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.”

SOCAN member Laura Niquay shone twice at the 2022 ADISQ Galas: First, at the Premier Gala on Nov. 2, where she won the first Félix for Album of the Year – Aboriginal Languages for Waska Matisiwin, and then at the televised gala on Nov. 6, in the Indigenous Artist of the Year category.

This double win took on even greater meaning during her performance alongside Claude Mckenzie, Samian, Ivan Boivin-Flamand, and Émile Bilodeau, all of whom lit up the stage, while demonstrating the evolution and richness of Québec’s indigenous musical landscape.

Niquay seemed content after winning her second Félix award, and after also winning the 2022 SOCAN Foundation TD Indigenous Songwriter Award in July of 2022, as well as three awards at the Teweikan Gala on Oct. 10, 2022.

We spoke with Niquay, who considers herself a messenger, and for whom the transfer of knowledge plays a vital role in the vitality of the indigenous music scene.

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Click on the image to play the interview with Laura Niquay

Snotty Nose Rez Kids earned three honours at the the 2022 edition of the Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMAs) on Sept. 23, 2022: the duo won Rap & Hip Hop Artist, Indigenous Artist, and Recording of the Year (the latter for their Life After album).

Sam Lynch won the SOCAN-sponsored Songwriter of the Year Award (for his Keeping Time album), and Dorothy Chang received the Classical Composer of the Year Award (for her Soaring Spirits album).

The Garrys were chosen BreakOut Artist of the Year, Nuela Charles was the Pop Artist of thre Year, Sargeant X Comrade was the R&B Artist of the Year, and Sweet Alibi were the Roots Artist of the Year.

For a compete list of artistic award winners, click here. SOCAN congratulates all of our member nominees and winners at the 2022 WCMAs!