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Monday, October 18, 2021

Indigenous teens performing Jingle Dress Dances for COVID-19 patients receive gift for efforts


Two local Indigenous teenagers are being rewarded for their efforts to help family and community members recover from COVID-19 while being in the hospital.

Seventeen-year-old Meadow Musqua and her friend Kiana Francis have been sending their prayers through traditional healing Jingle Dress Dances they’ve been performing on the lawn of the Regina General Hospital, every evening at 6 p.m., for the past two weeks.

Musqua’s mom does a Facebook Live of the dances so that those inside the hospital and others can watch as they dance. Some patients at the hospital even come outside to watch if they can.

The teens are dancing for Musqua’s Kokum (grandmother) and others as they were recovering from COVID.

This afternoon, Marvin Albert, a councillor from the Kawacatoose First Nation and his partner Melissa Albert — who were also recently in hospital with COVID but have now recovered — gifted Musqua and Francis with traditional blankets in front of the Regina General Hospital to honour their efforts to help others heal.

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Both Musqua and Francis were speechless when they found out about the gifts, since they didn’t know about them beforehand. They also had teary eyes as they received them.

They say it’s been an incredibly emotional ride to watch loved ones fight for their lives while being sick in hospital with COVID-19.

Performing the Jingle Dances is their way of healing others on their healing journey.

Read more:
Indigenous teenagers perform healing dances to help loved ones, others recover from COVID-19

“This is our culture and way of life and this is what we were taught to do. We were taught to come down here, me and Kiana. That’s how we were brought up — you know, to give to the sick,” Musqua said.

“I dance for our relatives and people not in our relations.”

Musqua says she’s glad she and Francis have been able to spread positive energy through their dancing. Even though the daily dances may be tiring at times, the girls have been pushing through and thinking about those suffering with COVID.

Francis says they feel thankful for all of the love and support they’ve been receiving.

“You know I’m just thankful to be here, to be who I am and to do what I do,” Francis said.

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“I never expected any of this. You know, the interviews, the gifts, the appreciation that we’ve been getting recently,” she went on to say.

“It’s an incredible feeling to know that I’m helping people.”

Read more:
Indigenous youth in Saskatchewan reflect on intergenerational trauma from residential schools

Musqua adds her 77-year-old grandmother, and all her other relatives, are now out of the hospital and on the road to recovery.

Musqua and the family are grateful the elder was able to beat the Delta variant and come back home, especially since she was in the ICU at one point.

The dancer says she’ll continue to dance for others still in hospital recovering from COVID.

The teens are also urging anyone still in denial about the serious repercussions of COVID-19 to “not let their guard down,” and practice health guidelines such as masking, hand sanitization, physical distancing, and to get the vaccine as well.

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