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Anishnabe singer Nikki Shawana is stirring hearts online after video circulated this weekend of her first place performance in the Ann Arbour Pow Wow hand drum contest.

The Eagle Clan woman has shown up in several online videos singing across YouTube and her sound is gaining popularity among drum fans. A Round Dance version of Anna Kendrick’s Cup Song from the movie ‘Pitch Perfect’ got over 8000 views.

Recently the singer produced a video with brother Jason Shawana of Golde Nish Records called ‘Sister Sister’; a round dance dedicated to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

The siblings spoke about the video for ‘Sister Sister’, which is showing up across the web bringing awareness to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Nikki said, “The way I was feeling about our missing and murdered sisters, kept me up through the night. I needed to make a song to help to cope with those feelings and to honour our women.”

She said, “Songs and round dance songs in particular give us an outlet for our feelings and doing so bring us healing. I was thinking of their spirits. I was thinking of the women we have in our communities today who may not know how much we love them.”

That love is hauntingly evident in the song’s lyrics. ‘I want you to know; you are so strong and beautiful; I gotta know where did you go; I think of you everyday since you gone away,’ highlight the reality many families of missing and murdered indigenous women are left with; to piece together what happened to their girls.

Jason Shawana used this song as an opportunity to do something to bring awareness and light to the issue as well, saying, “I believe that it is time that we focus on the people who give and bring life to this earth and make sure they are loved and protected.”

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About The Author

Nahnda Garlow, Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations, is our Arts & Culture editor. Her popular column, Scone Dogs and Seed Beads brings weekly thoughts on current day indigenous identity. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado.

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