The SSIMAs will present awards representing a variety of music genres as well as awards for cultural contribution, significance, legacy, and social voice from within the Indigenous community across Turtle Island including an international award for Indigenous artists around the world. An event like the SSIMAs is poised to become an integral part of Canada’s cultural presence in years to come and ensures Indigenous music is experienced by an ever-wider audience. The SSIMAs and the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival are produced by Indigenous entertainment and tourism firm,, on behalf of the National Indigenous Peoples Day Committee. An Artist Advisory Committee comprising Canadian Indigenous music leaders supports the initiative through strategic and artistic advice and counsel.

Category winners will be announced and honoured at a special ceremony and live-streamed show at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Saturday, June 12th, 2021. The award show itself will be two hours in length including the presentation of awards to the winners, as well as live performances from finalists throughout the evening.

Nomination forms and all supporting documentation must be submitted by April 7, 2021.

Indigenous ensembles, solo artists, duos, or groups from anywhere in Canada. Any artist or group that identifies as Indigenous and is outside of Canada can submit for International Indigenous Artist/Group Recording of the Year.

To be eligible to submit, at least 50% of the group members/artistic driving force/ownership behind the band must identify as Indigenous. Proof of ancestry may be required – status card, Metis card or a letter of confirmation from a community leader/elder may be required.

There are 18 different categories covering new and established artists, traditional and modern music styles, different musical genres, individual songs, albums, and videos. There are also awards to honour Youth Leadership In Music and Social Legacy. See the full list of categories and category descriptions here. 

There is no limit to how many categories you can apply for. You must submit a new nomination form for each category.

Albums must contain more than 50% original content and must have a minimum run time of 25 minutes of unreleased music and/or 6 tracks.

Yes, there is an International category for artists outside of Canada. This category celebrates artists who identify as Indigenous, but not First Nations, Metis, or Inuit, and may reside anywhere in the world, including Canada.

Yes, there is an International category for artists outside of Canada. This category celebrates artists who identify as Indigenous, but not First Nations, Metis, or Inuit, and may reside anywhere in the world, including Canada.

Voting will be conducted by our invited panel of jurors which includes Indigenous and music industry professionals and peers. There will be no public voting.

The SSIMAs wanted to ensure that the entire process captured what the Indigenous artists across Canada wanted to see in a new celebration of Indigenous music and arts. We have requested the support of two national leaders and long-time friends of SSIF to help define and drive the process and truly appreciate their expertise in making this new event a great success.

Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba and one of Canada’s most important Indigenous composers Vince is celebrated for his creative direction of multi-award-winning band Eagle & Hawk and his talented collective Indian City. HIs career abounds with awards and recognition. Vince has deep roots in his Ojibway heritage and the community of Sagkeeng First Nation. Vince played a vital role in the preparation of launching the SSIMAs. His creative and artistic vision ensured the SSIMAs followed a successful trajectory by providing guidance for the nomination processes.

Elaine Bomberry is Anishinabe and Cayuga, from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, in southern Ontario. For the last 14 years, she has made her home on the Capilano Reserve, Squamish Nation territory in North Vancouver, British Columbia. She has worked as a freelance Indigenous Performing Arts activist / promoter / manager / TV and radio producer full-time for 34 years, and is currently managing JUNO winner, Mohawk blues piano man Murray Porter. In 1994, Elaine along with Buffy St. Marie and Curtis ‘Shingoose’ Jonnie, helped create the `Best Music of Aboriginal Canada’ recording category for the JUNO Awards. Elaine manages the jury process and provides creative input into the live awards.

Vince and Elaine have the support of an Advisory Committee drawn from respected voices in the artistic community. For more information on the Committee, click here. 

Finalists will be announced on May 12, 2021.

You need to submit a full package that best represents you and your music. Here are some suggestions and requirements:
1. Review the categories and pick the one that is most appropriate.
2. Read the submission form carefully. Answer all the required questions.
3. Upload the required Cultural Supporting Documents.
4. Remember to include a 400-word (max) bio. We want to get to know you!
5. Upload 2 photos.
6. Include links to social media, website, videos, etc. where requested.
7. Remember – submissions must be received by April 7, 2021.
8. If you have ANY issues with your submission, contact us for help:
+1 613-838-5558 Ext. 104

This is challenging. While we feel that the Indigenous heritage is an important part of the music awards, we also recognize that as musicians and producers, we are not the right people to declare or deny Indigenous heritage. We do require some form of formal recognition, to protect the integrity of the process. However, we are fortunate that our NIPD committee overseeing the SSIF event represents the national Indigenous organizations including non-status, off-reserve, Metis, and Inuit who do not have status cards. We are happy to support artists in their journey to validate their identity in applying.

There are 2 options for submitting videos/audio
1) (Preferred option) you can submit a link such as: YouTube, Soundcloud, Dropbox, Facebook video, etc. There is no ‘file limit size’.
2) There is another question that allows for file upload, which will now accept any file with a max size of 65 MB.
These are two separate questions on the form, and neither is mandatory to be able to submit the form.

 If you have ANY issues with your submission, contact us for help:
+1 613-838-5558 Ext. 104

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