Photography: Title: Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald Source: Library and Archives Canada/Topley Studio fonds/a025335,
Title: Portrait de Louis Riel Source: Library and Archives Canada/Fonds Jean Riel/a139073
The Songs of Justice Project features 10 original songs and lyric videos that inform historical relations between Canada and its Indigenous peoples. The songs represent a spectrum of expression. Some songs challenge the apologetics of colonialism, exposing discrimination and genocide. Others celebrate the perseverance and goodness of Indigenous pathways and teachings. Five songs draw attention to the historical and current significance, both spiritual and political, of Louis Riel and the Métis people.
Songs of Justice Project (SOJP) has partnered with CUPS Calgary Society to help raise funds for CUPS services. CUPS is a community-based charity that builds resilience and improves quality of life by providing integrated care including health services, housing and economic supports, parenting and childcare, and social/emotional supports.
There is no cost for the download or CD. Instead of paying for the album, please consider donating to CUPS. For those requesting a CD, please consider additional costs related to packaging and postage.
If you would like to order a CD, please send a request to cwcginn(at)ucalgary.ca providing your name and mailing address. Please use “SOJ CD order” in the subject line.
Craig Ginn is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Classics and Religion at the University of Calgary where he is active within the campus community of Indigenous scholars and staff. His current research interests include religion and popular music, and Indigenous traditions and worldviews. He is active in interdisciplinary research also, serving as a Co-Investigator in a community-based study exploring links between health, spirituality, and well being within the Métis Nation of Alberta – Region 3.
While his teaching career has been his focus for the last two decades Ginn has recently been working on a multimedia project that will feature 10 original songs and lyric videos that inform historical relations between Canada and its Indigenous peoples. As an academic and musician, Ginn seeks to add his voice to decolonization efforts in education. He hopes the songs will be informative and motivational, providing insights into forced assimilation, displacement, and discrimination experienced by Indigenous peoples. Let Justice Roll portrays the devastating effects of the residential school system and challenges the apologetics of colonialism. There for the Money narrates a Laurier Club event where a Grassy Narrows activist was removed by security guards while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watched on and mocked her for donating to the Liberal Party of Canada. Hercules narrates the heartbreaking story of forced relocation and genocide of the Sayisi Dene in Manitoba.
In some songs Ginn draws attention to the thought of Métis leader Louis Riel. Featuring adaptations from Riel’s poems published in The Heretic Poems Ginn shows the intimacy and strength of Riel’s introspective side. Lead My People narrates Riel’s sense of calling as prophetic leader featuring the celebrated phrase, “My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.” I Cannot Escape depicts Riel’s fatal conflict with Sir John A. Macdonald assigning the moral high ground to Riel.
Ginn also writes about the perseverance and goodness of Indigenous pathways and teachings. In the Blood based on Riel’s poetry celebrates Indigenous ancestry, and Voice of Tradition vows to end the silencing of traditional ways of knowing and being, and a call to affirm the goodness of traditional knowledge and ceremonies. From a community perspective, he hopes the songs will be a source of truth and healing in the path toward reconciliation.