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Canada’s Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival Announces 2021 Nominees

The awards show will be streamed live from National Arts Centre on June 12.

The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival is getting ready to host one of Canada’s biggest music award shows. The Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards span 18 categories, celebrating solo artists, duos and groups from across Canada by showcasing the diverse and growing music and culture of artistic expression and accomplishment within the Indigenous community.

“Presenting and promoting Indigenous music has been a cornerstone of our Festival for over 22 years, so we felt it was a natural connection to establish these international Awards to spark this celebration of Indigenous music in recognition of National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day,” said Trina Mather Simard, artistic producer and executive director of Ottawa’s Summer Solstice Festival, which runs June 1-21.

Some of the 18 award categories hold special significance. Youth Leadership in Music and Social Voice categories recognize individuals and groups that have impacted artistic heritage and culture within the Indigenous community, mentorship of youth through music and/or raised awareness of social and environmental issues to inspire positive change. International Indigenous Artist/Group Recording of the Year recognizes artists within and beyond this country’s borders, who identify as Indigenous but not as First Nations, Métis or Inuit.

Nominees were selected from 250 Canada-wide submissions by an invited panel of jurors comprising Indigenous and music industry professionals and peers. No public voting was involved in the selection process. Category winners will be announced and honoured at a special ceremony streamed live from the National Arts Centre on Saturday, June 12.

Twin Flames.


Radio Song Single of the Year
Battlefields, Twin Flames
Super Power, Joey Stylez
Manidoo Dewe’igan, Cody Coyote
Sah ‘Laana, Carsen Gray
Some Kind of Hell, Burnstick

Country Album of the Year
Shine, Leah Belle
Don’t Mind If I Do, Jerry Sereda
Break The Chain, Desiree Dorion
Big Dream, Esther Pennell
Last Ride, The C-weed Band

Pop/Alternative/Rock Album of the Year
Omen, Twin Flames, Omen
Quanah Style, Quanah Style
Theory of Ice, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Warrior Sun, Joey Stylez and Carsen Gray
Dreamweaver, Anachnid

Live Musical Performance of the Year
Shawnee, Warrior Heart
Shauit, Nutshimam
Sandrine Masse-Savard, Yawenda and wendat chants
Joshua Arden Miller, Toronto Blues Society 35 Years of Blues
Victory Dance, Joey Stylez and Carsen Gray

Social Voice
Murray Porter
Leela Gilday
G.R. Gritt

Murray Porter

Roots Album of the Year
As The Stars Explode, The North Sound
Made Of, Nick Sherman
STAND UP, Murray Porter
North Star Calling, Leela Gilday
The Ridge, Julian Taylor

Rap/Hip Hop/Electronica Album of the Year
Sah ‘Laana, The North Stars
Electric Turtle Dreams, Sean Beaver
Let The Games Begin, Rich n Beka
20/20, Mattmac
Dreamweaver, Anachnid

Metis Artist/Group of the Year
Sandra Sutter
G.R. Gritt
Electric Religious
Brandi Vezina
Blue Moon Marquee

Youth Leadership in Music
Warrior Women
Cody Coyote

International Indigenous Artist/Group Recording of the Year
Vildaluodda / Wildprint, VILDÁ
A Small Death, Samantha Crain
Cihkkojuvvon / Hidden, Gájanas
Dockside Saints, Cary Morin
Sky Songs, Alena Murang

Music in the Arts
Twin Flames, Grace Too
Okara, Okara LIVE
Cris Derksen, Indigenous Fashion Week


Recording Artist(s) of the Year
Twin Flames
Murray Porter
DJ Shub

Rising Star
Mary Bryton
Logan Staats
Kaeley Jade
Joshua Arden Miller
Angel Baribeau

Inuit Artist/Group of the Year
Silver Wolf Band
Silla and Rise

Hand Drum/Fiddle/Instrumental Album of the Year
Four Sacred Colours, Tee Cloud
Volume 2, Manitou Mkwa Singers
Singing is Healing, Joel Wood

Pow Wow Traditional/ Contemporary Album of the Year
Honouring Our Languages, Wabanaki Confederacy
Kepmite’lsultinej: Honour Our People, Stoney Bear Singers
Volume 2, Manitou Mkwa Singers

Artistic Video
Like A Record (Troy Koko), Troy Kokol
Monsters (The North Stars), David Hodges
Mother Roots (Silla And Rise), Rise Ashen
Easier (Nadjiwan), Meriläinen Müsic Inc., Laura Meriläinen & Marc Meriläinen
Solidification (Leanne Betasamosake Simpson), Sammy Chien and the Chemerik Collective


The SSIMAs and SSIF are produced by Mather Simard’s Indigenous entertainment and tourism firm, Indigenous-Experiences.ca on behalf of the National Indigenous Peoples Day Committee comprising six organizations that represent Indigenous communities across Canada. An artist advisory committee made up of Canadian Indigenous music leaders was created to collaborate with and provide direction on the SSIMAs.

“It’s time to celebrate Indigenous voices! These awards provide an excellent platform for artists to be recognized for their hard work. Ottawa being the nation’s capital is a great portal to the world to share the surging wave of Indigenous expression,” noted members Vince Fontaine and Elaine Bomberry.