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Yellowknife musician wants to ‘change that Indigenous narrative in Canada’

Miranda Currie wants Indigenous kids to feel represented and valued in music, films and books
Miranda Currie, seen in an undated handout photo, is a writer, musician, filmmaker and educator who lives in Yellowknife, and is Mushkegowuk and a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Manitoba. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Miranda Currie

Miranda Currie wants Indigenous kids to see themselves represented authentically in media.

The writer, musician, filmmaker and educator who lives in Yellowknife, is Mushkegowuk and a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Manitoba. She has published several children’s books, released two children’s albums and has more than a decade of experience as an outdoor educator focused on experiential and Indigenous learning.

“We’re trying to change that Indigenous narrative in Canada to a more positive one,” Currie said.

“When kids see themselves in media, they’re like ‘oh we are valuable, we are worthy.’”

Currie was recently recognized for her work at the inaugural N.W.T. Music Awards, taking home the Indigenous Artist Award of Excellence.

“I’m super delighted. It was a bit unexpected to be sure,” she said.

Currie’s latest children’s album, “Tickling the Taiga”, was released in May and showcases a range of music genres from rock to hip hop. Song lyrics feature words in Cree and Wiilideh, the language spoken by the Yellowknives Dene.

“Being here on the Yellowknives Dene First Nation land, Chief Drygeese territory, Akaitcho territory, I just feel it’s an important thing to uphold and try to advocate for language so that kids can have their languages,” she said.

The award ceremony and showcase held in Yellowknife last Saturday was organized by Music NWT, a non-profit association dedicated to fostering music and the music industry in the territory.

Other award winners included Crook the Kid, also known as Dylan Jones, a hip-hop artist who grew up in Fort Good Hope, and Kilo November, or Kai Walden, a 14-year-old DJ known in Yellowknife for playing electric dance music, house music and dubstep.

The ceremony also saw the induction of the Yellowknives Dene Drummers, late musician Ted Wesley, one of the original founders of the Folk on the Rocks music festival in Yellowknife, and Norm Glowach into the newly created N.W.T. music hall of fame.

While Currie has lived in Yellowknife for the past 13 years, she was born and raised in Thunder Bay. She has long had a love of music and began playing violin when she was six and grew up with fiddle music.

Currie’s debut solo album “Up in the Air” was nominated in the Indigenous singer-songwriter of the year category at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Currie is now set to release her fourth children’s book “Don’t Panic Eat Bannock,” which she describes as an Indigenized version of the gingerbread man story.

She said she is also working on several film projects and is headed to Calgary next month to attend an artist-entrepreneur program with Canada’s Music Incubator.

“I’m pretty stoked about that,” she said.

“I think a thing that a lot of artists struggle with is not the creative side, but more the business side of things.”

When she’s not making music or writing books, Currie likes to sew and said she spends a lot of time outdoors with her sled dogs Niyanin and Ellesmere.

Ellesmere was featured in the short documentary “Tails on Ice,” which premiered at the Cannes Short Film Fest in 2020.

“I’m really lucky I think to be able to be able to do all of those things and so I’m really appreciative also of the support of the Yellowknife community.”

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Emily Blake, The Canadian Press

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