“The crown skull of existence is consumption while genocide seeps into the cracks of our everyday. We’re beginning to see beyond the veil….”
Status Non Status present a new video for Genocidio in collaboration with director Travis Welowszky.
“From atop the makeshift mountain, a grim presence looms above the life below. A meditation on the endless, encroaching empire. The creatures traversing this plane are plastic and placeless; conjoined to their terrain as playthings in the tableaus of glorious exploiters. The understudies of colonial rule, silhouetted across a hill, obscure serenity by way of simulation; scrambling signals. Colonial esoterica. Banal evil in list form. Silence: the cause to the resounding pain.”
Genocidio appears on the Status/Non-Status 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years release
Status/Non-Status is the new name for the ongoing musical work of Anishinaabe community worker Adam Sturgeon (Nme’) and his longtime collaborators (fka Whoop-Szo). The band spent a decade carving a path through Canada’s DIY scene before leveling up thanks to 2019’s acclaimed long player Warrior Down (You’ve Changed Records). This album confronted Sturgeon’s complex family history and identity and was long listed for the Polaris Music Prize among numerous other accolades. Now, the band emerges renewed, with more stories to share …
Adam is ‘non-status’ as defined by the Canadian government. Adam’s grandfather Ralph made the difficult decision to enfranchise in order to support himself and his family by joining the Armed Forces. Enfranchisement was the government’s term for the legal process of turning in one’s Status Card, terminating one’s Indian Status, and becoming instead a Canadian citizen. It was a pillar of the government’s assimilation policy and a requirement for any Indigenous person who wished to enlist.
In the name of providing a better life for himself and his family, Ralph was required to forsake his Anishinaabe roots, an all-too-common experience for Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. Acts of colonial violence such as enfranchisement, the residential school system, and the Indian Act have resulted in disconnection amongst generations of Indigenous people from their communities, languages, land, and identities. Today, new voices are rising up and — through acts of reclamation via art, language, music, and community — taking back spaces that have been dominated by settler culture for so many years.
Who is native enough? Who ‘counts’ as Indigenous, and who does not? These questions swirl through the Canadian arts discourse today, impacting every medium and revealing fundamental inadequacies within our current identity-defining systems. For Adam, the proof is in the work; his commitment to telling his family’s story with integrity and truth informs every aspect of his music and his life. Now a father to his own young son, it is the future that allows Adam to dig further into his roots.
“When we tell stories, we have a responsibility to tell the truth. Do the necessary work to earn trust. Share your experience as one voice within a greater circle … and find a home.”
The 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years Limited Edition 12″ EP features musical program on Side A and graphic etching on Side B. Released in collaboration with Grizzlar Records. The EP will be released in full May 28, 2021.
“Find A Home” is the first song on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years EP. The video was created remotely by the Olde Nightrifter (aka Eiyn Sof, recent collaborator of Rick White). On “Find A Home”, Sturgeon says:
“It is within the small and simple things that we find ourselves. On a long drive, a quick walk down to the river, or cooped up in silence at home. It is in our language and in our names. When I started making this music, I didn’t know a whole lot about myself or who I was. Métis, they would call me. Part Ojibwe. Part this or that. Which part? Same old story for the mixed breeds. Never saw my true reflection staring back at me.
On those long and lonely drives between tour stops, you can see life move but you only get a dusty windshield of a view. The occasional flat lets ya stop to peak the landscape. A snowstorm lets you know its history. These things shape you, give you ‘experience’. I’ve seen a lot of gas stations, no doubts there: informed.
Giving the time and reflection to do my best is what it comes down to. That, and driving overnight. Sometimes our best hurts. Hurts ourselves, hurts others. It always hurts you when it hurts someone else by the way. And so at night, out there … nowhere, I’ve touched down and untangled the black roots of this strawberry heart. There were things I couldn’t see around the corner, not on this dark road. Not even on the brightest prairie day. At night, on the road, on and off stage I fill myself. Wake up new, on a floor, on the move, anywhere.
Music has helped me when I can’t find answers. For a long time I didn’t know where we were driving, and I mean all of us. This road put my mind together and maybe we all can too. Find a new way. Until then, I keep filling the tank. Reclaimed …”
Some background on this song and video from Adam of WHOOP-Szo:
“My cousin Gerry was shot by a cop. Murdered. In his own home. While the circumstances surrounding his death are unclear, there has only ever been one side to the story, that of the RCMP. No external investigations took place and our family is left without answers.
It is my preference to discuss Gerry through the video. The footage is all 8mm family film recaptured and archived by Travis Welowszky and projectionist Sebastian Di Trolio. It’s interesting coming from a mixed background because these films are that of a privileged experience; family vacations, golf trips, happy go lucky parties from the 60s and 70s set to the backdrop of an emotional firestorm and intense subject matter that has only just begun to reveal itself in our cultural history. History innocently projects itself back on the modern era.
I remember getting a call from Gerry shortly before he died. He was angry about a broken system, slurring his words through the distant telephone line from his home in Saskatchewan. He had taken to calling our house, connecting with my Mom for some much needed love and comfort, my Dad to address his issues with alcohol, and to converse with me about music and art… and to question my passions for my ‘Dad’s culture’. I’d change the subject, letting him know that the guitar he had given me, my first guitar in fact, was the passion and release that he had offered me and that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’d be late for work or some other engagement and have to let him know several times that I needed to hang up the phone. He’d get angry again and start ranting on and I’d have to remind him there were places to be. He called me a sell out and I’d tell him I loved him. I promised I’d visit on tour sometime. I’d tell him he could teach me some more chords.
I’ve driven through the town he died in, but Gerry isn’t there. Where are our protectors when we need them? Why did an officer force his way into Gerry’s home? Why was Gerry shot 4 times and why have these circumstances been justified by a system that leaves the vulnerable under fire?”
London, Ontario’s WHOOP-Szo is a blazing force of DIY rock. Fronted by Anishinaabe-Canadian community leader Adam Sturgeon, the band has spent nearly a decade carving out a reputation for themselves in Canada’s crowded DIY scene, rising on the strength of their musicianship, songwriting, and tireless touring.
We are thrilled to welcome WHOOP-Szo to You’ve Changed Records with the release of Warrior Down on November 1, 2019. Warrior Down is thunderous and ground-breaking, harmonious and generative, a concise, focused 35 minutes that dances conscientiously between anger and discipline, frustration and hope. Calling out both specific instances of injustice in Canadian history — such as the murder of bandleader Adam Sturgeon’s cousin by a Saskatchewan RCMP officer (“Gerry”) , or recalling Sturgeon’s grandfather’s experience at a Residential School(“Cut Your Hair”) — and broader, wider-reaching ones such as the experience of having race and culture assigned to you by a government that doesn’t represent you (“6.1/6.2”), Warrior Down depicts the unfolding of a cultural big bang, in which eruptions of truth activate a succession of healthy confrontations.
Amaruq is an Inuktituk word meaning “wolf”. It’s also the name of a school in Nunavik where WHOOP-Szo leaders Adam Sturgeon and Kirsten Palm worked during 2012. “Amaruq” is an entry point into discussions of the Inuktituk language and multilingualism in Canada, and serves as a dedication to the community that welcomed the band. “As much as we try, we cannot always control the feelings that enter our lives. They can come in unexpectedly, like a wild animal appearing just when you thought yourself along. Have you ever crossed paths with a wolf? In the North, where we lived and worked for many years, they call them Amaruq. We dedicate this song to Larry Tamusai and all the other young people who have suffered, are suffering and will suffer the effects of inadequate mental health resources in Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.”
WHOOP-Szo TOUR DATES
Sep 10 – Calgary, AB – The Palomino
Sep 12 – Winnipeg, MB – The Royal Albert Hotel
Sep 13 – Thunder Bay, ON – The Apollo
Sep 14 – Sault Ste. Marie, ON – Dryer Fire
Sep 15 – Sudbury, ON – Townehouse
Nov 01 – London, ON – Rec Room
Nov 02 – Toronto, ON – The Round House
Nov 06 – St. Catharines, ON – The Warehouse
Nov 07 – Guelph, ON – Ebar
Nov 08 – Hamilton, ON – This Ain’t Hollywood
Nov 09 – Windsor, ON – Green Bean Cafe
Nov 21 – Peterborough, ON – Sadleir House
Nov 22 – Ottawa, ON – Cinqhole
Nov 23 – Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa | M For Montreal
Nov 26 – Moncton, NB – Caveau
Nov 27 – Saint John, NB – Taco Pica
Nov 28 – Halifax, NS – Gus’ Pub
Nov 29 – Fredericton, NB – The Capital
Nov 30 – Quebec City, QC – Scanner