Natasha St-Pier faces backlash over First Nation-themed music video

New Brunswick entertainer Natasha St-Pier has brought attention to her Acadian roots with her new music video, Tous Les Acadiens, but the attention hasn't been positive.

Some say Acadian singer's music video is rife with stereotypes depicting First Nations people

New Brunswick entertainer Natasha St-Pier has brought attention to her Acadian roots with her new music video, Tous Les Acadiens, but the attention hasn't been positive. 

The video, which includes 34-year-old St-Pier sporting a full headdress, dream catchers and the singer paddling a birch canoe, has been criticized by René Cormier, president of the Société nationale de l'Acadie (SNA).

"Despite all the efforts we do, we continue to convey these kind of clichés," Cormier told Radio-Canada on Monday.

Rife with stereotypes depicting aboriginal culture in Canada, the video also includes children in paper headdresses dancing around a teepee.

Natasha St-Pier has come under fire after the release of her latest music video, which critics say is rife with First Nation stereotypes. (Sony Music France)
Cormier said the SNA does not dictate to its citizens how to represent Acadia. But artists have the ability to impact how Acadians are viewed by others.

French media have even called out St-Pier for "bringing us back to the past."

"I wonder why she is dressed as a native American to represent the Acadians? People who do not know the Acadians will think they are native Americans,"  said Caro Côté, with L'internaute.com.

New Brunswick Acadian musician Julie Aubé of Les Hay Babies spoke out against the video.

"In the last 10 years, we've made so much progress showing to the world what a modern Acadie looks like. We're not all dressed like La Sagouine, playing spoons and dancing in open fields like it's still 1800," she said. "Thank God for the numerous Acadian bands that had the guts to tour across the world and defend their French dialect, and explain why there's still French people in New Brunswick."

Others have supported the artist, including Acadian singer-songwriter Édith Butler, who defends St-Pier's artistic choices, and is surprised about the reaction of the Acadian community.

"On the contrary, it is so wonderful and so beautiful, we should congratulate her," she said to Radio-Canada.

Butler collaborates with St-Pier for two songs on the new album.

St-Pier has spent most of her career in France. Her first record Emergence was released in 1996.

The singer responded to the criticism in a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon.

"I am sad to learn that some people have been offended by my video Tous les Acadiens it was not my intention, since on the contrary I was happy to work on and present an album that talks about my roots," St-Pier's Facebook post said.

She said the music video was intended to be an expression of her childhood in New Brunswick, including walks in the forests, alongside rivers and the summers that she spent fishing and going on treasure hunts.

"This album, these are my memories, my dreams and the magic of my childhood," her Facebook post said.

"I speak on this album about a region close to my heart and an inspirational people."

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