Indian City, the First Nations pop-rock musical group formed by by Eagle & Hawk founder Vince Fontaine, Ojibwe, Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, has just released a “215” video tribute using their song “Take Me Home,” highlighting the plight of residential schools.”
The song comes from the Juno Award-nominated album “Here and Now.”
In addition to the musical contributions of Fontaine, the group also consists of Indigenous artists Don Amero, Jeremy Koz, Rena Semenko, Neewa Mason and Atik Mason.
According to Fontaine, the decision release a video tribute using the song came about due to the recent discovery of 215 First Nation children’s bodies discovered at the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia, Canada.
“‘Take Me Home,” was originally written with residential school children in mind and the children that died behind residential school walls,” said Fontaine.
“After the news broke, I decided I wanted to have a video produced for the song to highlight the number ‘215’ because that very simple number will now become synonymous with other numbers that signify other atrocities that have happened in history. For example, when we hear ‘6 million,’ we think of the Holocaust. In America, 600,000 will be remembered for the number of people that died of COVID-19. ‘215’ will become an explanation for the 215 little souls that were buried there under that residential school in British Columbia.”
Fontaine says the song addresses what children at these schools might have experienced.
“I know people who were there. You can only imagine the deep loneliness of children who were 7, 8, 9 years old and younger who were taken away from their families. The song expresses the kind of innocent emotion that the children must have felt. We wrote this song for our ‘Here & Now’ album, which was released in 2017. This was the year of Canada’s 150th anniversary when there was a spotlight on Indigenous history and issues such as the residential schools.”
Partial lyrics of Take Me Home (215):
“Out here in the schoolyard all alone
Looking out beyond the fence
I want to go home
I miss my brother and my friends
Take me home again…"
“Take Me Home (215)” video
Fontaine says his older sister, brother and mother all went to residential schools. He says all of the cumulative residential school experiences and policies of the days all affected Indigenous people.
“I would like to think that the human race has a warm, loving side and that’s why I think this song and video will touch people,” says Fontaine.
“We have to keep in mind that the goal is to shine a light on this part of history so that people are aware. Then perhaps they will better understand the Indigenous experience more. And understand the subtle challenges that are still here when we—Indigenous people—start out with this kind of experience that’s deep inside our spirit and what caused that. Of course, the bottom line is really to remember the children that shouldered that weight and pain unnecessarily.”