Adrian Sutherland, frontman of roots-rock band Midnight Shine, used to avoid politically charged music. But when his Northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat First Nation declared an unsafe water emergency, he penned a protest song — “Politician Man.”
“That really bothered me and pushed me over the edge,” Sutherland told HuffPost Canada. Attawapiskat has had unsafe drinking water for as long as Sutherland can remember. First Nations in Canada also face widespread food insecurity and poor housing conditions.
“There’s third-world conditions in what’s supposed to be a first-world country,” Sutherland said.
The Cree singer’s lyrics take aim at government inaction at every level, and he urges listeners to pressure their local politicians and ministers to effect change.
As Sutherland sings: “We’re sick and tired of the same old games.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story attributed “Politician Man” to Midnight Shine. It’s Adrian Sutherland’s solo debut.
Watch the video above to hear from Sutherland about the state of Attawapiskat’s water system. Listen to the full version of “Politician Man” below.