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Hundreds join chorus for Indigenous boys whose singing was silenced

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The encounter was jarring, turning a moment of joy into a moment of fear.

On Monday, 15-year-old Kingston Daniels was singing one of his favourite Indigenous songs in Brentwood Village Square in Central Saanich. He asked his best friend, 14-year-old Síeƚten Elliott, to record a video.

A few seconds after the camera started rolling, a stranger approached the Indigenous boys with a question: “Are you just trying to f**king annoy people or what?”

The man told Daniels to stop and walked away.

“I did feel kind of anxious and scared when it happened,” Elliott said. “That’s not how I’m feeling now.”

Elliott’s feelings changed after the video was shared on Facebook and watched more than 150,000 times.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of people showed their support for the boys by gathering in the village square, with drums in their hands and songs in their hearts.

“It just makes my heart feel so good. I’m so happy,” Daniels told CTV News.

Kingston’s grandmother watched on as he and dozens of other kids danced and sang along to the pounding of the drums, which could be heard from blocks away.

“I was so disappointed in that person who said, ‘You’re annoying; don’t do that,” Xwaywaat, also known as Deanna Daniels said. “We all have to fight together to fight racism because this needs to stop.”

She said she went to day school and her mother went to residential school — a painful past that fuels Kingston’s love of singing.

“I feel like I should be able to sing for those who can’t,” said the teenager, who has ties to many First Nations in B.C.

“So many of my people have been suppressed. They’ve been hurt and they’ve been told not to speak their language and not to sing and that just doesn’t feel right for me.”

Elliott, who is from W̱SÁNEĆ, plans to keep singing for the rest of his life.

“I’m not going to stop,” he said. “I love my culture.”

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