This 1995 song was a Canadian #1 for Susan Aglukark, an Inuk musician who works together Inuit musical traditions with country flavours. She was raised in Canada’s far north, in what is now called the territory of Nunavut. Seen as a role model for Canada’s aboriginal people, the artist sees herself singing positive messages for all.
Still, given the many challenges faced by aboriginals in Canada, including lower incomes, lower levels of employment, lower levels of education, shorter life expectancy, higher infant mortality rates, lower quality of housing, higher rates of suicide and higher rates of incarceration… Aglukark may wish to focus on her people. The continued marginalization of aboriginal people in Canada is an ongoing and major political concern.
O Siem means expressing joy when meeting with family and friends. The lyrics include many banalities for togetherness, such as we’re family, let’s remove the walls and make a new start. But the pretty melody and smooth production somehow makes the simple message resonate.
Given that a First Nations chief recently conducted somewhat of a hunger strike in Canada, and given that an Occupy-type protest movement has loosely coalesced (called “Idle No More”), has there ever been a better time to get back to work on aboriginal issues in Canada?