Ishkōdé Records: the new Indigenous women-owned record label and their statement on July 1st

Custodians of song and story, Ishkōdé Records officially launched yesterday. The new Indigenous women-owned label was created to foster and amplify Indigenous voices. Ishkōdé Records arrives to advocate for Indigenous artists, songs and stories in the commercial music landscape.

Ishkōdé Records was founded by artists, organizers and activists Anishinaabekwe ShoShona Kish (of the incredible music group Digging Roots) and solo artist Amanda Rheaume, Citizen of the Metis Nation of Ontario, who also founded the International Indigenous Music Summit. Ishkōdé approaches the independent label operations through the lens of women and artist entrepreneurship, long-standing industry experience and cultural and ancestral processes. The word Ishkōdé means fire in Anishinaabemowin.“Songs for the Eighth Fire,” Ishkōdé Records’ guiding principle, refers to the Anishinaabe’s Seven Fires prophecy. The prophecy heralds an epoch of eternal peace when Indigenous peoples and settler communities together build the eighth and final fire of justice and harmony. Ishkōdé means fire in Anishinaabemowin.

“For me, Ishkōdé Records celebrates our narrative sovereignty: storytelling is an expression of self-determination,” says Kish. “Our voices are powerful, they are grounded in our bloodlines and culture. We are in a time where our songs are needed. We all have a role to play in amplifying and creating space in the hope that someday we will light that Eighth Fire.”

Check out Ishkōdé Records first signing Aysanabee:

As wel, Ishkōdé Records is pleased to announce its distribution deal with Universal Music Canada. “Since our first conversations, I have been deeply inspired by what ShoShona and Amanda are building – a vital new platform driven by artist-centred partnerships created to amplify Indigenous voices telling their stories through music. Universal Music Canada is honoured to partner with Ishkōdé Records to support, celebrate, and share this important work,” said Jeffrey Remedios, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Canada.

Looking ahead, Ishkōdé Records confirms its first official release will be a new single from Digging Roots on August 5, 2021. Expect details on new music from Aysanabee, an astonishingly talented songwriter, guitar player, saxophonist and producer, as well as label co-founder and solo artist Amanda Rheaume soon.

On July 1st, the founders of Ishkōdé Records, the Indigenous Music Summit and Indigenous Music Alliance have a request for everyone living on Turtle Island: Stop and reflect.

Here is their #CallToAction:

Many have called for this July 1st to be different: cancelled, quieted, renamed, reimagined. We are feeling this too and we also see the necessity for a deep and seismic change. We need a #FullStop. Canadians cannot continue as normal and turn away from these truths.

We will not be celebrating Canada on July 1st. Instead, we are holding our communities and families close. We are taking time for ceremony and care. We are processing our grief and honouring our survivors and those who were never returned home. 

Murray Sinclair once said we must “…understand [the] truth of Canada’s Indigenous history if we truly want to move forward.”

Our teachings speak about the seven generations and how every action or inaction we take right now impacts seven generations in the future. What future will we dream for those yet to come?

We are calling on our friends, partners, allies and accomplices in the music industry to join us, and others, on July 1st, to take pause to reflect, honour, respect and remember all that we have lost and the incredible strength, brilliance and grace that remains. 

It is easy to fall into silence and inertia. This is a time for action, listening, compassion, and learning.  We ask you to make space for Indigenous voices. Make space for change.

There needs to be a #NewPathForward #HonourTheTruth

This July 1st, stand with us in solidarity.

Demonstrate your support by sharing one or all three of these orange squares, and amplify Indigenous voices.

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Addicted Magazine. Her myriad of addictions include music, fashion, travel, technology, boxing and trying to make the world a better place. Nadia is also a feminist, an animal lover, and a neverending dreamer. Keep up with her on social media through @thenadiae.
Nadia Elkharadly