An allegation of cultural appropriation has Inuit artists threatening to boycott the upcoming Indigenous Music Awards (IMA).
Throat singers Kelly Fraser and Tanya Tagaq are upset a non-Inuk throat-singing artist is up for an award alongside two Inuk performers.
“We respectfully ask this woman to stop throat singing,” Fraser said of Cree performer Connie LeGrande (Cikwes).
“We asked the IMAs for an apology for allowing this to happen and to remove her album.”
Fraser said the Inuit women’s collective she is a member of has been trying to resolve the issue with LeGrande and IMA officials for almost two months.
But they decided to make the issue public on social media Monday.
Until the board of Governors addresses issues around #CulturalAppropriation and has Inuit representation/consultation within their organization, I will not support, submit any work to, or perform for the @IMAs https://t.co/U4C7JWIUND
— Iva Music (@IvaMusicInc) March 31, 2019
“We are aware of it and are working on a press release,” said a person who answered the phone at the IMA office.
APTN is a major sponsor of the event.
LeGrande could not be reached for comment.
Tagaq and Fraser, along with Iva, said they would not attend the event until the organization revises its policies or includes Inuit representation on its board.
The awards ceremony is set to be held in Winnipeg on May 17 as part of the annual Manito Ahbee Festival.
We have withdrawn PIQSIQ's album from its 2019 @IMAs nomination. We look forward to submitting future work once our concerns of cultural appropriation are taken seriously and policies are in place to prevent it from happening again. #inuitthroatsinging is for #inuitreclamation
— PIQSIQ_music (@piqsiq) April 1, 2019
The throat-singing duo PIQSIQ, comprised of Inuksuk Mackay and Tiffany Ayalik, also said on Twitter they would reject the nomination of “Altering The Timeline” for best electronic music album.
The Yellowknife-raised sisters say their decision was spurred by the IMA’s nomination of a non-Inuit artist who performs throat singing, but declined to name the musician to keep the focus on the issue of appropriation between Indigenous groups.
With files from The Canadian Press