Categories & Submission Criteria
For all Non-Canadian Indigenous Artists or Canadian artists who are Indigenous but do not identify as First Nations, Metis or Inuit.
This category celebrates artists who identify as Indigenous, but not First Nations, Metis or Inuit, and may reside anywhere in the world, including Canada. “Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them.” Defining “Indigenous Peoples” – the United Nations.
These categories give a chance for the public to recognize a Canadian First Nations, Inuit or Metis deserving artist/band. No self nominations.
This category recognizes and shares the talent and potential of a rising and emerging solo artist or group who has yet to reach a large audience with their art. This category is open to all age groups. No self nomination for this category. Please submit the SSIMA Public Nomination Form to recognize an artist /group who is deserving of this award.
This category recognizes an influential artist/group who mentors Indigenous youth through music. Their message shares knowledge of artistic and cultural values and inspires cultural growth and wisdom. No self nomination for this category. Please submit the SSIMA Public Nomination Form to recognize an artist /group who is deserving of this award.
Submit in one or more of the following categories if you are a Canadian First Nations, Inuit or Metis artist who should be celebrated and recognized for your contributions to our diverse cultural canvas through music and cultural expression.
This category recognizes artists in the folk, roots and blues genres, who are creating music in either of these genres with traditional or contemporary instruments.
This category recognizes artists who have released an album in the country genre.
This category recognizes artists who have released an album in the rap / hip hop / electronica genre.
This category recognizes the success in capturing cultural heritage and the love of traditional music and dance with the use of hand drums / fiddle / instruments.
This category recognizes Inuit artists who use traditional languages, instruments or cultural influences in their music.
This category recognizes an album which captures the sounds and emotions of the Pow Wow.
This category celebrates creative artistic values and expression through video. Both self-produced and professionally produced videos made available to the public will be eligible. You will need to attach your video to the registration form along with a word document including a brief outline of the video’s production details, including the name(s) of the producers and details of where the video was produced. This award will go to the director, producer, or filmmaker of the video.
This category recognizes music showcased as an accompaniment to an art; theatre, exhibit, film, TV, performances, literature, video games. The award will go to the artist who released the music.
Celebrating pop, alternative and rock music in all genre styles; including a fusion of traditional and contemporary music expression.
This category recognizes artists who have had an exceptional year supporting their latest release and have released a prominent full length album in any genre.
This award recognizes artists who have impacted artistic and cultural heritage on behalf of the Indigenous community. Their contributions have helped to influence and grow continued development in the Indigenous music industry. The winner of this category will be selected this year by the artistic Advisory Committee, however, will be open to nomination in the following years.
This award highlights a career performance which crossed boundaries, ignited emotional responses and reached large in-person and/or virtual audiences. All genres of music, live performances and live recorded performances, including live virtual performances are eligible.
This category recognizes Metis artists who use traditional languages, instruments or cultural influences in their music.
This category recognizes an artist who raises awareness of social and relevant issues for and/or environmental issues and inspires change through positive messages in music. For example – an artist whose message highlights MMIWG, Climate, Housing conditions, Languages, LBGTQ2S+. Please submit a copy of the lyrics with a song submission.
This category recognizes a song single which has been released to commercial radio and celebrates music and artistic excellence. The song will have had recognition by industry, peers and the public with an exceptional impact in its release.
To be eligible for The SSIMAs, dates of releases, performances and recordings must be between January 1, 2019 and April 7, 2021.
The SSIMAs submissions are open to Indigenous ensembles, solo artists, duos or groups from across Canada. Any artist/group submitting a nomination who is not a Canadian citizen and identifies as Indigenous, MUST ONLY SUBMIT for the category; INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS ARTIST/GROUP RECORDING OF THE YEAR
To be eligible for the SSIMAs, at least 50 percent of group members and/or artistic driving force and ownership behind the brand must identify as Indigenous. Proof of ancestry may be required (if new to the Indigenous music industry). Such proof may include a status card, Metis card or a letter of confirmation from a community leader/elder. Solo artists may also be asked to confirm their Indigenous status. The SSIMAs reserve the right to make decisions on discretionary issues that may arise.
In order to adjudicate a category, a minimum of 3 submissions must be received for that category.
There is no limit as to the number of categories for which one artist/group may submit. Each nomination must be submitted separately, if applying for more than one category.
Albums must contain more than 50 percent original content.
Albums must have a minimum run time of previously unreleased music of 25 minutes and/or 6 tracks.
To be eligible for the best album categories, over 50 percent of the album must fit the genre of the category.
Nomination forms and all supporting documentation must be submitted by April 7, 2021.
*Rising Star and Youth Leadership in music will be nominated by individuals outside of the artist/group.
There is no fee to submit a nomination.
Ineligibility and disqualification: recordings or submission will be deemed ineligible if they do not meet the eligibility criteria and / or due to breach of ethics / misconduct and / or cultural appropriation. Please refer to the Code of Conduct and Individual Responsibility and Cultural Protocols sections below for additional information.
Voting procedure; 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.
Artists, guests and their Industry representatives are required to be professional and respectful to The SSIMAs, The SSIMAs Advisory Committee, Judges and The SSIMAs guests, partners, sponsors and all associates.
The SSIMAs encourage an environment of inclusiveness and mindfulness of all social and political backgrounds/views, gender diversity and fairness that exists within our community. All participants, nominees and staff of The SSIMAs will be respectful, will uphold appropriate behaviour and not participate in lateral violence. Any violation of the code of conduct will result in immediate removal from the nomination process and/or live event.
It is essential that our diverse Indigenous cultures are protected for future generations and music is an integral part of our culture and traditions. All music submissions to the SSIMA that share a cultural element should be produced and performed in a way that is authentic to the community it represents. With the diversity of Indigenous cultures across Canada, it is impossible to define universally what is authentic and appropriate to share. SSIMA supports the authority of each community to determine their own cultural protocols and boundaries, and recognizes all of the diverse values and beliefs of our First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.