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"

STREAM: Logan Staats - "Vampires"


6Arrows Media releases the first single from Logan Staats, "Vampire".

We knew 6Arrows was onto something when Logan Staats stole the show during their inaugural #6AMSessions livestreamed concert in late 2014. There's something immediate about his music, voice, and songwriting that just pulls you in.

Sure enough, the Six Nations-based Indigenous media company quickly signed the Ghost Town Orchestra frontman, and they plan to release his debut solo album on June 21, 2015. While we've yet to hear more details, today we got a first taste of what to expect musically. And it's beautiful.

"Vampires" is a simple acoustic song that brings Staats' honeyed vocal rasp to the fore, while recounting a mournful lament for lost love and the vampires and werewolves that haunt his hometown and memory. Aching and soulful, this is a must listen.

Now if only they'd upload it to SoundCloud and social media so we (and you) could share it around.

Stream Logan Staats - "Vampires" and watch a live video of him performing the song, here.


6 Arrows Media Launches #6AMSessions with Live-Streamed Concert from Six Nations


Indigenous media is on the rise in NDN Country and 6 Arrows Media is the latest out of the gate. Their new music series, the #6AMSessions, launched on November 1st with a live concert straight outta Six Nations.

UPDATE: If you missed the November 1st broadcast, watch the complete 6am Sessions show now on 6ArrowsMedia.com

6 Arrows Media is the new joint venture from acclaimed Indigenous musicians Derek Miller and Marty Ballentyne, who have joined forces with multimedia production house Thru the RedDoor to launch a "multimedia production hub" for NDN Country and beyond.

For Miller and Ballentyne, 6 Arrows is all about representing ourselves, supporting each other and building community:

“We’re eager to share what we’ve been working on. 6AM will be able to take those artists who live next door and give them every tool they need to be successful. We have the technology, we have the industry experience, and we have the vision. It is our hope that this company is there to give artists the boost that people like Marty and I didn’t have when we began. For us, this is a way of giving back."

Helped out by a few fun promo clips by the likes of their friends Adam Beach, Leonard Sumner, Missy Knott, and a Chllly Chase eating a worm (!), 6 Arrows launched their first online experiment on November 1st, the #6AMSessions, a free concert featuring incredible Indigenous artists performing at their Ohseweken studio on Six Nations—and livestreamed through 6arrowsmedia.com.

The concert was hosted by Derek Miller and featured a powerhouse lineup of (admittedly Haudenosaunee-centric) performers, including: Brendt Diabo, Logan Staats (of Ghost Town Orchestra), Ras Haile X, Chllly Chase, Cheri Maracle, Rebecca Miller, Behold the Shadows, Jeff Doreen, The Ollivanders, the 6AM Jazz Band and, of course, Derek Miller and his band The Lindas. Pretty damn impressive for the first show of the series.

Derek Miller and the Lindas

Rocking his trademark Reservoir Dogs attire, Miller kept the proceedings flowing by introducing each artist, chatting with them in between sets, and generally lending the show a casual, yet intimate feel. The sound quality was tight, the vibe was right, and the performances were killer.

A live studio audience enjoyed the show up close and personal but, for the rest of us, the livestream was a great way for viewers from around the world to catch the show, and the #6amsessions hashtag was a fun way to chat while the concert was beamed to our devices, phones and living rooms.

Livestreaming music is nothing new on the interwebs, but it doesn't happen nearly enough in Indian Country. Saturday's show was the perfect post-Halloween antidote to the saccharine aftertaste of total sugar overload from the night before. And a welcome addition to the growing Indigenous music and media landscape.

6 Arrows is clearly on to a good thing here. We're excited to see where it goes next. And Like Derek Miller said:

Although all of the artists rocked it on Saturday, for us, Logan Staats was the highlight of the night. His raw and impassioned vocal delivery and prodigious songrwriting talent stole the show.

Check out his performance of "What You Love" from the 6 Arrows promo video below. This guy is going places.

For more info and to watch an archive of the broadcast, visit: 6arrowsmedia.com  

VIDEO: She King - "This Is Me"


We've got a new video from Six Nations rocker Shawnee Talbot of She King for her acoustic expression This Is  Me.

She King, based out of Toronto, is mostly known for their hard-hitting, glam-rock style of music and performance along side the ever-classic rock ballad format. This time we get up close and personal with Shawnee Talbot, the bands lead singer, in this intimate and acoustic performance of her song This Is Me.

She King will be touring with Glass Tiger and Roxette this summer and you can check out the tour schedule at sheking.ca.

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"

VIDEO: Bear Fox and The 1491s - "Represent Bear Fox"


Here 2011 NAMMY award-winning musician Bear Fox, in collaboration with comedy troupe The 1491s, performs her song Rich Girl.

More known for their sketch comedy videos - which have made a huge splash on YouTube - the 1491s have branched out into other art forms such as poetry and music in some of their latest videos. Their most recent features Akwesasne musician Bear Fox, the 2011 Native American Music Award winner for Debut Artist Of The Year.

This video is an unplugged version of her song Rich Girl accompanied by some live beatboxing by Bobby.  The song touches on the issues of growing up in an Indigenous environment with very little in material wealth but having riches in culture and beauty of Indigenous life with family.

Props to the 1491s and Bear Fox for sharing this great piece of video artistry with Turtle Island!

VIDEO: Joey Stylez Featuring Derek Miller - "Mr. Milkman"


This brand new Joey Stylez video is directed by Big Soul Production's Laura Milliken and features Six-Nations blues-rocker Derek Miller.

As a part of APTN's First Tracks series, this hot video for Joey Stylez' Mr. Milkman puts Stylez behind the wheel and features Derek Miller at his side doing what Derek does best - slaying the guitar. This is the first of the 2011 First Tracks videos we've seen - there will be a handful of other slick videos coming soon from Big Soul Productions in Toronto and we're stoked to see them.

Meanwhile, sink your teeth into this one - a great start to 2012 with a collaboration by two of Turtle Island's busiest musicians!

RPM YouTube Playlist - "Revitalization"


Here's an RPM YouTube playlist to accompany our last podcast that focused on Indigenous language revitalization.

Staying in the theme of our last RPM podcast, we've compiled a playlist of Indigenous videos that are in the realm of language revitalization.

To view this playlist in YouTube click this link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL166EDD1F62B2484D 


Intro Kashtin - Tshinanu (Our People) Radmilla Cody - A Beautiful Dawn Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson - A Call to the Ancestors Robbie Robertson featuring Ulali - Mahk Jchi (Heart Beat Drum Song) Wab Kinew - Anishinabemowin Word of the Day - Ninagam Wab Kinew - Anishinabemowin Word of the Day - Ketenagamonan Wab Kinew - Anishinabemowin Word of the Day - Nagamok! Wab Kinew - Anishinabemowin Word of the Day - Diwe'igan Outro

The Indigenous Artists of Rolling Stone's Top 100 Guitarists of All Time


Among the greatest of guitar legends in the history of Rock N' Roll - according to the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine - are a number who are of Indigenous ancestry.

Rolling Stone's list "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" includes Robbie Robertson, the legendary creator of the electric distorted power chord Link Wray, and Kiowa legend Jesse Ed Davis.

From Indian Country Today's Rolling Stone Picks Hendrix, Robertson, Wray—and Jesse Ed Davis:

Davis was one of the great guitarists for hire in the late 1960s and early 1970s, playing on records and on stage with true rock royalty. After touring with Conway Twitty and playing on Taj Mahal’s first three albums, he went on to work with George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Leonard Cohen, and Keith Moon, among many others. When it came time to record his own albums, the friends who showed up to play along told the story of just how essential Davis had become: Contributors to Jesse Davis (1971) included Eric Clapton, Gram Parsons and Leon Russell.

Indeed, each of these three of our guitar-slaying brothers are iconic in their own right and are well-deserving of the recognition!

Here's Robertson's classic Somewhere Down the Crazy River: