Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish of Digging Roots will receive the 2023 CMW Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award in recognition of their longstanding commitment to charitable initiatives. They accepted the honour during a special presentation at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel, on Toronto’s Waterfront, on June 10, 2023.
The CMW Allan Slaight Humanitarian Award is presented annually to a Canadian artist, duo, or group, in recognition of their social activism and benevolent support of humanitarian interests and causes. As recipient of this Award, The Slaight Family Foundation will make a sizable donation towards Digging Roots’s chosen cause, to acquire and donate ground-penetrating radar machines that will allow First Nation communities to survey and find children murdered in their traditional territories when mandated Residential Schools operated across Canada. To date, the bodies of 10,000 young people have been discovered in unmarked graves.
The husband-and-wife team of Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish of Digging Roots are Anishinabek and Onkwehón:we musicians, songwriters, and activists, who’ve traveled around the world spreading conscious music that speaks to the modern identity of being Indigenous people in Canada. Since the inception of Digging Roots, Raven and ShoShona have supported many, many grassroots and cultural events in the advocacy of Indigenous Rights. Over the years, they’ve conducted music workshops with children in isolated reserves, with a focus on identity, empowerment, history, colonialism, and creativity. They’ve also gifted instruments like drums, guitars, harmonicas, and amplifiers to Indigenous children.
Says Raven, “We’re in a time of reconciliation, we need to move our allied discussions from conversation to action, and that means we need co-conspirators to get the healing process started. It’s time to learn from the past so we don’t repeat the injustices of yesteryear. The only way forward is to face the truth of this country and implement solutions for peace.”