Indigenous musicians making a significant contribution based on new study
- EFN Staff | November 18, 2019
A one of a kind study by Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) recently released the first ever National Indigenous Music Study (NIMIS).
Released on November 13, 2019, this study looked at the contributions, impacts, challenges and successes of Indigenous music in Canada.
“APTN has always been a leading supporter of the Indigenous music industry in Canada. We set out to gain a better understanding of this group of professionals and what we found is that this industry has a significant impact on the economic and social fabric of Canada,” stated Jean La Rose, CEO of APTN in a prepared statement. “However, the industry also faces challenges, which creates many opportunities for growth. We see this study as a starting point for in depth and informed discussions that will help the industry reach its full potential.”
According to the document, the Indigenous music community is thriving yet the Indigenous music industry is in its infancy and there is still considerable room for growth and development. It also shows that Indigenous musicians are making a significant contribution to Canada but a number of ongoing, systemic issues remain that keep Indigenous musicians from fully participating in the Canadian economy.
“Today, music and cultural practices represented as “traditional” (e.g., drumming, round dance singing styles, pow wow dancing.) continue to play a primary role in the preservation of identity, culture and resistance for Indigenous peoples,” stated Charity Marsh in the study, who is a professor from the University of Regina’s Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance. “And yet many Indigenous youth living in Saskatchewan are turning toward the arts practices of hip hop culture (rapping/emceeing, DJing/beat making, break/hip hop dancing and graffiti arts) as a way to express and make sense of present-day lived experiences, including the ongoing legacies of state enforced residential school programs and the other practices of colonization, the current climate of contentious government initiated truth and reconciliation processes and systemic issues of racism, poverty, and violence faced by young people today.”
Some other key findings of NIMIS show that Indigenous music contributed a total of almost $78 million to Canada’s economy (GDP) and supports more than 3,000 full-time positions across the country.
APTN and its partners engaged with those involved in the Indigenous music community to conduct the study. This included anyone (Indigenous or non-Indigenous) who creates, promotes and supports Indigenous music in Canada. In total, 620 industry insiders completed the online survey and 70 interviews were held to gain unique insight into the industry.
Support from Indigenous radio stations such as Missinippi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) in Saskatchewan and variable festivals that provide space and opportunities for Indigenous musicians from Aboriginal Music Week to the John Arcand Fiddle Festival.
Full results of the study can be found on the APTN’s NIMIS website.