Adrian Sutherland comes from the isolated Cree community of Attawapiskat in Northern Ontario. He’s a singer/songwriter and frontman for roots-rock band Midnight Shine, making contemporary music that gives a glimpse of life in Canada’s Far North, while reflecting universal themes like family, home, love and loss. Setting Midnight Shine apart from other bands is the depth of Adrian’s exploration of his First Nations’ identity. He caught the early attention of Ralph James (APA Agency) one of Canada’s most renowned booking agents with a knack for finding extraordinary talent. Ralph has since become one of Midnight Shine’s industry champions, helping drive their live performances to the next level. Beyond music, Adrian is a knowledge and language keeper of his Mushkegowuk Cree people of the James Bay. He teaches his children and other Northern youth traditional ways of land, participates in annual harvests, takes part in and often leads ceremonies, and is a genuine example of someone who lives authentically. He is a father of four, grandfather of three, and hard-working husband, proud of who he is and where he comes from. Adrian is an entrepreneur, running eatery and catering service The Moose Takeout with wife Judy since 2018. He spent three years as the CEO of a community-based company focusing on business development, a position he left in 2017 to make more time for music, business, cultural obligations, and growing family. Adrian studied finance and business management at Northern College in Timmins. Prior to this he spent ten years as a certified EMT, providing emergency response paramedic services all over Northern Ontario. Adrian was nominated for a 2016 Premier’s Award from Colleges Ontario for his commitment to the North. He is currently Board Chair of the Attawapiskat First Nation Education Authority, helping shape education in his community. A budding writer, Adrian is a regular Huffpost.ca contributor, and has had his writing featured in Outdoor Canada Magazine. A hockey player, too, Adrian was thrilled to play alongside other hockey-loving musicians and NHL greats at JUNO Cups in Ottawa (2017), Vancouver (2018) and London (2019). He previously launched a music program in Attawapiskat with support from MusiCounts, and was instrumental in bringing ArtsCan Circle to his community. Adrian cares deeply about First Nations’ issues, and takes his responsibility as a positive role model seriously. He is passionate about working with youth, helping the next generation explore their skills and talents, and ensuring that young people have access to education, physical activity, cultural opportunities, and land-based learning. Adrian is an advocate for the many social challenges facing his community of Attawapiskat, such as contaminated water, moldy housing, addiction, and suicide. While his home has been the subject of much negative media attention, he would like to change those perceptions: "There are good stories to be told from Attawapiskat and from all over the North. I hope to be one of them."
Lack of access to clean water is something that has long existed in this country, and it still does today.
It fills my heart with warmth knowing my sons will have seen and experienced firsthand what life is like on the land.
01/11/2018 14:48 EST
I would have loved to shake his hand that day, and let him know just how much he inspired me.
10/17/2017 17:38 EDT
The Twin Islands are traditional territory of the Attawapiskat Cree, and so is the largest island in the James Bay (Akimiski Island).
08/14/2017 13:29 EDT
It was such a wonderful feeling to see him get his first kill. Geeshig was shining so bright, and for me, as a father, it was such a proud moment. I am satisfied knowing this hunt will stay with him for the rest of his life. He will always look back on it and be thankful for his dad.
06/13/2017 03:57 EDT
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