tongue
Sew your mouth shut, little one.
Don't you know we make the rules?
This is residential school.

CHORUS – X 2
Wah – sid – da – wid – deh – yeh,
Wah – sid – da – wid – deh – yeh,
Is the word for heart break.
Wah – sid – da – wid – deh – yeh.
Track Name: Kete Mitigomij-Old Oak Tree
Kete Mitigomij,
Old Oak Tree.
Whoop!
Track Name: Ishpakweya-Little Girl Outlaw
Ishpakweya (Stand of Tall Trees)

Ish – pak – way – ya,
Ish – pak – way – ya,
Ish – pak – way – ya,
Oh Ish – pak – way – ya.

Ish – pak – way – ya
Is an Algonquin phrase
That means
“Stand of tall trees”.

The Ish – pak – way – ya
Helped my great grandma
Escape
Residential school.

The seven above,
The seven below,
The seven among us,
The seven we know.

CHORUS -
Run away, run away
Run away great grandma
Little girl, outlaw
In the Ish – pak – way – ya.

The Ish – pak – way – ya
Is sacred because
It holds
The seven teachings.

Oh Ish – pak – way – ya
We love you because
You care
For all generations.

The seven above,
The seven below,
The seven among us,
The seven we know.

CHORUS – X 2
Run away, run away
Run away great grandma
Little girl, outlaw
In the Ish – pak – way – ya.

Ish – pak – way – ya,
Ish – pak – way – ya,
Ish – pak – way – ya,
Ish – pak – way – ya.
Track Name: Wimbisagatig-Hollow tree
Wìmbisagàtig (Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig) Hollow Tree


Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig means hollow tree.

Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig means hollow tree.

Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig means hollow tree.

Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig means hollow tree.

Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig means hollow tree!

Ahhhhhh, ahhhhh.

Ohhhhhh, ohhhhh.

Eeeeeeee, eeeeeee.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh x 2.

Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig means hollow tree.

Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig means hollow tree.

Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig means hollow tree.

Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig means hollow tree.

Weem-bi-sa-gah-tig means hollow tree!
Track Name: Panigakozi-Thank You Great Grandma
Panigakozi - Fallen Tree Whose Leaves Continue to Grow
Intro -
“Kwey wìdjìwàgan (wee-jee-wah-gan)! Hello my friend!
I'm learning all kinds of new words. Today I learned an interesting word 'panigakozi'. It's an Algonquin phrase that means: fallen tree whose leaves continue to grow...”

Song starts -

Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi,
Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi,
Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi,
Meegwetch Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi.

Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi
Is an Algonquin phrase
That means “fallen tree
Whose leaves are still growing”.

Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi,
Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi,
Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi,
Meegwetch Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi.

“Meegwetch” means “thank you”.
“Kete” means “old”.
“Kokomis” means “Grandma”.
Meegwetch, Kete Kokomis.

Thank you Great Grandma,
Thank you Great Grandma,
You're my Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi.
We're your Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi.

Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi,
Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi,
Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi,
Meegwetch Pa - ni – gah – ko – zi.