'Canada, are you listening?': Jeremy Dutcher wins Polaris Prize for Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa

Jeremy Dutcher joins Tom Power live in the q studio to talk about his big win at last night's Polaris Music Prize ceremony.
Host Tom Power with Polaris Music Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher in the q studio in Toronto, Ont. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)

Last night, Jeremy Dutcher was awarded the 2018 Polaris Music Prize for his debut album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. The award recognizes the best Canadian album released in the past year based on artistic merit alone, regardless of record sales, radio spins or chart positions.

Dutcher, an Indigenous artist from the Wolastoq community in New Brunswick, performed entirely in the Wolastoq language on the album, with the title translating to Our Maliseet Songs.

He was watching the language fade as elders passed away, and this was his part in helping to preserve it.

"It does come down to repatriation, resurgence, revitalization, but for me it's circling a couple things," he says. "It's circling the river but it's circling the language, too. "

Following the win last night, Dutcher gave a powerful speech, telling the audience, "You are in the midst of an Indigenous renaissance," followed by an invitation to bear witness to it.

"You look at the kinds of art that are being put out by our community. It's changing this country. We're now having dialogues that wouldn't have been possible 10 years ago," he says, adding that it all stems from the Idle No More movement.

"Canada are you listening? It is being laid bare for you, so are you going to take it up? I see such a beautiful way forward."  

Jeremy Dutcher performs LIVE at the 2018 Polaris Music Prize Gala. His album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, is shortlisted for the 2018 Polaris Music Prize. 8:23
Jeremy Dutcher accepts the 2018 Polaris Music Prize for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa during the Polaris Music Prize gala in Toronto on Monday, September 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press)

Listen to the full conversation with Jeremy Dutcher near the top of this post. 

Produced by ​Mitch Pollock and Tyrone Callender

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