Amplify Youth

  • How so many people don’t have to prepare their daughters to protect themselves in the same way we have to protect our daughters ... because we are unsafe, we’re not protected.

  • We’re all familiar with the landscape of disadvantage in the statistics. But to me, they’r e more than statistics, to me they’re actual human lives that we have an obligation and duty to honour.

    Cindy Blackstock

Episode 3


iskwē is an Indigenous singer-songwriter and activist of Cree, Dené and Irish heritage. She received a Juno Award nomination for “Indigenous Music Album of the Year” at the Juno Awards of 2018 and was longlisted for the “Polaris Music Prize” for her second album The Fight Within. With her song Little Star, Iskwē sets out to write a song that looks into the injustice that follow the loss of young Tina Fountain. As Iskwē told Billboard magazine about Little Star:

“The lyric ‘Little Star’ is in reference to an element of Cree culture. I am Cree from Treaty 1 territory and in Cree culture we are taught that we are the descendants of the Star People. When you look up into the sky and you see a falling star or a shooting star, what you're actually seeing are the comings and goings of spirit between the walking world in the sky world. The lyrics of this song, especially with reference to 'fire down,' for instance, in the bridge, I'm referencing this movement of spirit leaving the walking world and entering back into the sky world.”

The episode features Dr. Cindy Blackstock, a member of the Gitxsan First Nation, is the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, a national organization that she co-founded. She is also a professor at McGill University's School of Social Work. She has been described as "Canada's 'relentless moral voice' for First Nations equality." She has worked for decades as a tireless champion for the rights of Indigenous children and their families. Blackstock first stepped onto the national stage when she helped win a landmark human rights challenge against the Government of Canada. Her advocacy has resulted in a wide range of services now being provided to Indigenous children, youth and families.

The Team:
  • Director: Shane Belcourt
  • Producer: Michelle St John
  • Producer: Jeremy Edwardes
  • Producer: Shane Belcourt
  • Executive Producer: Jim Compton
  • Executive Producer: R. Todd Ivey
  • Featuring: Iskwe
  • Featuring: Cindy Blackstock
  • Cinematographer: Sean Stiller
  • Editor: Shane Belcourt
  • Sound and score: Anthony Wallace


  • Iskwe on a rooftop

Web Trailer

The statistics surrounding indigenous children in Canada to this day are unacceptable. Iskwe takes a stand in her song "Little Star" to raise awareness in this problem that remains unsolved.

  • child looking up in the light

Little Star

Watch Iskwe's performance of her song "Little Star". This beautiful rendition takes you through the streets of Toronto at night following the dreams of freedom of an indigenous child. This music video was edited by Francis Laliberte.

  • Iskwe in studio


In this amplifier, Iskwe talks about her political stand and the steps she takes through arts and music to make the world a better place for the next generations.


    Iskwē | ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ is, among many other things, an artist – a creator and communicator of music and of movement, of pictures, poetry and prose. And through it all, she’s a teller of stories that have impacted our past and will inform our future. acākosīk | ᐊᒐᑯᓯᐠ is the culmination of her creation and collaboration to this point. It’s a collection of seven sonic explorations that not only blur lines between sources and styles, but also between the actual and the ideal, the real and imagined. But by extension, it’s also the star around which immersive worlds of live performance, video, and visual art revolve.

    Building on the foundation of potent, cross-cultural electro-pop established on her self-titled 2013 debut and confidently cemented on her heralded 2017 Juno-nominated and Polaris Music Prize Long-Listed follow-up The Fight Within, acākosīk incorporates more intense and urgent tinges of alternative, post-rock, and even industrial. The cohesive-yet-combustible result tips a cap to modern innovators like Florence + The Machine and FKA twigs while simultaneously borrowing sounds accumulated over centuries by Iskwē’s cree and Métis ancestors. 
    Virtually every song is laced with traditional Indigenous sounds, showcasing the beauty of the artist’s culture and inviting others to experience it first-hand. As such, the album is a masterclass in dynamics, sometimes reaching out like a tender hand in a velvet glove and hitting like a fist wrapped in razor wire at others. 

    Her message is arguably most impactful when delivered from the stage, where it’s not uncommon for people to leave in entranced contemplation or even in tears. Music merges with dance, multimedia, and more in a completely engulfing and cathartic experience – again, one meant to bring people together and celebrate that which unites over that which divides.


Little Star was recorded at Jukasa Recording Studio.

Jukasa Recording Studios is a multi-million dollar studio created for world-class and developing artists to make music in surroundings rich in spirit and tradition.

Address: 3326 6th Line, Ohsweken ON
Song producer: Greg Giesbrecht
Filming locations: City of Hamilton, City of Toronto