Acadian Singer Natasha St-Pier Criticized over Depiction of First Nations Culture
Published Sep 15, 2015Earlier this month, New Brunswick singer Natasha St-Pier celebrated her Acadian background by releasing a video for her song "Tous les Acadiens." But she has since incurred criticism for the clip, with detractors saying that it relies on stereotypes about First Nations and Acadian cultures.
The clip for the countrified, clap-along tune shows St-Pier wearing a headdress while surrounded by similarly dressed children. Other scenes show a birch canoe, dreamcatchers and a teepee.
CBC points out that Société nationale de l'Acadie president René Cormier has criticized the video, saying, "Despite all the efforts we do, we continue to convey these kind of clichés."
Another Acadian musician from New Brunswick, Julie Aubé of Les Hay Babies, similarly targeted the video, saying, "In the last 10 years, we've made so much progress showing to the world what a modern Acadie looks like. We're not all dressed like La Sagouine, playing spoons and dancing in open fields like it's still 1800. Thank God for the numerous Acadian bands that had the guts to tour across the world and defend their French dialect, and explain why there's still French people in New Brunswick."
"Tous les Acadiens" comes from St-Pier's new album, Mon Acadie, which is due out on October 2 through Smart. On the album cover, she is depicted wearing a headdress, and Facebook commenters have accused her of relying on stereotypes and appropriating First Nations culture.
On the other hand, St-Pier's collaborator (an Acadian peer Édith Butler) told the CBC, "It is so wonderful and so beautiful, we should congratulate her."
That's the album cover above. Watch the controversial video for "Tous les Acadiens" below.