Singer-songwriter, filmmaker, and political activist Willie Dunn was an uncompromising force in Canadian folk music, and used his art to address important Indigenous issues including environmental concerns and historic wrongdoing caused by government actions.
Born in Montréal, Willie’s background was Mi’kmaq, Scottish, English and Irish. He was also a direct descendant of Metallak, the last survivor of the Arosaguntacook band of Abenaki peoples.
Willie was well known for his powerful song and short film, The Ballad of Crowfoot (1968). The award-winning film was the first National Film Board documentary by an Indigenous director, and intertwined archival footage of Indigenous peoples with contemporary newspaper clippings to create an impassioned and educational music video that was screened in classrooms across Canada.
Willie also helped create musical scores for theatre and film, and recorded six albums in a variety of genres including: folk, country, and mixes of traditional music with spoken word.
Willie Dunn was inducted into the Aboriginal Walk of Honour in Edmonton and earned a lifetime achievement prize at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards in 2005. He entered the Spirit World on August 5th, 2013.
Click here for a text transcription.
Speak Up! is curated by David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation, MB), Indigenous programming consultant.