About Northern Spirit Flutes
I began my flute journey in the fall of 1999 while teaching at Pleasant Hill Community School. At that time over 96% of the students were of Indigenous ancestry. I was searching for something that would engage my most challenging senior students. I was introduced to the Indigenous flute through Bryan Burton's book called "Voices of the Wind". I started out using simple tubing and materials from the Co-op and Home Depot, making flutes from scratch. The students were so excited to create their own instrument, especially one with its roots in North America. I soon witnessed the positive impact learning to make and play the flutes had on my students, especially those at-risk of not meeting their full potential. I was driven to share this experience with other teachers so they could reach their students with the Indigenous flute and help them to connect with the best of what was inside of themselves and that which connects us all.
As a part of my Master's program, I also made an instructional video on how to make Native American style flutes with your students. With the acceptance and encouragement from the Elders and teachers, I felt that I should share my knowledge, teachings and expertise with other teachers so they could positively impact their students. However, I was still not 100% at ease with doing this as the Indigenous flute is not originally a part of Cree culture here in Saskatchewan.
I decided to seek the guidance of Kevin Locke, SongKeeper for the Lakota people. Kevin Locke has made it his life's mission to revive, as he calls it, the Indigenous North American flute not just within his community but also to non-indigenous people as well. I asked Kevin if I could make the trip to visit him in Wakpala, South Dakota to meet with him and Edlers to seek their guidance and permission to share what I had learned and experienced with my students. After I shared the positive impact I saw with my students, Kevin and the Lakota Elders gave me permission to do what I felt in my heart I was being called to do: help others use the healing beauty of the Indigenous flute to touch the hearts of children and those around them.
I have since partnered with Kevin to create two Indigenous style flutes based on his grandfather Powesheik's over 100 year old flute so he could make them with students. I then co-wrote the Learn to Play the Flute book for the Lakota Language Consortium. Most recently, I transcribed Lakota songs for Kevin's online program that is being finalized. I feel honoured and blessed to be helping Kevin bring his vision to life.
Richard is a full time music teacher from K-6 at École canadienne-française in Saskatoon. He has been making flutes with his students since 1999.
Richard Dubé taught music at core neighbourhood schools in Saskatoon for 15 years. Both his Indigenous and non-indigenous elementary, middle years and high school students put their heart and soul into creating their very own Indigenous North American and Native American style flutes. They took great pride in learning how to play a version of the authentic instrument that was created by North America’s First People. He is currently teaching music in French at École canadienne-française in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Richard Dubé, S.V.M., M. Ed., B. Mus. Mus. Ed.
Richard Dubé has studied teaching music through the Orff approach at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Alberta in Edmonton. He has had the privilege of studying with Professor Jos Wuytack from Belgium, subsequently receiving his Masters Certification in Orff Shulwerk. Richard has completed his Level III of the World Music Drumming course that is held annually at Oconomowoc, WI. Richard has also received his diploma as a PianoClub/Keyboard Club teacher from Yamaha Music Canada Ltd. He has enjoyed using this group method of instruction with at-risk students in the Heart of the City Piano Program. Richard's earned his Level I certificate in drum circle facilitation at the Facilitators Playshop with Arthur Hull at Camp Mokuleia on the island of Ohau, Hawaii. Richard took HealthRhythms training with Dr. Barry Bittman and Music Therapist, Christine Stevens. He looks forward to sharing his newly developed skills with his colleagues and using them in his work with the"Circle of Peace".
Richard has served as President of the Saskatchewan Chapter of Carl Orff Canada, Director of Region 4 for the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association and he is a member of the Music, Drama, and Dance Committee for the Saskatoon Public School Division. Richard was selected as the recipient of the Kirkpatrick Travel Award for 2000-2001. He used this award to further network and train with World Music Drumming enthusiasts from across North America. In the fall of 2001, the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association awarded him the "Outstanding Achievement Award" for his work with the Heart of the City Piano Program and the Circle of Peace. In 2003, Richard was recognized by the Saskatoon Preschool Foundation and received an award as an “Educator of Distinction”. Richard founded and developed theHeart of the City Piano Program, a volunteer piano program that provides piano lessons for over 250 at-risk children in 5 cities across Saskatchewan, as well as in Edmonton and Ottawa. Richard’s started the Circle of Peace in 2000. This program is in its eleventh year of World Music Drumming with at-risk youth living in disadvantaged situations. Richard has recently been awarded a Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan. This medal recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to our province and is a symbol of the pride and vision of Saskatchewan and its people. Richard is an ardent Music Advocate and works hard to promote quality music education for all Saskatchewan students. He believes that music helps us to connect to the Spirit within in a way that helps us to ground ourselves spiritually and emotionally, leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.
You can check out one of the programs for youth who are at risk of not meeting their full potential at their web site:
Heart of the City Piano Program:www.heartofthecity.ca