Cape Breton-shot music video with rock star Myles Goodwyn hopes to boost MMIWG awareness

ESKASONI, NS – Where did they go? Why did this happen? Will they ever come home?

For family and friends of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in Canada, these lingering questions may never be answered.

It was this feeling of helplessness at not knowing the answers that led famous Canadian rock star Myles Goodwyn to write a song about the question.

“My main thought in writing this was not knowing where the other person is and how that can be the hardest part to deal with,” Goodwyn said, during a Thursday interview with Eskasoni where he spent the day shooting a video for the song titled, “Honey, Where Are You?”

“People need to start being nicer to each other and reaching out more,” Goodwyn said, offering some simple advice on combating racism and other forms of discrimination.

Goodwyn’s understanding of the problem stems from her life partner, Kim Nyles (Princess Rain), who is Indigenous and had a personal connection to some of the victims.

It is estimated that between 1980 and 2021, some 1,017 indigenous women and girls have been murdered in this country, 4.5 times more than for other women.

“I was deeply moved by the stories I heard and so I wrote a song,” Goodwyn said.

His musical talents while fronting hugely popular Canadian rock band April Wine earned him an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as well as a lifetime achievement award from the East Coast Music Association.

April Wine’s beginnings date back to 1969 in Halifax, after which the group moved to Montreal.

This week’s video shoot in Eskasoni for the song is the result of a chance meeting between Goodwyn and Cape Breton Liberal MP Jamie Battiste, chair of the party’s Indigenous caucus.

“Myles reached out to me and said he had written a song and wanted to collaborate with an indigenous community to produce a video,” said Battiste, who was also on hand for Thursday’s shoot.

“It was truly an amazing thing to put together and I know it will help raise awareness of the issue,” Battiste said.

The project received financial assistance from the Eskasoni Band, the province and the federal government.

In addition to showcasing the community, the video also provided another opportunity for local residents to showcase their talents.

Eskasoni singers Kalolin Johnson and Deedee Austin joined the shoot.

“This is my first Mi’kmaq singing video and it was a real honour. I really like the song too,” said Johnson, who, when not flaunting her vocal prowess, is studying science at Cape Breton University.

The 22-year-old said working with Goodwyn created a lot of nostalgia for her as her parents were huge April Wine fans.

“I really hope this raises awareness of the issue because many still don’t understand,” Johnson said, adding that symbols such as the Red Dress campaign have helped keep the issue in the public spotlight.

“My main thought in writing this was not knowing where the other person is and how that can be the hardest part to deal with.” —Myles Goodwyn

Goodwyn was joined in filming Thursday’s production by FMP Matrix Studio’s Scott Ferguson. Members of the Eskasoni community, including the creative team that put together the “Samqwan” theatrical production, will also be featured in the video.

It is estimated that more than six in ten Aboriginal women have experienced physical or sexual assault in their lifetime, while nearly half have experienced sexual assault.

“It has been three years since the commissioners of the National Inquiry into Missing, Murdered and Indigenous Women and Girls released their findings that the violence that targets us as First Nations, Inuit and Métis sisters is genocide. said Lorraine Whitman, President. of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, in a press release.

Whitman said more needed to be done, such as sustainable funding and resources to address the issues Indigenous women face every day.

“This is an educational piece created to bring renewed attention to this issue and it shows the strength of our youth and our singers – our mothers, sisters, daughters and aunts will never be forgotten. They will remain in our hearts. and we will always commemorate their lives — let’s move forward with the 231 calls for justice. Let’s stop the genocide,” Whitman said.

The video is expected to be released in time for National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.