Saskatchewan Indigenous Music Association announces awards show to recognize artists

A new organization in Saskatchewan is working to bring tools and resources to Indigenous artists, giving them an opportunity to share their creations within the music industry.

The Saskatchewan Indigenous Music Association (SIMA) is a non-profit organization the supports, promotes and advocates for Saskatchewan-based Indigenous artists and groups.

“What we are going to end up doing is just being a consulting group organization,” said SIMA president Donny Parenteau. “A place to come to if you are Indigenous and not sure what to do.

“No longer are you going to be sitting there in the dark.”

SIMA will soon have 10 board members helping singers and songwriters in Saskatchewan advance their careers as musicians. They have been building the association for a little over one year.

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“I was so excited that there were amazing people putting in the work and trying to give back to the Indigenous music scene in Saskatchewan,” said Saskatchewan Indigenous singer/songwriter LJ Tyson.

“After so long of being misrepresented, or not represented at all, it’s nice to have this.”

From Tyson’s experience, he sees Indigenous artists as an underrepresented group in the industry.

“We have a really hard time getting venues, getting nominations for other award shows, we have a hard time getting on the radio. Thank goodness there are specific radio stations that play Indigenous music or else a lot of us wouldn’t be played.”

SIMA is excited to be hosting an Indigenous music awards show in October, with hopes to bring more recognition to artists sharing their music.

“This is just the beginning, I can tell you that,” Parenteau said after the official announcement of the show.

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Parenteau is looking to be widely inclusive with nominations and helping Indigenous artists.

“When it comes to music, you will be able to qualify for this and be part of this. The more we work together, the stronger we will become.”

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Tyson explained that for up-and-coming artists, having resume-building experiences like nominations and awards is really important.

“I know a lot of Saskatchewan people that are just making great art, Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” said Tyson. “That being said, I think we should all have equal opportunities.”

Most award ceremonies only offer one or two categories that recognize Indigenous music.

“It’s just a matter of getting the word out there,” said Parenteau.

“I would love to see some young person come forward at 12 years old, and by the time they hit 20, everybody in Canada knows them. When they look back and accept that first big award in Canada and they are asked where they got their start, I want them to say it was the Saskatchewan Indigenous Music Association,” said Parenteau. “That is why I want to do this.”


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