Role Models -K’atlo’dechee First Nation

THE STORY – Grade 4-6 students from K’atlo’dechee First Nation, NWT, produced this project on what it means to be a role model,. They identified the values and actions of the individuals that were role models to them, and then how they could be role models to others.

THE PROCESS – We wanted it to be fun (and funny) so we came up with a story that let them act, operate cameras, write & perform a song and spend a day filming out on the land at the school’s day camp.

THE PRODUCT – The finished video provides a great way for the class to refer back to the theme of being a role model. Students love watching it over and over, and it’s also a great way for parents and families to see what their children are doing at school and be part of that.

P.S. – Digital Media Storytelling is a great way for students to work together creatively to explore themes and values and to share those ideas in a fun and interesting way with others. Contact for information on how you can provide an opportunity like this for your students.

Residential School Song Recording Project

High School Recording Project

THE STORY – High School students from Diamond Jenness Secondary School in Hay River, NWT, wrote a rap about Residential Schools and wanted to develop it into a song.

THE PROCESS – The students were able to spend three mornings with a professional producer to write and record a song and create a video. Rik brought professional recording equipment and instruments and worked with the students to produce the rap into a song and then film and edit the video.

THE PRODUCT – When the video was uploaded to Facebook it got dozens of shares, likes and comments and over 6500 views in just a few days. The buzz came to the attention of reporters at CBC North, who did an interview with the students and featured their video on the news.

P.S. – A multimedia project like this provides a great opportunity to build community support, and draw attention to the creativity of students and the work they do in school. Contact for information on providing an opportunity like this for your students.

Songwriting & Slam Poetry Project

200 Grade 10 Students – Songwriting & Slam Poetry

THE STORY – Over 4 days, 200 Grade 10 students from the ELC in Fort St John, B,C. wrote 6 songs and a bunch of slam poems.

THE PROCESS – Students were divided into 7 groups…6 groups chose songwriting and 1 group chose slam poetry. Each group had one 3 hour session with a professional songwriter & slam poet to write and rehearse their song. Writers in the slam poetry session each wrote their own. On Friday, the entire school performed the songs and slam poems for each other.

THE PRODUCT – The creative process of working together collaboratively was the priority and focus of this project. Creativity requires risk-taking. Sharing ideas. Singing. Playing an instrument. And for students to step out of their comfort zone and take a creative risk they need a safe & supportive environment.

This video was put together to show the process, and get feedback from some of the students and staff on what the experience was like for them, and hearing in their own words what impact it had on them personally. Contact to provide an opportunity like this for your students.

Tlicho Student Storytellers From Wekweètì

THE STORY – Students at Alexis Arrowmaker School in Wekweètì, NWT produced a few videos celebrating life at their school.

THE PROCESS – Staff and students spent four days working with a professional producer to ‘Show & Tell’ the story about life at their school. They filmed, ‘The Daily Mile’, singing O Canada in Tlicho, salsa dance class, music in the classroom and made a short horror film. Students ran cameras, brainstormed, developed a shot list, learned to edit, write and record music.

THE PRODUCT – the finished videos were a great snapshot into the opportunities students at Alexis Arrowmaker have. The short videos showcase the athletics, from soccer practice to dance, the climbing wall and the daily exercise routine. After recording the audio of the students singing O Canada in Tlicho, they made a lyric video that acts as a great educational video.

P.S. – Multimedia projects are uniquely suited to capturing the diversity of a school and the students, providing opportunities for everyone to get involved in a way that plays to their strengths. Contact if you’d like students in your school to have an opportunity like this.

Better Together – Pic Mobert First Nation

THE STORY – Students & staff from Netamisakomik Centre for Education, Pic Mobert First Nation, ON celebrated all the ways that they are ‘Better Together.’

THE PROCESS – We wanted to build school spirit and highlight the value of each student and the difference everyone can make. Students were involved in writing the song featured in this video. They wrote and performed the slam poem and came up with activities they filmed that showed the different ways that they were together.

THE PRODUCT – Videos are a great resource to remind students on all they have to be thankful for. Many schools use their video throughout the year as a fun way to bring focus back to the values in the school that make it a safe and supportive environment for everyone.

P.S. Contact for information on how students in your school can have an exciting opportunity like this.

Elementary & Middle School Storytelling Project

THE STORY – Upper Pine is a K-8 school located at beautiful Rose Prairie, minutes north of Fort St. John. There are 210 students, 25% of whom are First Nations, and a further 10% are English as a second language.

It is a rural school where all of the students arrive by bus, some ride an hour each way. There are amazing cross-country and snowshoe trails right outside the doors of the school as well as an outdoor hockey rink.

THE PROCESS – Over the course of one week, students wrote, recorded & performed the original song featured in this video, as well as filming all the activities and sports that tell the story of what makes their school such a unique place.

THE PRODUCT – I don’t think Upper Pine has ever done a project like this. The video was received with incredible excitement and celebration from the community. In fact it blew away all previous school videos in terms of the amount of views, getting over 15K views in a week. The story of the school and the students obviously resonated with everyone, which was really special. It’s been fun to read some of the comments from former students who looked back at their old school and expressed gratitude and support.

P.S. – If you would like students in your school to have an opportunity like this, contact

The Secret To Great Storytelling

THE STORY – Everyone likes stories, from the time we’re little kids throughout our life until we’re elders. Stories are the most effective and powerful way to engage an audience, which is why you really should take the time to tell YOUR story better.

THE PROCESS – In this video Rik shares some practical ideas that will help you tell your story better. Contact if you have any questions or comments.

Nahedee Oki Nats’edeh (Walk in Two Worlds)

THE STORY – Students from Chief Sunrise school at Katlo’dechee First Nation, in NWT are learning to walk in two worlds. One world involves learning through books, technology, and classrooms in the school, and the other world is out on the land, learning traditional ways.

THE PROCESS – Students worked with Rik Leaf, a music/video producer and together they wrote and recorded a song and filmed their time in school and on the land to create this video.

Song Lyrics
Nahedeé okı natsédeh
Nahedeé okı natsédeh
Ek’elų okı natsédeh

When I’m out on the land I’m free I can stand
Peace ın my heart I’m a lıght ın the dark
Every day of my lıfe I’m goıng to walk ın a good way

When I come to thıs place I know that I’m safe
Surrounded by frıends Our spırıts can mend
As we all walk the red road ın a good way

THE PRODUCT – This finished video was viewed almost 4K times when uploaded to Facebook. It provides a great way for the community to celebrate the creativity of their students and the strength and resiliency of their culture.

P.S. If you would like more information about this project or know of a school or community that would be interested in a project like this, you can email

Tribe of One – Great Northern Arts Festival, Inuvik

Tribe of One – Great Northern Arts Festival, Inuvik, NWT

CULTURAL PERFORMANCES – This video features Tribe of One live from the Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik, NWT, showcasing two young dance instructors from the Aboriginal School of Dance.

WHO WE ARE – Tribe of One is a national collective of First Nations, Metis, French & English musicians, dancers, painters and slam poets who combine indigenous & settler cultures into every presentation, performance workshop and youth mentorship program.

BOOKING – Contact if you’re interested in booking the collective for your conference, festival or education programming.

Live the Good Life (Netimisakomik)

THE STORY – Students from JK-G8 at Netamisakomik Education Centre, Pic Mobert First Nation share what it means to live the good life.

THE PROCESS – All the students and staff spent a week working together with a professional songwriter & media producer to write, perform and record a school anthem, and film the different activities that make each day special.

The exciting thing about creative mentorship projects is that students are able to play to their strengths. Some like being in front of the camera. Some like to be behind the camera. Some are athletic, some are artistic. These projects also make space for students of all ages to be involved.

THE PRODUCT – Videos provide a great way for families, friends and other members of the community to celebrate their students. This video has 1500 views, and provides a great way for remind students of the values and beliefs that are important to making healthy choices and living a good life.

P.S. – Contact if you’d like your students to have an opportunity like this.

Teachers & Students on Slam Poetry

A Powerful Resource – Slam Poetry is the combination of creative writing and creative performance. It’s not like rap or hip-hop because there is no music or beats. And it’s not like acting because there are no costumes or props. It’s just about words.

Why It Works – Many students are trapped in their comfort zone. The thing is, the magic of Learning to do something new or Being Creative, happens outside of our comfort zone. Students in this situation need a safe & supportive place to try something new and to be creative, which slam poetry does amazingly well.

The Process – Last week I worked with 230 middle school students in northern B.C. At the end of the week some of them shared their thoughts on slam poetry in schools.

P.S. If your school is looking for a way to get students excited about creative writing, contact

Kátłodehche XMA (Xtreme Martial Arts)

THE STORY – Students from Chief Sunrise Education Centre, Kátłodehche First Nation in NWT spent a week working with Riel, a young XMA instructor, learning a routine that the whole school performed together on Friday afternoon.

THE PROCESS – This video shows the progression from Monday morning, Day 1 through to the performance on Friday afternoon Day 5. Extreme Martial Arts, is a combination of karate and gymnastics put to music. This routine was put together to accommodate all ages and levels of ability.

THE PRODUCT – This video captures the confidence and pride that the students felt at the end of the week. Throughout the sessions, the movements were tied to themes of self-awareness, self-respect, pride and confidence. It was a powerful opportunity that let the students tell a story without words.

P.S. – Contact for information on how your students can have an opportunity like this. I don’t claim rights or permission to use the song featured at the end of the video. The song is Make It Bun Dem by Skrillex & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley Songwriters: Damian Robert Nesta Marley / Sonny Moore
Make It Bun Dem lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group


Slam Poetry In Schools

THE STORY – I have taught slam poetry to thousands of students across Canada from Grade 2 to adults. It is a powerful tool for self-expression.

THE PROCESS – Unlike traditional poetry, no one ever reads a slam poets poems. The only way to experience it, is if the poet performs…or ‘Slams’ their poems. This is incredibly liberating for every student who struggles with spelling, or grammar or punctuation. Of course these are important, but for many students who struggle with these elements of writing, they are roadblocks. Reasons students tell themselves why they could never be a writer or express themselves with words.

Suddenly…the roadblock is removed, and time and again, the students (and their teachers) are shocked at the results. Students that never share. Never participate are suddenly excited to write and to get up and perform their writing.

P.S. Contact for information on how students in your school can have this opportunity.

ONYAT’A:KA (Songwriting in Oneida)

THE STORY – Students at Standing Stone School, Oneida Nation of the Thames, ON spent a week working with a professional songwriter/producer to write a song and make a video incorporating their traditional language.

THE PROCESS – At the beginning of the week, Rik had an opportunity to get together with L:ao Antone, the Oneida traditional language teacher, who helped incorporate some Oneida words into the song. This short video shows how easy it is to use creativity to showcase and celebrate traditional culture.

THE PRODUCT – The finished video shows the excitement that built through the week. By Friday afternoon students were chanting and singing at the top of their lungs in the hallway like they were at a rock concert! The video had 9K views on Facebook at 2.5K on YouTube.

P.S. Contact if you’d like your students to have an opportunity like this.

Yundaa Gonezų́ Kéodatı̨́ (The Future Looks Good)

THE STORY – Students from Chief Sunrise Education Centre, Kátłodehche First Nation in NWT worked with a professional songwriter/producer to write, perform and record this song.

THE PROCESS – The traditional Slavey language teacher helped the students incorporate their traditional language into this song.

THE PRODUCT – Having a new song and a video on YouTube that celebrates the students, their language, their school and culture makes for a great finished product. The community can celebrate the students as well as their language.

P.S. – Contact info@tribeofone if you’d like your students to have an opportunity like this.


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