2020 Polaris Music Prize finalist nêhiyawak's Kris Harper recommends Capturing Women by Sarah Carter
This interview originally aired on Sept. 19, 2020.
The indie rock band nêhiyawak hail from amiskwaciy — alternatively known as Edmonton — on Treaty 6 territory. Comprised of three Indigenous musicians — Kris Harper, Matthew Cardinal and Marek Tyler — the band dub their sound "moccasin-gaze" — a swirling blend of traditional and contemporary music.
Their debut album nipiy was released in 2019 and was on the shortlist for the 2020 Polaris Music Prize.
nipiy is a unique blend of post-rock, synth, instrumentals, vocals and sonic soundscapes — with lyrics that examine urbanization, the legacy of residential schools and what it means to be Indigenous in today's world.
Singer-songwriter and musician Harper is currently reading Capturing Women by Sarah Carter.
"The book I want to mention is Capturing Women: The Manipulation of Cultural Imagery in Canada's Prairie West by Sarah Carter. She's a PhD professor at the University of Alberta.
"The book is talking about the creation of the image of the Indigenous woman, as well as the image of the European woman. It's about what the creation of those images did to ensure the safety of European women and how it controlled the narrative as to how Indigenous women were perceived — and also how they were able to express themselves and their own identities.
"This book explores how this kind of cultural interference — and interference with people being able to understand other people — created a kind of racism or prejudice without a lot of people even understanding that it was happening.
"It's an important book for myself and others to read to consider the kind of environment and world that we live in today."
Kris Harper's comments have been edited for length and clarity.