O Kanata Day: Watch Mohawk Artist Jackson 2bears Remix Colonial "Heritage Mythologies"


Happy Anti-Canada Day—it's time to celebrate the country's Original Peoples.

That's right, we said it.

In a year of reconciliation, on a nationalized holiday of mostly mindless settler celebration, what better time than now to acknowledge not only the long and continuing history of colonialism that has built Canadians' Homes on Native Land, but also the strength and resilience of the Indigenous Nations and societies that predated the arrival of Europeans on our shores?

That's what Kanien'kehá:ka DJ/VJ and multimedia artist Jackson 2bears is doing.


2bears is marking this auspicious occasion with the release of a full-length version of his incredible video work, Heritage Mythologies, an artful deployment of re-appropriation and remix for decidedly Indigenous purposes.

The piece is part of a 2010 installation and live video remix performance at the SAW Gallery in Ottawa, that has since been included in the Beat Nation touring exhibition. Beat Nation demonstrated the unique ways Indigenous artists are using hip-hop and other forms of popular culture to create new cultural hybrids—in painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video.

In Heritage Mythologies, 2bears lets loose his VJ skills on an astonishing array of found footage and cinematic samples sourced from Canadian media, newscasts, CanCon beer ads, Olympic resistance, Canadian rapper Classified's settler anthem "Oh...Canada", those iconic Heritage Minute videos, Cape Breton's singer Rita MacNeil rocking the national anthem, footage from the so-called 'Oka crisis', text from residential school reports, right on up to Prime Minister Harper's notorious 2008 apology for the Indian Residential Schools system. And all set to a rolling hip-hop soundtrack.

Heritage Mythologies is ironic, funny, and a scathing critique of Canadian politics and nationalism.

Not only does 2bears expose the long and destructive misrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples on film and in the media, he does it with an artful, musical eye on the colonial politics at work in how we see and, therefore, how we come to know about the past and present of this country.

Heritage Mythologies closes with a wry twist on that beloved old settler classic, "This Land is Your Land", which strums along against an onslaught of imagery depicting the historical and continuing faces of Indigenous resistance flashing and crackling in the background.

The juxtaposition is potent, powerful, and a clear reminder of how far we still have to go.

So on this 'Kanata Day', why glorify colonial conquest when you can lay bare the deep mythological heritage that still holds sway in the Canadian psyche? Why celebrate a falsely imagined nationalism that overwrites Indigenous nationhood in all its forms when you can champion the work of Indigenous artists committed to the daily struggle of correcting media misrepresentations and representing ourselves on our own terms?

Jackson 2bears challenges our complacency and calls us to account for the inanity of pledging ignorant allegiance to the settler colonial state.

Instead of painting your face with the flag of oppression while shotgunning tallboys of Molson Canadian, or embroidering that maple leaf patch on your backpack ahead of your next drunken hostel excursion through Europe, let's pay more attention to what Indigenous artists are actually doing with the imposed legacy of invasion.

Artists like Jackson 2bears are reappropriating the weapon of representation to reflect back to us the destructive, colonial reality that's been carefully hidden behind the false flag of Operation Reconciliation. Time to take it back to the foundations and try again.

Now, who's ready for some fireworks?

Watch Jackson 2bears, Heritage Mythologies

Heritage Mythologies - O Kanata Day - 2015 from Jackson 2bears


Check out more of his work on Vimeo and at jackson2bears.net

DOWNLOAD: Logan Staats' "Running Like the River"


Download "Running Like the River", the lead single from Logan Staats' debut solo album, Goodbye Goldia.

Mohawk singer Logan Staats is about to take over Indian Country.

The Six Nations musician, born and raised in Brantford, Ontario, has emerged on the Indigenous music scene bearing his guitar like a weapon, and his raw talent and emotion like a suit of armour in a war of heartbreak and redemption.

Staats, who first became known to us as the frontman for Ghost Town Orchestra, has been making waves with his solo work, after debuting a few solo tracks, performances, and videos through his label, 6 Arrows Media.

His debut album, Goodbye Goldia, is set for release on June 21st, and here's a first taste of what to expect: the clarion call of emotional immediacy, a singularly identifiable gift for melody, and an impassioned vocal delivery that overflows with joy, sadness, pain, and power.

This is acoustic music that explores the depths of human experience at its most honest and vulnerable. And Logan Staats is a conduit for that special magic that music holds—a transformative force for remaking pain into pure artistry.


DOWNLOAD: Logan Staats - "Running Like the River"

Listen to Kait Angus' "Drive", the Perfect Soundtrack for a Lovers' Escape


San-Francisco-based, Cree/Mohawk singer Kait Angus drops her latest single, "Drive"—a road trip ready, acoustic anthem of love and longing.

Kait Angus has a unique talent for sculpting sound into subtle shapes of desire. Often mixed with a touch of sadness, her melancholy love ballads crackle and fade like dusty old photographs, the receding view of a horizon caught at sunset in the reflected light of the rearview.

"Drive" is a lovers' soundtrack for a road trip into the unknown: an all-night drive, the yearning for perpetual movement to that "somewhere in the in-between". So fill the tank, kick back, and let go. That's just the sound of the rain coming in through the windows.

DOWNLOAD: Kait Angus - "Drive"

The 15 Best Indigenous Music Videos of 2014


Indigenous artists continued their takeover of popular culture in 2014. Here are the best Indigenous music videos of the year.

First things first, if you missed our epic selections of the Best Indigenous Music of 2014, you should go read and listen to what we picked. Also check out the Most Slept-On Indigenous Album of the year.

And as though our top albums, EPs, singles and our Best of 2014 Remixtape weren't enough to satiate your hunger for Native artistry, we've also compiled our favourite Indigenous music videos of 2014.

There were many amazing, cinema-sonic moments put on tape this year, but these were the videos that made the deepest, most engaging, and even funniest, impressions on us.

15. Jayli Wolf - "I Don't Remember"

Part of the fifth season of APTN's First Tracks, this is a sibylline dreamscape for a haunting and deceptively simple song by Jayli Wolf  (Métis). Directed by Michelle Latimer, we love getting lost in the video's black and white layering of starry, underwater, earthy and mesmerizing images.

14. Scatter Their Own- "Taste the Time"

"We are only as clean as our water" says Oglala Lakota duo Scatter Their Own. Want to know why Indigenous people are rising up against pipelines through our territories? This is why. An ominous and compelling...er...taste of things to come. That is, unless we change course.

13. Princess Nokia - "Nokia"

Cyber-supernatural 90s vibes abound in this neon and glittery ode to anime, BFFs, Nickelodeon, robotic dogs, and Nokia ringtones, among assorted other shimmering oddities. Flashbackward to bedazzled future beats in this trippy slice of this Taino Princess' world. You'll be hypnotized just like we were.

12. Mic Jordan - "Modern Day Warrior (ft. Real Truth)"

Youthful, exuberant, dedicated to the struggle and dropping hip-hop gems, up-and-comer Mic Jordan holds it down rapping directly about what it means to thrive and survive as a modern day warrior for his people, the Turtle Mountain Chippewa. Now that's what's up. This clip comes from Jordan's slept on album, Sometime After 83, which he dropped earlier this year (and which you should go download for free right now). The struggle lives and breathes in the artistry of talented Native MCs like Mic Jordan. "And damn right / I was built to fight". Tell it!

11. Kinnie Starr ft. Ja$E El Niño - "Save Our Waters"

Mohawk artist Kinnie Starr's not one to be shy in speaking her mind and this ode to protecting coastal waters from intrusive pipeline development finds a perfect counterpart in this collab with Haidawood—a stop motion animation video that works perfectly for the track that CBC called "part indictment, part wake-up call". We are in need of both at this point, and this is a creative and playful way to get the message out. Now let it compel action.

10. Drezus - "Warpath"

Although we're not exactly sold on Mic.com's framing of Indigenous hip-hop as "the most authentic rap we have today" (what is authentic? who is we?), we get what they were trying to say. No one else is bringing together raw talent, creativity and firepower like Native artists. Plains Cree/Saulteaux artist Drezus doesn't mix words or mess around and on this Stuey Kubrick-directed clip, he reps for the people—painted up, fire burning, singers around the drum, wild horses running slow mo, and surrounded by his fam and relations. That's power. Watch it all the way to the end for a special appearance by Beau Dick, master carver and hereditary chief of the Namgis First Nation, making that west coast warrior connect.

9. Angel Haze - "A Tribe Called Red"

Two of our favourite artists joined forces this year and the results exceeded our expectations. Although a lyric video for this tune was released a while back, this official video for Cherokee singer/MC Angel Haze's collab with A Tribe Called Red brings that ultra-crisp, black and white, leather-clad, dialed aesthetic we were hoping for. You want some more? Good luck competing with Angel Haze's "deity swag and omnipotent style".

8. Radical Son - "Human Behaviour"

When minimalism works, it really works. Keeping with that vibe, Kamilaroi artist Radical Son's video for his soulful tune "Human Behaviour" works with opaque spaces, blending deep, dark blacks and fading whites and greys, and using its stripped down visual spectrum to pull the gravity of the song's deep reggae groove out from the depths. Dope.

7. Sacramento Knoxx ft. DJ Dez - "The Trees Will Grow Again"

Community organizer, activist, MC, hip-hop producer and micro-documentary maker, Anishinaabe/Xicano artist Sacramento Knoxx is a man of many talents. This joint brings it all together with a dope visual delivery of rugged anti-imperialist politics, BDS empowerment, and raw hip-hop talent. That, plus the proceeds of the track go to benefiting youth and community. Knoxx is elevating the game and bringing power back to the people. The RaizUp is right. Represent.

6. Cree Nation Artists (Chisasibi Community) - "I Believe"

Ok, this one is pretty amazing. Hip-hop artist/producer and educator David Hodges has been working with the Cree Nation Government on a community-based music project called "N'we Jinan". Travelling throughout Cree communities in Quebec, Hodges set up a mobile studio, created music with youth and, in the process, produced a 19-song album that just went to Number 1 on iTunes in Canada. "I Believe" is the first single from the album—and it's an inspiring showcase of rising youth talent and empowerment. Raise it up for the next generation celebrating "culture, language and love". These are the voices we'll be listening for.

5. Greg Grey Cloud Storms the U.S. Senate with Honor Song After Keystone XL Vote

When the U.S. Senate votes to reject the Keystone XL pipeline by one vote, ONE VOTE, what else are you going to do but sing an honour song until they kick you out of there? Well, that's exactly what Crow Creek Sioux member Greg Grey Cloud did. You want to restore order Elizabeth Warren? Join Greg in "honouring the leaders who stood up for the people". Respect!

4. A Tribe Called Red - "Sisters (ft. Northern Voice)"

It's hard not to get behind a video that features a song we love, made by a crew the entire Native community loves, featuring Natives we recognize, and basically depicting exactly how it feels to get down to Mohawk/Cayuga/Anishinaabe crew A Tribe Called Red's music. Of course it's a party. Of course we're dancing in our bedrooms, in the convenience store, at the club, and in the car. Oh and course we have fireworks, colour smoke bomb things, and a Mohawk Warrior flag flying as we roll down a winter highway with the sunroof rolled back, the windows rolled down, and ATCR on blast in the system. You know we're all headed to the same Electric Powwow night anyways. See you on the dancefloor, relations.

3. Supaman - "Prayer Loop Song" 

Just another day in the life of your average beatboxing, freestyling, regalia wearing, powwow and b-boy fancy dancing, flute playing, drum beating, record scratching, loop-making, Crow Nation hip-hop SUPAMAN. They don't call him that for nothing, you know. Mad mad skills. Watch and learn.

2. Rebel Music - "Native America"

When we found out Rebel Music were debuting their Season 2 premiere, "Native America", as a Facebook-only video stream, we were all "Really guys? Facebook only?". But then we remembered how much NDNs lovvvvvvve Facebook—and how amazing the "Native America" episode is—and we realized this was actually a pretty brilliant strategy. The episode became a rallying cry for Native people across Turtle Island: it was viewed more than 2 million times in its first week (at last count it was approaching 4.5 Million views and still climbing). Needless to say, many tears of joy and shouts of Native Pride were shared (check the FB comments) as we watched ourselves and our community being represented for how we really are: vibrant, creative, alive and thriving in the midst of all the insanity! So special shout outs to Frank Waln, Inez Jasper, Nataanii Means and Mike Cliff for representing their nations—and all of our people—in a good way. Rebel Music: Native America reminded us that everyday is a great day to be Indigenous.

1. 1491s - "Cherokee"

There's no way this wasn't making the cut. Let's face it. With what we're up against, collectively, we all need more humour in our lives. And, according to the Dine/Dakota/Osage/Seminole/Creek comedy crew the 1491s, we all need more Europe in our lives too. The band, that is, not the continent. The 1491s have made a lot of amazing videos over the years, but this one is such an incredible parody of the 1986 hit, there's just no way the original can compete anymore. And that's saying something, because have you seen the original?? All we can say is MOAR. More of this please. More Turdle Island, more NAMMY GOLD, more HBC blanket antics, more decolonizing Europe, and more of whatever the hell Ryan Red Corn is doing. A newly indigenized modern hair metal classic. Aho!

Listen to DJ Shub's Electrifying Remix of Shawnee's 'Canadian Cry'


Mohawk songstress Shawnee gets a complete sonic makeover by the one and only DJ Shub, in his blown out remix of "Canadian Cry".

He may have parted ways with A Tribe Called Red, but that isn't slowing DJ Shub down for a second.

Shub's latest is a total reimagining of Shawnee's plaintive acoustic ballad "Canadian Cry", which he takes from its country-tinged origins, chops up, and transforms into an electrifying club anthem.

Speaking of anthems, in a wink to the nation-state, Shub lifts and loops a repeated vocal sample of Shawnee singing "my home and native" while he builds the track into a huge drop for the chorus, amplifying the song to new dancefloor-rocking rhythmic heights.

Listen to both below to get a taste of the original and the electrifying Shub remix.

STREAM: Shawnee - "Canadian Cry"

STREAM: Shawnee - "Canadian Cry" (DJ Shub Remix)

DOWNLOAD: Kait Angus - "The Masons Heart"


Be prepared to be hypnotized. Download the latest from Kait Angus, "The Masons Heart".

We don't know where this song came from, how it got here, or what otherworldly fire it took to make. But, for seven minutes and twenty eight blissful seconds, we were utterly transfixed.

Cree/Mohawk singer Kait Angus has a gift for deceptive simplicity and by the time the hypnotic refrain "in our hearts / we carry the flame" rises into view, this heart crushing song will have long echoed and ached its way deep into you, with the spirit of some unknown elsewhere. Magic.

Download: Kait Angus - "The Masons Heart"      


Download more of her music at kaitangus.com

Kinnie Starr Dreams Bigger


Kinnie Starr has never shied away from honest conversations about tough subjects. A passionate and articulate artist and writer, her music often speaks to the issues she cares about. Today, a new video for "Dream Bigger" continues the conversation.

"I dream bigger. I dream our grand kids will have clean water" said Kinnie Starr, adding in a recent interview with !earshot “I use rap forms and folk forms to try and communicate what I’m interested in, which is primarily the health and well being of people, and that spills out into the health and well being of the environment we occupy. Water comes to the forefront pretty quickly in the conversation.”

Sharing this brand new video - produced by her long time collaborator Hannah C, for the track that appears on Aporia Record's release of "Kiss It" - Kinnie posted on Facebook "I love my job, in terms of making creative product that speaks to a bigger picture than simple self promotion. Check it, and share the video if you believe we can manifest a healthier planet."

So listen up, share it and dream bigger:

Native America North Takes New York


Three of our favourite Indigenous artists will be traveling from their Canadian homes to New York this weekend to perform a showcase at APAP 2013.

The Big Apple will have the pleasure of hearing Don Amero, Digging Roots and Elisapie at a showcase, Native America North, during the APAP 2013 conference. Between the three acts you'll get roots, folk, and pop interpretations of Anishinabe, Mohawk, Inuit, and Métis culture.

If you're in the city Saturday January 12, head to the National Museam of the American Indian from 2-5pm to take it all in - the event is free to the public!

For more info visit aboriginalmusic.ca and get started with the latest video from Don Amero, Turn These Grey Skies Blue:

DOWNLOAD: Derek Miller - "7 Lifetimes"


Artists are rapidly giving voice to the #IdleNoMore movement in word, dance and song and we're sharing the latest sounds from Indian Country's finest. But it's not just round dances anymore.

Today we #SoundtrackTheStruggle with Mohawk blues rocker Derek Miller, who released a song that he wrote and recorded for Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence.

At the time of press, tomorrow will be Day 19 of Chief Spence's hunger strike. She pledges to continue until PM Harper agrees to meet with her.

Artists, send us your contributions and we'll continue to broadcast the revolution and #SoundtracktheStruggle.

DOWNLOAD: Derek Miller - "7 Lifetimes"

DOWNLOAD: Jace Martin - "Falling Stars"


Falling Stars is the title track from the upcoming album by Mohawk Six Nations Jace Martin. Produced by Crystal Shawanda, the track is just what you'd want out of a Nashville pop-country song - catchy, sweet and danceable. So grab your partner and download it now.

Following his years in blues band The WolfPack, Jace Martin developed his solo style with his 2008 APCMA "Best Blues Album" nominated eponymous album. Now signed to NewSun Records, and with country-star Crystal Shawanda in the producer's seat, Jace is branching out into new musical territory.

DOWNLOAD: Jace Martin - "Falling Stars"

Download: Chief Rock - "Smoke Dance Hip Hop Remix"


Sino General aka Chief Rock really brought the remix to this one.

Cayuga Nation electronic artist Chief Rock,  a member of the Haudenosaunee of Six Nations,  has been living and working in Vancouver for the last two years, during which time he's been able to finish tracks like the one below. It's a remix of the traditional Mohawk Smoke Dance; an upbeat and bass-driven remix of an already powerful powwow song.

Chief Rock grew up performing - shortly after high school he joined the Kanata Native Dance Theater and then later the internationally renowned Red Thunder dance group, while maintaining an interest in BBoying. Chief Rock has also danced in music videos, including Susan Aglukhark's One Hand Turns Another. It's been this blend of contemporary flair and traditional knowledge that's led Rock to create remixes like the one below. Cop it!

Download: Chief Rock - "Smoke Dance Hip Hop Remix"

Windspeaker Talks with Brendt Thomas Diabo


Brendt Thomas Diabo is a country/rock/folk artist from the Mohawk Nation in Kahnawake, Quebec. Diabo talked with Windspeaker recently about battling stage fright, recording his new EP, and what next to expect from the talented young artist.

From Windspeaker's article Mohawk musician making it on his own by Lauren McComber:

Right from the start, Brendt Thomas Diabo doubted his pursuit of a solo music career. It was April 2011, and he had just started recording songs for his solo music project called Thomas Doubting.

It wasn’t that he lacked the musical talent – he has plenty – or that he suffers from stage fright. It’s just that, as Diabo puts it, it is simply in his nature to doubt. Hence the name, Thomas Doubting.

“It was sort of an experiment for me. I was mainly just testing the waters to see if I could do this,” confessed Diabo, a 21- year-old musician from the Mohawk Nation of Kahnawake.

With his tentative first steps into the Indie music scene of Montreal, Diabo promised himself that if he didn’t reach a certain goal by the age of 22 (to tour outside of Montreal), he would just “stop the whole pursuit and grow up.”

Personally, I would say that 22 is far too young to give up on a professional and creative pursuit, not to mention to "grow up", but setting goals is surely a great way to move forward and happily it's working well for Diabo:

With his 22nd birthday just two months away, Diabo doesn’t see himself giving up anytime soon. He is recording his second EP - which has already yielded a bluesy number called Ride – and has some potential gigs in the works opening up for a well known Aboriginal musician.

“Where I wanted to be last year is now where I’m at this year,” said Diabo. “It’s taken a lot of time, money, and dedication to get the ball rolling, but with my new EP being recorded I have a lot more confidence in myself and my music. I’d like to see how far I could take this one.”

So would we! Keep it up Thomas Doubting, we look forward to more!


Read the whole interview for more with Diabo, about watching Elvis movies, listening to Led Zepplin and following his own advice, here: ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/mohawk-musician-making-it-his-own.

Watch his cover of Midnight at the Movies below to get you started, then be sure to download his free  EP Haunted for free at mediafire.com/?jhp7sjl83vi2763.