Vancouver Sun

Weighing in on Nunavut, Bjork, missing women

- Francois Marchand,

On growing up in Cambridge Bay

“I remember when it first started getting dark again and there’d be gangs of loose dogs and kids celebratin­g the dark coming back again,” Tagaq says. “I remember the sea ice forming and almost mourning that summer was leaving but knowing how awesome it would be to get on your snowmobile. I remember getting punched in the face by cold in the morning — just getting your ass beat by the cold. I remember getting days off school because it was too cold and going to play outside anyway.”

On living in Brandon, Man.

“I’m not gonna lie, I don’t really like it here. People are very snobby. I even went up to musicians that were playing at the local restaurant and tried to make friends. I didn’t say my name, I just said I was a musician, and they scoffed at me. I want people to be kind to people. My boyfriend and I got bored when I was pregnant here so we dressed up in penguin outfits and went to the grocery store and nobody even smiled at us. If I saw a big giant penguin I would laugh my ass off.”

On working and touring with Bjork

“I was so green. I had never left the country, and I didn’t know how the music industry worked at all. Being around her, she’s just an amazing person. She’s super kind, and so gracious with everyone. I was really inspired. Seeing her sing every single night, it was incredible every time. She’s so profession­al, so intelligen­t and focused. She just basically blew my mind.”

On the connection she feels to nature

“The idea of dying is totally all right. Like, ‘ Oh yeah, of course, this is how it goes. It’s the way it’s gonna be.’ It’s so peaceful. The more your engulf yourself in walls and social ideas on how you’re supposed to be — the more you lie to yourself, of course that creates anxiety and you’re inviting neurosis into your life. The land is where it’s peaceful.”

On 1,182 missing aboriginal women

“I was gonna talk about it in my ( Polaris) acceptance speech but I didn’t want to freak out my daughter who was right beside me. I didn’t want to scare her. I didn’t want her to feel like she was targeted. I didn’t want to invite that energy anywhere near her. A lot of people don’t understand — they like to pigeonhole indigenous women as dregs of society, victims of circumstan­ce and socio- economics. Having that scrolling list was to make people understand these are people’s sisters and their moms and their aunts. It’s not just a question mark, it’s someone that we loved and cared about as much as you care about your mom. For some reason people have removed themselves from that idea.”

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