Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Punk Band Takes Aim at Canadian Colonialism: The Brat Attack Rages against Racism

Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Punk Band Takes Aim at Canadian Colonialism: The Brat Attack Rages against Racism

Article excerpt

THE BRAT ATTACK ARE BACK, and the Canadian political punk band have released an important new record, ... And They Called Us Savages (April 2015).

Jammed-packed with fun and fast songs about the power of protest and punk culture, the record also contains a number of timely and sobering critiques of Canada's harmful colonial policies towards Indigenous peoples. In particular, the lyrics of Davey Zegarac --who is of Sioux and Cree ancestry--provide a bare-knuckle assessment of Indigenous peoples' experiences of racist discrimination in Canada that need desperately to be heard today. Building on the recent success of Indigenous musicians like Tanya Tagaq and A Tribe Called Red, The Brat Attack similarly use their art to highlight Indigenous issues and contribute to a decolonizing dialogue in Canada, but do so with quite a different kind of music: anti-colonial punk.

Two songs in particular showcase The Brat Attack's power and rage: "Dirty AIDS Filled Indians" and "Residential Schools." "Dirty AIDS Filled Indian" highlights the ongoing and painful effects of racism in Canada. In light of this winter's controversial Macleans magazine issue on racism in Canada, the song adds to the discussion and pulls no punches: "Fuck Canada and its apartheid, its cold-blooded attempt at genocide." The song points out the hypocrisy of the colonialist mentality, "They called us 'savages' as they murdered our children, 'uncivilized' as the beat and raped them." But Zegarac also eloquently explains the deliberateness of settlers' attempts at dehumanization: "They use words of hatred to break us down and try to make us feel less human. Prairie nigger, savage, half-breed, a dirty AIDS-filled Indian." Ultimately, though, he reminds listeners that these hateful racist slurs are "used by oppressors of a withering empire."

In "Residential Schools," the band turns to history to provide the necessary background for listeners to better understand contemporary Indigenous issues. …

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