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Sask. 13-year-old DJ hopes to inspire youth in Indigenous communities through music


A 13-year-old girl with a budding career as a DJ is bringing the music industry to her home community of Mistawasis First Nation to inspire Indigenous youth.

Caelyn Johnstone said music helped her find herself after she was bullied for being Indigenous.

"I kind of stopped thinking about my culture and smudging and all that stuff, and that's when I went into a dark place,” Caelyn told CTV News.

Then she started looking up to Indigenous DJs.

“They helped inspire me to get out there, because if they could do it, who knows, maybe I could,” she said.

She joined the industry with the stage name “DJ Nyla” and quickly found success. After booking gigs across the prairies, she decided to showcase Indigenous talent in her home First Nation.

“She’s been sitting on the frontlines of so many opportunities and performances, she wanted to bring something home for the people in our community to see,” Cory Johnstone, Caelyn’s dad told CTV News.

The teenager hosted the event at Chief Mistawasis School. She brought together artists with a common goal, inspiring the next generation.

"This is what gives me joy, lending to those Indigenous voices, amplifying them," Jeremiah Manitopyes (Drezus) told CTV News.

The multiple award-winning rapper encouraged youth to pursue their passions despite criticisms.

Recording artist Tony Tootoosis (Toosick) also made an appearance. He aims to educate youth on Indigenous traditions.

“Whether it’s 100 kids, or one kid, or 1000 kids, all you need to do is affect one person to make a change for our future,” he said.

Performers involved youth at every level, participating in powwow dances, bringing them on stage, and teaching them to DJ.

"I teach the kids how to use a DJ controller.”

“Apparently that inspired a couple of kids already,” Caelyn added.

Caelyn was once inspired by Indigenous artist, now she’s turning the tables and inspiring others. Top Stories

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