"People were pretty positive about it, they thought it was neat that we were shooting a music video here," said lead singer Adrian Sutherland about the video for "I Need Angels," a song off the band's third album, High Road.
The song tackles depression and the struggle to stay positive and not give up — all things the community has been dealing with for years.
Attawapiskat first came to national media attention in 2011 for its deplorable housing conditions. Since then, the community has remained in the media.
In 2012, former Chief Theresa Spence staged a hunger strike in an attempt to arrange a meeting with then prime minister Stephen Harper to discuss treaty rights. In 2014, Attawapiskat's only elementary school reopened after being closed for over a decade due to a pipeline rupture that contaminated soil under the school.
In 2016, the northern region declared a state of emergency over a spike in suicide attempts. In Canada, suicide rates for Indigenous people are some of the highest in the world.
Suicide has rocked Attawapiskat, affecting many including Sutherland's family.
Sutherland thought penning "I Need Angels" could help himself and the community during a time when he felt powerless.
"As human beings, naturally you want to help the situation to make it better. But what do you do? How do you start? Where do you begin? For me it was music," said the songwriter.
Throughout the music video there are photos of youth who have committed suicide. Sutherland thinks putting a face to the issue will help fuel awareness.
Attawapiskat has always been depicted as dark in everything you see ... But in our video, you see Attawapiskat like you've never seen before.Adrian Sutherland
Some of the issues affecting Attawapiskat are felt in Indigenous communities across the country including isolation, lack of infrastructure and services.
While Sutherland said the music video is meant to bring more attention to social issues affecting the community, he also hopes it brings positivity and happiness.
"Attawapiskat has always been depicted as dark in everything you see, they show you the worst of Attawapiskat. But in our video, you see Attawapiskat like you've never seen before."
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The music video has a high production value that shows the beauty of the rivers, forest, hilltop and even junkyard in and around the community.
Along with "I Need Angels," the band also shot two other music videos in Attawapiskat that will be released in the coming months. Sutherland hopes positive stories will continue to come out of his community.
"I really hope (these videos are) going to have a positive impact and I believe (they are) going to," said Sutherland.
"But it takes a series of good stories to change perceptions."
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