Indigenous Musicians

 Indigenous Musicians. 

We have all heard of Robbie Robertson and his time in The Band (have you seen the Last Waltz? I don't think anyone there remembers it). And who doesn't enjoy "Somewhere Down the Crazy River"? And then there is Redbone. This band is somewhat lesser-known, but I bet if you click the link you will recognize the song "Come and Get Your Love". And let's not forget everyone's Mother-In-Law's favorite Tom Jackson and his "Huron Carol".

There are so many Indigenous artists right now that should be recognized and have a much larger audience.



One of my favourite songs, and has been for a while is "Wasted" by William Prince. The first time I heard the song was while watching the New Year's Eve special on CBC. Prince was born in Selkirk, Manitoba, and later moved with his family to the Peguis First Nation as a child. Prince has won two Junos, a Canadian Folk music Award, and the 2020 SOCAN songwriting prize for his song "The Spark". 


The word "legend" gets thrown around a lot. But I think in this case, the word is warranted. Buffy Sainte-Marie is a singer-songwriter, musician, an Oscar-nominated composer, and an activist. Her most popular songs (that she performs) are probably "Universal Soldier" and her cover of a song I have featured before "The Circle Game". In 1983, Sainte-Marie became the first Indigenous person to win an Oscar for her song "Up Where We Belong", which was performed in the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warren. After being blacklisted from American radio, Sainte-Marie became even more heavily involved in the Native American Movement, and in 1997 she founded the Cradleboard Teaching Project, which is a curriculum devoted to better understanding Indigenous people. 


Susan Aglukark released the song "O Siem" in 1995. It quickly became the first international hit by an Inuk performer. She mixes traditional folk music of the Inuit people with more pop-like songs to create her sound. Other than writing and performing, Aglukark has become involved with writing workshops for Attawapiskat First Nation and making Canadians aware of the food crisis for residents in the north. She is also a speaker for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Girls organization. She has also spoken publicly about sex abuse within her community.
 
Many corporations have made it a mission to bring the voices of many cultures that don't always get the spotlight. And Spotify (despite its other problems) has released an Indigenous Canadian playlist. This one is curated by Susan Aglukark. Check it out. 

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