Adrian Sutherland welcomes film award for protest music video 'Politician Man'
Protest song calls out politicians and encourages everyone to better understand each other
A music video urging politicians to do better has garnered Attawapiskat's Adrian Sutherland the coveted Golden Sheaf from The Yorkton Film Festival.
The song — called Politician Man — was written in the wake of a controversial comment from an Ottawa politician in August of 2019, when Attawapiskat was put under a state of emergency over contaminated water.
"The relationship between Canada and First Nations has been difficult for a long time, and in many ways it still is," Sutherland said.
"Politician Man is about this relationship, and the need for all of us – politicians, chiefs, Indigenous people, all Canadians – to start listening to each other, and move past the blaming. We all need to do our part. That's what reconciliation is."
The Yorktown Film Festival has been celebrating cinema since 1947. Its Golden Sheaf Award is considered a coveted prize among Canadian filmmakers. The Politician Man music video won the Golden Sheaf for Best Performing Arts & Entertainment.
"It's quite politically charged to when you listen to it. But a strong message is there," Sutherland told the CBC's Matt Fratpietro.
"I guess what ignited that whole song was some of the issues that First Nations people are faced with. And one of them happened to be water at that time and ... [we've had] water issues that date back into the 90s and beyond, and continue to have those water issues till this day. As an artist and having to live here, I was just really frustrated ... it really feels like there's been a lot of false promises when it comes to some of these issues. Water is one of the most basic human needs and not having access to clean water is just really really not acceptable."
Sutherland is the lead singer for the Attawapiskat band Midnight Shine.