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“My challenge for you is to listen to music by Indigenous artists and to share lyrics that you find powerful or that inspire you to take action to make the world better. I’m asking you to find those songs and those lyrics that make you stop, listen, think, and choose to take action. Share your favourite lyric with the hashtag, #InspiredLyrics.
About This Challenge
When I wrote Dancin’ on the Run, I wanted to tell a story that I thought was important for our communities to remember and reflect upon, and a story that I felt was important to share with Canadians outside our communities who maybe didn’t know it. Dancin’ on the Run, was written about the Potlach Ban. The Potlach is such an important ceremony for us; it’s a governance ceremony integral to many Nations on the West Coast, and parts of the western subarctic. For some Nations, Potlaches were a chance to celebrate and to come together as communities, sometimes to commemorate weddings, births, or funerals, to redistribute wealth, to pass on titles or names, or to establish hunting and fishing territories. Potlaches lasted days and they were filled with song and dance, governance, and celebration.
From 1884 to 1951, the Canadian government outlawed Potlach, among other ceremonies. However, our ancestors and Community leaders did not let these essential ceremonies be forgotten like the government hoped they would. Instead, they held them in secret, they never gave up their traditions, even when faced with the prospect of arrest for even planning these ceremonies. I wrote Dancin’ on the Run to remember and lift up the stories of those who fought to keep our Potlach alive; for those who literally had to dance and sing under fear of arrest if they were found out by the Indian Agent.
Like other Indigenous songwriters, I write about my own life, my Community and our history. I try to write music that would inspire you to be comfortable in who you are and to do what you know is right for you. As a fan of Indigenous music, across genres, I know that there are Indigenous songwriters and musicians writing to try to inspire their fans to be inspired and to be proud of who they are. My challenge for you is to listen to music by Indigenous artists and to share lyrics that you find powerful or that inspire you to take action to make the world better. I’m asking you to find those songs and those lyrics that make you stop, listen, think, and choose to take action. Share your favourite lyric with the hashtag, #InspiredLyrics on social media to complete the challenge.
Why Indigenous Lyrics?
Song writing is storytelling; that’s true for all artists but maybe especially important for Indigenous songwriters. Some artists try to inspire action and active resistance with their lyrics, others inspire confidence and pride, or joy and comfort. I take so much inspiration from the stories I hear when listening to Indigenous musicians - in all genres. There is so much great music to love right now, but more than that, there is so much great music to learn from.
Indigenous musicians have always passed down teachings and ideas through music. In ceremony like the Potlach and many others, songs were a critical tool for passing ideas to the next generation. Indigenous musicians continue to pass ideas and teachings down to the younger generations, in traditional music, but also in contemporary forms and genres as well. There is so much Indigenous music to love and be inspired by; I hope you take this challenge as an opportunity to listen to an old favourite, but also to listen to music by emerging artists as well.
Indigenous musicians have so much to share with us, let’s take in their ideas and share those that inspire us.
To begin, click "accept challenge" below and check out some of the Additional Resources for places to find Indigenous-made music!
Playlists and Places to Find Indigenous Music
- RPM (Website) (SoundCloud)
- Digital Drum
- N’we Jinan
- CBC Music: Indigenous
- Indigenous Music Awards: 2018 Nominees
- Indigenous Music Countdown
- sākihiwē festival (Website) (SoundCloud)
- Indigenous Music
- The Sound of: Canadian Indigenous (Spotify)
- Native North America Vol 1
- Native America: 7th Generation Rises: MTV
- "Dancin' on the Run" Music Video Story: Inez Louis
- An oral history of the Indigenous music Juno Award category: CBC
- How Indigenous Artists are Achieving Music Sovereignty: CBC
- We are witnessing Indigenous music's next wave: NOW Toronto
- Potlatch Ban: Abolishment of First Nations Ceremonies: ICTC
- Potlatch: The Canadian Encyclopedia
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accepted this challenge.
Inez Louis is a musician and performer; she is a two-time nominee for the Juno Award for Aboriginal Album of the Year first for her 2010 album, Singsoulgirl and again in 2014 for her album Burn Me Down. She is also a Nursing Supervisor serving her home community of Skowkale First Nation and other Sto:lo communities with the Sto:lo Service Agency. In 2008, Inez was named National Aboriginal Role Model by the National Aboriginal Health Organization. Inez is a proud mother and actively works to ensure her family is connected to and grounded in their culture.
"I challenge you to listen to music by Indigenous artists and to share lyrics that you find powerful or that inspire you to take action to make the world better."Read More