Forgotten Aboriginal Musicians Survived Residential Schools, Police Brutality To Make These Songs

Gregory Adams: Throughout [Buffy Sainte-Marie’s] vast and varied career, she’s addressed genocide and racism with “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying,” delivered anthemic pow wow rock hit “Skywalker,” and remains politically active offstage in movements like Idle No More, making her an inspirational figure to generations of musicians.

“I think my success with such a wide variety of music has tended to broaden our scene beyond just one genre and, I’m told, to inspire First Nations people I’ve never even met to do their own thing, both within and beyond their own communities. It’s an incredible thrill to be told by another artist that my contribution has somehow impacted their own lives.”

The impact of “Native North America,” meanwhile, is already being felt. Since its release, the album has received international acclaim, including in onetime ’60s rock bible Rolling Stone. A second volume of the series exploring indigenous artists further south in the U.S. is already in the works and Howes has plans to deliver a grander exploration of Dunn’s back catalogue.

“They’re as relevant today as when they were recorded,” Howes says. “Songs that sing about the destruction of our environment, the corporate bottom line dominance, political conservative landscapes, greed…these are some of the things, amongst a lot of others, that are being discussed in these songs. We need these songs as much today.” More here.