Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards Celebrates Outstanding Achievements by Indigenous Musicians

ABOVE: Aysanabee, recipient of three SSIMA awards, performed live at the event. (Photo credit: Tom Mt Pleasant)

The Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards (SSIMA) took place at the National Arts Center in-person for the very first time since its inception on June 6th. The Babs Asper Theatre was chock full of music fans, professionals, and, most importantly, a large number of very talented artists. The joyous ceremony was opened by Algonquin Elder and the University of Ottawa Chancellor, Claudette Commanda, with an unceded Algonquin territory land acknowledgment and a prayer.

ABOVE: Ottawa’s Amanda Rheaume was both a nominee and a presenter at the SSIMAs  (Photo credit: Tom Mt Pleasant).  Vince Fontaine was recognized posthumously for the SSIMA Legacy Award. (Photo Credit Anne-Marie Brugger)

The event, hosted by the dazzling Sarain Fox, showcased the wide diversity of music genres in which Indigenous artists perform. Everything from traditional to country, rap, and electronica were represented. Ottawa’s own Cody Coyote was nominated, as well as Amanda Rheaume for her success with Ishkode Records and for her own recent album, The Spaces in Between. The Legacy Award was presented posthumously to the late Vince Fontaine in a heartfelt video tribute.

The awards ceremony was interspersed with performances by Joel Wood, Indian City, Plex, Aysanabee, who picked up three awards, and Andrea Menard, who won the Métis Artist of the Year award. Snotty Nose Rez Kids and Blue Moon Marquee, who were not in attendance, picked-up two awards each. 

ABOVE: Logan Staats accepting the Radio Song Single of the Year award. (Photo: Tom Mt Pleasant) Kaely Jade accepting her award for Music In The Arts. (Photo: Anne-Marie Brugger)

The event is presented bi-annually by The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival, which takes place this year from June 21 to 25 at the Mādahòkì Farm, located 15 minutes south of Ottawa.

2023 nominees were selected from over 250 Canada-wide submissions by an invited panel of jurors comprising Indigenous and music industry professionals and peers. The night was broadcast live on RogersTV Ottawa and will air again at a later date. Ottawa Life Magazine congratulates all nominees and award recipients.

For the complete list of winners in all 16 categories and details about the Festival, visit: