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Wenonah Justin

Wenonah Justin (B.A. Psychology) is from the Nlaka’pumux and Cree Nations. She works with the Abbotsford School District as an Aboriginal Cultural Support worker where she weaves cultural knowledge, dynamic storytelling, and traditional songs into a wide variety of relevant school curriculum topics. Her background in formal classical piano training completing Level 8 Theory and Practical alongside Advanced Rudiments in Piano, violin training, and participation in a youth group choir make her a highly sought after presenter. In 2001, Wenonah learned Coast Salish songs from Elder Flora Wallace and her son Russell Wallace of the Lil’wat nation. She hasn’t’ stopped singing since. Under the direction of Russell Wallace (producer, traditional  singer, and teacher) they became the Tiqilip Community Singers, based in Vancouver at the Native Education College (NEC). From this collaboration, in 2010, Tiqilap’s CD “Where the People Gather” was born and was nationally distributed. In the pursuit of helping herself and others reclaim a culture that was denied to them, Tiqilip reaches out to other cultural music communities in Vancouver to share, collaborate and to celebrate intercultural music. One such collaboration occurred in May 2016, when Wenonah shared Tiqilips songs and sang with the Richmond Singers and Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir “In the Key of Eh” Songs of Canada Concert. A decade long collaboration with the Sawagi Taiko Japanese Drum Group led to Wenonah becoming Sawagi Taiko’s first Indigenous member further fulfilling her love of music. In Abbotsford, Wenonah continues to teach Tiqilips songs to hundreds of elementary students in small groups and full classes. Students have performed these songs at many assemblies and school events. She is passionate about sharing her culture through music, active movement and storytelling, and feels empowered hearing young children singing their Salish songs.