Life in Attawapiskat, the isolated First Nation community on the western edge of James Bay, isn't easy. There was a suicide crisis in 2015-16 (an estimated 100 of Attawapiskat's 2,700 residents attempted to take their own lives during this time). A housing crisis in 2011-12 brought on by flooding and inadequate infrastructure required substantial investments just to meet the community's basic needs. And, last year, high levels of chemical byproducts in the community's water plant caused a water crisis which necessitated the use of two emergency reverse osmosis filtration systems to supply the community.
Attawapiskat resident, solo musician and frontman for rock act Midnight Shine Adrian Sutherland has seen it all. And he's not impressed.
Sutherland, who's also an artist ambassador for the Downie Wenjack Fund — launched by the late Gord Downie in honour of residential school runaway Chanie Wenjack, to improve the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all Canadians — released the pointed protest song "Politician Man," in which he asks, "Hey, Mr. Politican Man, what have you done for me lately?" The answers are... uneven.
Samaritanmag spoke to Sutherland about "Politician Man," the Far North, and the issues in Attawapiskat.
Have you been affected by the coronavirus in the North?
Here in Attawapiskat and other fly-in communities on the James Ba.y, unnecessary flights in-and-out have been restricted, and the only items coming in are food and supplies - Continue reading on Samaritanmag website.