Akina Shirt is a fourteen-year-old Grade 10 honors student, attending the Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts. Currently she sings in three choirs: Victoria’s Junior High Choir, the Shumayela Choir (Kokopelli Junior Choir) and the Sacred Heart Church of First People’s Choir. She has been a chorister for the past five years. The experiences she has gained in choir have given her the voice skills and the confidence to perform in front of large gatherings.  Akina has also received voice training at the Alberta College Conservatory of Music and private vocal lessons with Aaron Lee Bailey.

Akina recorded a CD for Alberta Education in 2006 as part of their new Social Studies Curriculum launched in June 2007; she recorded 4 songs in Cree with an additional track of everyone’s favorite, the Frozen Bannock Song. Akina has performed at the Winspear, Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton, the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary and numerous other venues and has gained so much from these experiences in many immeasurable ways.  Her powerful rendition of O Canada sung in Cree is a tribute to the founding role of the First Peoples in the formation of Canada.

Akina was an elite competitive swimmer with the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club where she trained for 3 full Winter Club seasons. She’ll remain active in the sport opting instead to train only for Summer Club. Akina aspires to compete at the 2008 North American Indigenous Games in either track and field or swimming events.

Akina is proud of her heritage and dances fancy shawl when given the opportunity. Both her parents are members of Saddle Lake First Nation. In fact, Akina attended Onchaminahos Primary for Grades 1 and 2.

Akina is very friendly and unassuming. She has a positive attitude and a gracious spirit. But at thirteen years old, she is for the most part a real goofball who provides her friends and parents with a lot of comic relief.