Kipohtakâw YONA

Kipohtakâw YONA

Kipohtakâw YONA is a unique YONA site located at Alexander First Nation. This site came into being as a result of relationships nurtured between the Nation and the ESO and the shared vision as to how music can transform lives. This site launched in 2018 with 50 violin students in grades 2 and 3. The program now runs two days a week during Kipohtakâw Education Centre's academic schedule, and it offers the opportunity for 125 students from grades 1 through 9 to learn violin, flute, or recorder. The students also receive vocal coaching during choir classes, collaborate and interact with students from other YONA Sistema sites, and regularly perform within their community and at the Winspear Centre. In 2022, the Sistema Canada Network commissioned a work by cellist Cris Derksen. As part of the composition process, Cris met YONA students online to learn about their musical ideas. In April 2023, students from YONA within the city traveled to Alexander First Nation to play the piece alongside Kipohtakâw YONA students as a special project.


To kindle long term, holistic, positive change in Alexander First Nation by engaging youth in music education while nurturing the development of esteemed future leaders.


  • To offer inclusive, accessible, and holistic music education in a safe and nurturing environment.
  • To encourage excellence and accountability through focused instruction.
  • To establish relationships rooted in mutual respect, trust, and responsiveness by honouring the strengths, traditions, and culture of Alexander First Nation.
  • To support and celebrate individual and collective success through peer mentorship, leadership, ensemble practice and performance.
  • To inspire excitement, enjoyment, and motivation through the creation of music while fostering self-confidence, self-esteem, and pride.
  • To promote lifelong learning and experiences that will have a positive and healing impact on the children and Nation.