MUSIC

Tanya Tagaq: I Was Sexually Harrassed In Winnipeg

10/08/2014 07:59 EDT | Updated 12/08/2014 05:59 EST
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Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq took to Twitter today to share the fear she felt when a man followed her on the streets of Winnipeg in broad daylight, asking her for sex.

"I was in Winnipeg for the ballet, walking to lunch, when a man started following me calling me a 'sexy little Indian' and asking to f--k," the Polaris Prize-winning artist tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Tagaq told CBC News the man started to follow her after he failed to get her attention by telling her she was beautiful. His comments quickly became vulgar, and Tagaq said she had to duck into a shop to escape.

She said she was frightened.

Tagaq was in Winnipeg for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation, a performance inspired by the recollections of residential school survivors, making the latest incident especially poignant.

Public engagement through social media is nothing new for the singer, having been at the centre of controversy earlier this year when she posted a photo of her baby beside a dead seal near her home community of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

Tagaq spent several weeks defending that photo and the traditional hunting practices of aboriginal peoples in Canada's North.

Following her Polaris win, Tagaq tweeted: "I had a scrolling screen of 1200 missing and murdered indigenous women at the Polaris gala but people are losing their minds over seals."

Identifying herself as a feminist, Tagaq said she is sick of modern society's sexism and misogyny.

"I wish I was a six foot tall, 400-pound man so that I could serve him what he deserved, and that's a punch in the face," she said.

Tagaq's Twitter followers responded quickly to her posts on Wednesday, with many praising her for speaking out.

Most of the comments showed women and men responding with shock and disgust by what happened, while others said they were not surprised.

Tagaq's tweets also come on the heels of a Probe Research poll, released earlier this week, that suggests the division between aboriginal and non-aboriginal citizens is a serious issue in Winnipeg.

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