Aboriginal Advocacy Via Web 2.0 and Social Media

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Award winning Canadian Hip Hop Artist, Joey Stylez – Discusses what the impact of the Residential School System

Canadian Hip Hop Artist - Highway of Tears

Canadian Hip Hop Artist – Highway of Tears

Joey Stylez – is a First Nations Canadian singer-songwriter, rapper, hip-hop artist, First Nations activist, fashion designer.
Birth name: Joseph Dale Marlin Laplante
Born: May 14, 1981 (age 33)
Origin: Saskatchewan, Canada
Genres: Hip hop, Rap, Street Pop
Years active: 2001–present
Labels: Universal, Sony, Stressed Street, Flight Academy Music
Associated acts: Swagg Boss, Ty Dolla Sign, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, A Tribe Called Red, Moka Only, Winnipeg’s Most, SDK
Website: joeystylez.com

“Kill the Indian in the Child” (Hanson and Crey, 2009, Residential School Section)  – The Residential School System

One example of Canadian inhumanity, in which the effects are still felt to this very day, was the implementation of the residential school system.  This school system strategically and systematically ravaged First Nations culture and destabilized Aboriginal families for generations. These ‘students’ experienced not only the loss of their ownership of the land, their language and culture but also the loss of a caring and nurturing family structure and therefore grew up without learning how to nurture and care for their own families. “Because the government’s and the churches’ intent was to eradicate all aspects of Aboriginal culture in these young people and interrupt its transmission from one generation to the next, the residential school system is commonly considered a form of cultural genocide” (Hanson and Crey, 2009, Residential School Section).

Thirty four year old Jon-C (Billy Pierson), lead for the ‘Winnipeg’s Most’ famous award winning Aboriginal hip hop band, speaks to this “cultural genocide”  (Hanson and Crey, 2009, Residential School Section) on a CBC documentary shared on YouTube.  Jon-C’s Grandmother and Mother were victims of the residential schools.  He states, “That everything comes back to residential schools.  Current parents do not know how to parent; 3 generations now do not know how to parent” (Kinew, Sept.6,2014,CBC Documentary, “Indigenous in the City”).  This breakdown of generational family structures, as experienced by John-C, perpetuates the detrimental dysfunctional contemporary Aboriginal family structure and thus creates a dystopian culture; a culture typified by human despair and suffering which squeezes the life out of any opportunities of aboriginal youth today and continues to destroy not restore their imaginations and hope for the future.

Lee Maracle, (Nov. 5th, 2014, Talk, Rodman Hall), states: “that colonization always blames the victim and that non-aboriginal’s language and phrases preserve and propagate Aboriginal family structure breakdowns. She continues to state that white people don’t get it and by telling aboriginal people to “get over it!” is impossible as one cannot ‘get over’ something that continues to impact, influence, inhibit, censor and inflict violence against aboriginal people and the environment to this very day, every day.


Listen to Joey’s – “Highway of Tears” in an effort to create awareness of Canadian Aboriginal missing or murdered women along a 800 kilometer stretch of Canadian Highway 16, known as the ‘Highway of Tears’


The Walking with our Sisters Exhibit

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The Walking with Our Sisters Exhibit – Jan 9 through to Jan 24, 2015 – Yellowknife

This is an Aboriginal activist movement in Canada.  Various people created moccasin vamps, ‘tops’ representing over 1808 creations representing Canada’s Aboriginal missing or murdered women.



This blog will discuss the specific Aboriginal activist discourse art in tribute of Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women and how through the use of Web 2.0  and social media Aboriginal activists are not only further empowered; non-aboriginal people are given the ability to view Aboriginal civic movement through an Aboriginal lens.  One extremely important facet of the Aboriginal lens is their relationship with art and this specific blog will display one art form that is being utilized to create an awareness and pay homage to Canada’s missing and murdererd Aboriginal women.

Various Aboriginal art forms that advance the mandate of “no more stolen sisters” are now readily found on Web 2.0 and/or social media and have now become “part of the landscape…and the lack of freedom and oppression is over…it is time to restore imagination” (Maracle, YouTube, 2014, Truth and Reconciliation Talk).  This blog argues that Web 2.0 and social media has enabled and advanced Lee Maracle’s desire to ‘restore [the] imagination’ of Aboriginal and non-aboriginal people and through the sharing of activism on the internet will indeed enable mobilization of the oppressed, promote freedom of expression, awareness and enable democracy one blog, one text, one song, one student’s essay, one oil painting, one crafted “faceless doll” or one “beaded moccasin” at a time.

Volunteer Aboriginal civic social change activist groups, such as; Red Robe Women drumming group, strive to deal with the losses of culture, language, their young women, socio-economic disparities and perils resulting from the narrow and short-sightedness of the Canadian state and its people through the art of drumming and singing. These activist actions and their loud, clear voices have been deliberately been captured on dozens of YouTube videos so that they may be shared with the private and public sectors in the hopes of shattering the ignorance and racism found in contemporary society. Their drumming; solid and strong, speaks to their determination to promote social change in a positive manner through art. They drum and sing to celebrate the lives of the missing and murdered members of their sisterhood, to the protection of our environment, to the enforcement of human rights, socio-economic justice and peace for all minority communities.