Recording by Vancouver Youth Choir directed by Carrie Tennant.
The Story of the Song
The melody for Nitohtamok Askîy (Listen to the Land) was inspired by the Northern Alberta vista. The birds were exuberantly singing and there was a flurry of activity from the squirrels foraging for winter. The smell of fall was in the air and the leaves were turning shades of yellow, red, and brown. The drum is strong in this song to represent the land’s natural rhythm.
Cree beliefs teach that the Cree people are chosen to be the caretakers of the sacred land. It is important to know the land and our relationship to it so we can better understand how to share and care for it. Humans are a part of the land and are not separated from it. Creation stories tell that the land, animals and humans were created equally and each living thing has a specific purpose that when fulfilled, keeps the land in balance. Everything that is taken from the land must be returned and we are taught to take only what is needed.
Nitohtamok Askîy (Listen to the Land) was first debuted in February 2019 by the University of Saskatchewan’s Greystone Singers, directed by Dr. Jennifer Lang.
Listen to the Land
We must take care of it together
Kiskin whamakanaw mistahi kikwiy
It teaches us many things