Back in October, an organization I belong to held the Playing for Change Film Festival. With Playing for Change Saskatchewan, we held music events raising money for music schools and programs around the world and at home. The Playing for Change Film Festival grew from that and has been a way to show films about using music for social justice and raising more awareness. This year The Road Forward was one of the films we showed. We had an indigenous musician, Erroll Kinistino, start the evening and a panel of indigenous activists in discussion after the film. It was an educational, entertaining and inspiring night and a wonderful film.

The Road Forward, a musical documentary by Marie Clements, connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history-the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s-with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today. The Road Forward’s stunningly shot musical sequences, performed by an ensemble of some of Canada’s finest vocalists and musicians, seamlessly connect past and present with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats. A rousing tribute to the fighters for First Nations rights, a soul-resounding historical experience, and a visceral call to action.

Indian Man is an amazing rock song – released as a music single by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). In an unusual move for the NFB, the song was released due to public demand after 200+ screenings of The Road Forward, the Indigenous musical documentary scored by Wayne Lavallee. Indian Man is the film’s opening story-song.

Wayne Lavallee is an award-winning recording artist, singer-songwriter and producer from the Métis Nation of St. Laurent, Manitoba. He has received two JUNO nominations, was named best Aboriginal singer-songwriter in 2006 by the Canadian Folk Music Awards and has won multiple Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. Wayne garnered international acclaim when his album Trail of Tears was released by the Dixiefrog label in France. Lavallee has also composed music for dance and film projects. His original music scores for the award-winning NFB documentaries The Road Forward and Holy Angels both received Leo Award nominations. He is inspired to make music that’s rooted in his Indigenous culture—a hybrid of unique sounds that evoke the ancient spirit within. Lavallee is currently working on his next studio album and the original music score for the feature drama Red Snow, written and directed by Marie Clements. He is based in Vancouver, BC.

Wayne has a fascinating story – originally from the Métis Nation of St. Laurent, Manitoba, Wayne Lavallee now lives and works in Vancouver, BC.
He was a Sixties Scoop foster child, on his own at age 16, then learned about his culture through his work with Indigenous theatre, dance and music.
Wayne is an award-winning singer/songwriter, film scorer and an eloquent and passionate spokesperson.

Take a listen to Indian Man below on Sound Cloud and/or watch the YouTube video. If you get the chance to see the film, I highly recommend it.