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Standing Rock students to perform in national talent show

Helixo Eagle, left, and Zaniyan Iron Eyes, far right, perform a rap duet with other students from Standing Rock Middle and Elementary School while rehearsing the original song "Somebody" at the Fort Yates school on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 in Fort Yates, N.D. The group of 11 students will perform this weekend in Washington, D.C. as part of a talent show organized by the Turnaround Arts Initiative program. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

Mike McCleary

FORT YATES, N.D. (AP) — A group of students from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation will take the stage this weekend at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to perform in a national talent show.

Standing Rock Elementary School and Standing Rock Middle School are part of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' national Turnaround Arts program, which helps incorporate the arts into K-12 curriculum. Now 11 students have the opportunity to perform together at the program's talent show this Sunday.

The students plan to showcase a song about how growing up on a reservation has helped shape them. It's written by Taboo, a member of pop group the Black Eyes Peas, and Mic Jordan, a hip hop artist from the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe Tribe.

"Even if you're a kid from the reservation, you can be somebody; you just have to believe in yourself and that's what the song is about — not backing down and believing in yourself," said Jordan, who has been mentoring the Standing Rock schools through the program.

Most of the students haven't performed in an event of this scale, and some said they haven't ever left North Dakota or been on a plane.

Helixo Eagle, 13, will be rapping in the performance. He said he enjoys this style of music because he can send a positive message.

Student Alice Brownotter, 14, will be performing a traditional dance in the show. She told the Bismarck Tribune that "getting recognized as a reservation school doing, like, big things is pretty cool." She said she's looking forward to Sunday's performance to share her culture.

Brownotter also performed at the Oscars last weekend with artists Andra Day and Common for their song, "Stand Up for Something."

"It showed that I could stand up for Native people and be a representative," she said.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune,

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