6 Canadian Indigenous Artist you should learn more about
In support of the Cancel Canada Day/Every Child Matters movement this July, the AHSC has shared some prominent Canadian Indigenous artists and has celebrated their contributions through their work. Below find the AHSC's top 6 Canadian Indigenous Artists, along with their short biography and contributions.
The Blackwood Honeybees
The Blackwood Honeybees—a musician group of both Irish and Anishinaabe heritage based in our very own town of London, Ontario. The duo uses acoustic guitars and banjos to challenge colonialism and the impressions that it has left on our society. Their music focuses on themes of change and love, recognizing indigenous issues of both the past and the present.
Find Blackwood Honeybee’s music here
Kent Monkman is a Cree, Two-Spirit artist based in Manitoba’s Interlake Region. His work is famous for retelling historical narratives, utilizing the tools of colonizers such as imagery and language in order to accentuate his messages of oppression and attitudes toward Indigenous people. Monkman’s works contain recurring characters, some of which are recast historical figures, adding elements of humour to his socially conscious art.
What does Two Spirit Mean?
Two Spirit, or the 2S part of LGBTQ2S+, is an Indigenous term used to describe someone who possesses both a masculine and feminine spirit. The term is used by Indigenous people in order to identify their sexuality, gender identity, and spirituality. Those who identify as Two Spirit are greatly revered in the Indigenous community as they have both the masculine and feminine perspective.
Monkman’s queer and two-spirited identity is prominently expressed with his artwork that all hold a high storytelling quality.
Learn more about Kent Monkman’s work here: https://www.kentmonkman.com/painting
Jeff Thomas is an Iroquois photographer, curator, and author in Ottawa, Ontario. A self-titled “Urban Iroquois,” Thomas’s work revolves around Indigenous placement in current society. The title of “Urban Iroquois” is an oxymoron, labelling his work as an examination of race, indigeneity, and gender in both historical and contemporary photography. He is a nationally recognized curator and is the author of literature about the indigenous experience in residential schools. Thomas’s work relates historical Indigenous experience with contemporary experiences, providing photographs that inspire introspection and advocacy.
For more about Jeff Thomas: https://jeff-thomas.ca
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Nishnaabeg writer, musician, and academic in Mississauga, Ontario. Simpson’s books revolve around Indigenous thoughts and practices in both today’s society and historically. Simpson’s writings highlight personal contemporary experiences. She advocates for Indigenous ontologies, immersing herself in cultural traditions and analyzing their relevance in modern society. The limitations of the western education system are frequently criticized in her work, and her writings carry a permeating theme of connectedness to nature. The Nishnaabeg methods of storytelling are prominent in all mediums of her expression. Her work excellently highlights what needs to change, while also addressing the customs and traditions that should be further illuminated in modern society.
Learn more about Leanne Simpson’s work here: https://www.leannesimpson.ca
Andrew Joseph Stevens III
Andrew Joseph Stevens III, also known as Drives the Common Man, is a London, Ontario based Indigenous artist who has gained a large following on both TikTok and YouTube. His pop-punk style is utilized to remix hit songs in a fresh new style. His solo music has gained traction for its melancholy lyrics, coupled with upbeat tempos and soulful vocals. His song “Logged Off” is set to drop July 9th.
Drives the Common Man’s YouTube:
Drives the Common Man’s TikTok:
Jay Soule is an Indigenous artist who belongs to the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation southwest of London, Ontario, who creates under the name “Chippewar.” The name embodies the traditional warrior role of Indigenous people, as well as the struggle against Canada’s oppression.
Soule is a painter and a clothing designer, with both mediums heavily influenced by his Indigenous identity and its expression.
Learn more about Jay Soule's work here