Mother Teresa Middle School (MTMS) alum Kadence Whitestar doesn’t miss a beat. He can often be found in the middle of a drum circle immersed in song. Whitestar is part of the MTMS Buffalo Boys drum group, which he helped establish as an after-school program in 2016 with a handful of middle school students and his dad, MTMS Indigenous Advocate, Evan Whitestar. 

Over the years, the drum group has grown substantially and now includes over fifty MTMS alumni and middle school students. “It’s surreal to see where we are now. Performing regularly in the community and having a competing chance at powwows,” said Kadence, who is from Pasqua First Nation and is currently a Grade 12 student at Luther College High School.  

Kadence drums and sings with a group of students at Mother Teresa Middle School.

The Heartbeat of Mother Nature

Whitestar has seen firsthand how the drum serves as a powerful tool for healing and connection. “The drum can be described as the heartbeat of Mother Nature. It teaches you a lot about love and responsibility. Personally, it has helped me find love in everything that I do and has taught me that what we are doing is benefiting many people in the community,” Whitestar said. He adds that when the group drums, it often provides a sense of healing for those listening. “Lots of times, when people hear us drumming and singing, they tell us that it makes them feel better and that we are doing good, especially those in the Indigenous community,” he shares.

"I see them prioritizing their schoolwork and wanting to embrace a healthy lifestyle. It shows me that what we are doing is working." - Kadence Whitestar

Kadence perfroms at the 2023 Grade 8 Promotion Ceremony
Kadence performs at the 2023 Grade 8 Promotion Ceremony.

Intergenerational Knowledge

Recognizing the importance of passing down traditions, Whitestar eagerly embraced the opportunity to teach drumming to youth in Pasqua First Nation. “After we performed at their powwow, they reached out to us. They were impressed with how our drum group positively engaged youth,” he said.

Regular visits to Pasqua First Nation involve teaching drumming to students from Grade 4 and up who gather from different reserves in the area. Beyond drumming, the visits also provide opportunities to share cultural lessons and stories. “When we visit, we sing and drum but we also tell them a lesson or story about our culture and why we do things the way we do,” said Whitestar. 

Whitestar also notices how the younger students in the MTMS Buffalo Boys look up to him as a leader and role model. “When they see me finish school and live a healthy, balanced lifestyle, I see how it impacts the younger members of the group. I see them prioritizing their schoolwork and wanting to embrace a healthy lifestyle. It shows me that what we are doing is working,” said Whitestar.



Mother Teresa Middle School (MTMS) empowers and supports students from Grade 6 until employment. MTMS strives to provide students with opportunities to engage in their culture. Through the MTMS Cultural Program, students are empowered to engage in traditional teachings and activities. Throughout the school year, students have the opportunity to participate in cultural activities such as drumming, learning Cree, sweetgrass teachings, pipe ceremonies, land-based learning, and more. 


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