DAKOTA BEAR: SONGWRITER, RAPPER, ACTIVIST

When #CancelCanadaDay began trending on social media – weeks after a series of unmarked Residential “School” graves filled with the remains of Indigenous children and youth were unearthed – some took to social media and podiums to decry Canada Day as the latest victim of cancel culture. But for Indigenous communities across Turtle Island, including Vancouver-based Indigenous rapper and activist Dakota Bear, aka Dakk’One, they knew this was untrue.

“Cancel Canada Day was a thing before hashtags were invented,” says Bear. “The very first Canada Day that there was, Indigenous people were not celebrating it, so this is a continuation of resistance. People say this is cancel culture, but for Canada to be what it is today, they had to cancel us completely, and then build on top of what we already created. We had infrastructure, government, kinship, and educational systems. All of these were thriving. The United States Constitution was built off of the back of the Iroquois Confederacy. So, we’ve been cancelling Canada Day since Canada day was a thing.”

The rapper/poet speaks with the force of an orator and activist born decades ago… but only four years ago, he was beginning the path to overcome addiction and reclaim his stolen identity.

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