I’m home this morning after twelve days out of the country, and listening to the CBC for the first time in two weeks. And The Current is running a week-long special on the inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women. And I feel compelled to share this track off my new album, and to briefly tell this story.
A bit over a year ago I sat down at the piano to write an angry song about the patriarchy, and about my experience of trying to find space as a musician for my woman’s perspective. But as I started to write and play, I suddenly recalled this article I’d read months before.
I knew about the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada, and I also didn’t. This article, written by Naomi Klein, had etched itself into my memory. On the day that a mentally ill man shot and tragically killed a soldier on Parliament Hill, and the whole country went into mourning over this national tragedy, all I could think of was this woman, and the hundreds of lost lives that sit silently under the radar of our national identity.
So very quickly my “angry song about the patriarchy” became a song about her, Bella Laboucan-McLean, and about how women’s stories so often get buried within larger narratives. I know embarrassingly little about Canada’s indigenous communities, and I don’t claim to be an expert on any of this. Rather, I feel haunted by the missing pieces of our country’s history, and haunted by the missing pieces of so many narratives that have systemically and, often with the best of intentions, excluded the stories of women.
Here’s the song.