Last week, Martha Redbone and Aaron Whitby of Bonehill generously shared their stories and music with Helena area students. The pair spent a morning at Central Elementary School, leading 5th graders in call and response songs from Cherokee traditions, and teaching a war dance, drawing students into conversations about the importance of song and dance in native cultures past and present.
“When Martha taught a traditional war song, the expressions on my students’ faces said everything. They were engaged; they were invested. They were so enthralled by Martha as they sang, shouted, and raised their shakers in the air. She made her experiences and history come alive for them.” Abby Nyhof, Central School Music
With students from Capital High School’s Creative Writing, Drama and Choir classes, Martha and Aaron focused on connecting their current music to the history of Martha’s family that inspires their storytelling. They emphasized the importance of layering a variety of emotional content when writing personal narrative, providing a poignant example of addressing racism through song.
Cover photo credit: Jason O’Neil