Singing our Hearts Out with Stephanie

Preparation for Powhiri – a traditional Maori Welcome

During our class this semester, we had the honor of working with Stephanie Sabatine (LSSU Native American Center) in learning the song we’ll be singing for this experience.  She generously gave of her time, her talents, and sent us to NZ with traditional local Native American gifts to share with the Maori we will be meeting.  We are grateful!  Here is Stephanie’s story: 

Today I am honored and humbled. Ten years or so ago, Mary Ann Stott and I wrote a song for, Dr. Rodney Lowman’s (LSSU’s president at the time) inauguration at LSSU, called My Heart Belongs to Michigan. I put that song away and forgot about it after the inauguration. I hadn’t thought about it for years. A few months ago, Kathy Berchem contacted me to ask if I could assist with a song that would be presented in ceremony on their trip to New Zealand. I went home that evening and the first binder I looked in that song was right on top, in the original handwriting from our songwriting session ten years earlier. My friend Jerry Fontaine, who is an Ojibwe language professor at Algoma University offered his expertise to translate some of the words of the song into Ojibwe. Today, that song is going to New Zealand to be presented in ceremony by our LSSU students who learned it almost within the first few minutes like they had been singing it for years! All signs that this was meant to be 😊. Our tribal flags from Sault Tribe and Bay Mills are also going to be presented as gifts and will remain in New Zealand.


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