Jeremy Dutcher

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Jeremy Dutcher
Jeremey Dutcher live in concert at The Great Hall in Toronto, Ontario
Background information
Born (1990-11-08) November 8, 1990 (age 28)
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Occupation(s)Singer, pianist, composer, activist
Years active2014–present

Jeremy Dutcher is a classically-trained Canadian Indigenous tenor, composer, musicologist, performer and activist,[1] who currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.[2] He became widely known for his first album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, which won the 2018 Polaris Music Prize [3] and the Juno Award for Indigenous Music Album of the Year at the 2019 Juno Awards.[4]

A Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) member of the Tobique First Nation in North-West New Brunswick, Dutcher studied music and anthropology at Dalhousie University.[5] After training as an operatic tenor in the Western classical tradition, he expanded his professional repertoire to include the traditional singing style and songs of his community.[2]

He recorded Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa following a research project on old archival recordings of traditional Maliseet songs at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, many of which are no longer being passed down to contemporary Maliseet youth.[6][7]

Dutcher identifies as two-spirit,[8] a modern, pan-Indian, umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe aboriginal people fulfilling a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial cultural role in their community.


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee/Work Result Ref
2018 Polaris Music Prize Shortlisted Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa Won [9]
2019 Juno Award Indigenous Music Album of the Year Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa Won [10]


Indigenous activism[edit]

Dutcher aims to preserve both Wolastoq culture and language through his music,[2] and inspire Indigenous youth to think about the importance of language.[11] When asked about his decision to record in his native Wolastoq language, Dutcher stated "it’s less about asking people to learn a new language and more about disrupting the bilingual Anglo-centric Canadian music narrative. Up until this point, why have there been no popular records in my language?"[12]

At the Juno Awards pre-telecast industry gala dinner on March 16, 2019, Dutcher used his acceptance speech to critique the Trudeau government's approach to reconciliation with indigenous peoples.[13] Although his remarks were interrupted partway through when he was played off the stage, later that evening Arkells gave their own speaking time to allow him to conclude his remarks.[14][15] He made his first national televised performance at the Juno Awards the following night, March 17, 2019, performing “Sakomawit” from his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa beneath black and white photographs of his Wolastoq ancestors.[16]

LGBTQ2S+ activism[edit]

Dutcher was previously responsible for development coordination and Indigenous outreach at Egale Canada, which is currently the country's only national LGBT human rights organization.[17]

The intersection of identifying as both Indigenous and Two-Spirited allows Dutcher to speak out on the Indigenization of queer spaces. In the Two-Spirit Roundtable project he speaks on the lack of gendered pronouns in the Maliseet language, and advocates for a "less western" way of thinking about gender.[17]


  1. ^ "Jeremy Dutcher breathes new life into century-old Wolastoq recordings". Halifax Chronicle-Herald, May 8, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "How Jeremy Dutcher Keeps His Ancestors' Language Alive". The Walrus. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  3. ^ "Jeremy Dutcher Wins 2018 Polaris Music Prize". Exclaim!, September 17, 2018
  4. ^ "Shawn Mendes the biggest winner as bulk of Juno Awards handed out Saturday". CBC News, March 17, 2019.
  5. ^ "A powerful mix of culture and craft: Dutcher's debut brings ancestors' melodies, words into present day". Winnipeg Free Press, June 16, 2018.
  6. ^ "Jeremy Dutcher : chanter avec les voix ressuscitées de ses ancêtres". Ici Radio-Canada, May 22, 2018.
  7. ^ Friend, David (April 28, 2018). "Singer Jeremy Dutcher reaches across a century to connect with Wolastoq language". The Toronto Star / The Canadian Press. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  8. ^ "Tenor Jeremy Dutcher revives the songs of his Maliseet ancestors at the Queer Arts Festival". The Georgia Straight, June 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "Polaris Music Prize Reveals 2018 Short List". Exclaim!, July 17, 2018.
  10. ^ "Junos 2019: the complete list of winners". CBC Music, March 16, 2019.
  11. ^ "Polaris winner Jeremy Dutcher hopes to inspire Indigenous youth". The Globe and Mail. September 18, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  12. ^ "Jeremy Dutcher Aims to Disrupt 'Anglo-Centric Music Narrative' With Wolastoq-Language Album: Premiere". Billboard. April 5, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  13. ^ "Read Jeremy Dutcher's powerful 2019 Junos speeches in full". CBC News, Holly Gordon, Mar 17, 2019
  14. ^ "Arkells give Juno speech time to Jeremy Dutcher for stirring reconciliation speech". CBC News. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  15. ^ Friend, David (16 March 2019). "Shawn Mendes wins big at Juno Awards pre-telecast gala". CTV/The Canadian Press. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  16. ^ Friend, David (17 March 2019). "Corey Hart delivers tearful speech, big finale at Junos as he's inducted into hall of fame". National Post. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  17. ^ a b Fewster, Peter H. "Researching for LGBTQ Health". Retrieved October 29, 2018.