‘Grassroots Grannies’ taking the rap world in Winnipeg by storm

A group calling themselves the Grassroots Grannies has produced a rap song about the resiliency of Indigenous people.

“We ain’t no tea and bannock grannies,” said Elder Geraldine Shingoose said when she was approached by poet Zoey Roy to create the group Grassroots Grannies.

Shingoose, Vivian Ketchum and Chickadee Richard consist of the group that created their own rap song, Ogichidaa – meaning warrior in Anishinabemowin.

“The Ogichidaa all over the land are about love, unconditional love, it’s about the protection of the water, the land for future generations” Richard said.

Roy helped produced the song that highlights the resiliency of Indigenous people and honouring warriors on the frontlines, focusing on unmarked graves and a fight to search Winnipeg area landfills for the remains Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris, a movement all three have been a part of.

“We’re grandmothers and we’ve on the frontlines for quite a while”, Shingoose told APTN News.

“We’ve been there, done that and we know that racism is still alive and it targets all Indigenous people. That’s not going to go anywhere anytime soon,” Richard added.

Watch the Grassroots Grannies video here:

The chorus, “don’t let me die,” speaks to the legacy of Indigenous humanity and Indigenous resistance.

The song’s three verses were each crafted by the grandmothers with the help of Roy leading in rhythm, rhyme and song structure.

“We work pretty well, these are strong women that I’m working with strong grandmothers,” Ketchum said. “We’re pretty strong in our own right but together as a group, that’s amazing.”

The song ends with a Anishnaabe lullaby by Richard, in honour the children who never made it home, and “never had a chance to hear the lullabies from their mothers.”

The song will be released on Nov. 10. It’s the first release of a seven-part project called The Medicine Songs Project which features Indigenous Elders and aunties from coast to coast to coast.

“I’ve never done anything like this before, Kecthum said with a laugh, “I’m always willing to go out of my comfort zone…as long as these two come with me.”

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