Passing Music on to Alaska's Youth

Home Locations Staff News Forum Multimedia Links Contact

14 August 2008

". . . With God's love our seeds will grow."
By Pete Peter

       Pete Peter and others spent the beginning of the Summer traveling to Tanana, Arctic Village, Beaver, the Episcopal Youth Event in Texas, and the Navajo Reservation as teachers for the "Dancing with the Spirit" Program. Here's Pete's account of their travels.
       Early May and June 2008 we taught in Tanana, Arctic Village and Beaver! We taught the fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass and the skin drum to the kids. We also taught prayers, God's love and give the kids high self esteem through music and role models. The leaders there are supportive of our goals for their kids.
       Me and Lewis {Pete's 16 year old son who went with him to the Episcopal Youth Event and Navajoland} are home now and very happy with the family. The family missed us, but again we were traveling for God. Gwin zii!
       The San Antonio, Texas trip (8-13 July 2008) was a great learning experience for me! We had 1300 Episcopal kids from all over the nation and 6 kids from Alaska to teach music. This many kids was a great challenge, but again we overcame and it was a great success! Brother Robert donated a guitar which will be sent to us soon! The youths and Native American leaders at the Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) thought was a great program which they want to introduce to their people too! We gave them seeds to plant!
       These trips have had huge impact on me and my son Lewis! The Navajo Indian Reservation people had tremendous caring hearts once you know them. They called us "their lost cousins". We have touched all the
kids' hearts!
       At Bluff, Utah (14-19 July 2008) we had two Dancing with the Spirit teachings going on at the same time in two Navajo villages. We had about 30 kids each between the villages; and naturally they loved us, and they learned 13 Gospel and some Athabascan Gwich'in language songs, and now are capable of playing guitars in the churches on Sundays.
       We also taught the Navajo elders to sing in the proper keys of music with their Navajo song books, which they never did before; and now the kids can play guitar with them in their churches. Some parents also learned the guitar and sang.
       The elders honored all the prayers we did with the skin drum in Athabascan Gwich'in language before all of our events and travels.
       Also we repaired the mission at Bluff, Utah and build a fabulous baptism table for the Navajo people.
       Between Father Duncan Burns from Kingston, New York, Jeff, Rich, Lewis and I, we gave them10 guitars between their two churches, which now the kids can sign out responsibility to take home like the Tanana, Alaska model.
       The Navajo parents each said they are very happy for our gifts to their culture. They said this was the first time their children actually love to learn music! 'Specially "Indian Rock and Roll!
       The priest of 9 years said this was the first time he seen a Native brother from far away place touch the Navajo kid's heart! Now the kids expect me to come back. They say if you come back--in their traditional ways means you kept your word.
       I also have met, spoke and given our cards about the Dancing with the Spirit program to many important leaders and people from Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New York, and Washington , especially
on the Navajo Reservation. With God's love our seeds will grow.
       Lewis fit in pretty good with the Navajo kids! Everyone thought we were Navajos, but once they learned we were Alaska Indians they were surprised and want to know more about us. They like to hear our language.
       The first day was funny because when I said "Mah Si' Choo" which is "thank you" in Gwich'in -- in their language it means "a cat and granddaughter." It is pronounced exactly the same! So the duration of the trip on the Navajo reservation I had to be aware of what I said.
       Thank you to the Episcopal churches for supporting our Native American ways to learn about God through music and role models. Now I really appreciate why as a young kid my parents-mother Elizabeth Peter Cadzow and the late Noah J. Peter - were the ones that drag us kids to the Episcopal Church every Sundays to learn God on the Venetie Indian Reservation. Including all of the late Bishop Gordon's donuts and sodas on the gravel bar with Jessie Williams cooking the hot dogs!
       Thank you to: Mother-Margaret Belle Mickelson from Cordova, Alaska for caring and teaching us of God's great love to the Native American people! God bless her and her family!
       We have planted seeds in the world to grow! God bless!

View previous news letters:
May 25, 2008

Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved. Webmaster James Bagnaschi