Global Citizen is heading to Vancouver on April 12 and we’re bringing along up-and-coming psych-rock duo Crown Lands.

Band members Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles both cite Rush as their biggest rock inspiration — from their sound to their clean-cut lifestyle — and both guys have long, awesome rock n’ roll hair. Comeau is known for his epic hair flips on stage and Bowles’ mellow demeanor is about as ’70s-remiscient as it gets.

Their sound combines hard rock with a bluesy energy, and on stage they are loud, fun and energetic.

Off stage, chatting in the Global Citizen office in Toronto, the guys are sweet and polite — a perfectly Canadian rock band (just like Rush).

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Both 23 years old, they’re ready to use their music to tackle some big issues in Canada and around the world.

That’s why they decided to write “Mountain,” a blues-derived rock song that addresses the mistreatment of Indigenous people at its core. They’ve chosen to premiere their music video on the Global Citizen platform, in hopes of reaching a vast audience dedicated to social change and ending extreme poverty.

Canadian listeners will quickly understand the meaning behind the lyrics in “Mountain” and its video leaves little to the imagination.

The second verse of the song is a significant allusion to colonization: “They came 'cross the ocean/With all their loaded guns/Fear then swept my people/Eclipsed in the hatred spun.”

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In the video, fans will notice pointed references to Catholicism, as well as subtle nods to Canada’s history with items purposefully placed throughout (spot the Hudson’s Bay blanket).

This video takes a stand on the mistreatment of Indigenous people throughout Canadian history, and it also addresses components of the country’s residential schools.

“We were always interested in tackling these issues,” Bowles, who is part Mi'kmaq, told Global Citizen. “I’ve just always, you know, wanted to use music as a platform to speak about issues in Canada.”

Residential schools were church-run, government-funded institutions that were created to “educate” Indigenous children in the 19th century.

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About 150,000 First Nation, Inuit and Métis children were taken from their communities and placed in residential schools, where many were victims of emotional, physical, spiritual, and sexual abuse.

It is a dark part of Canadian history, one that has yet to be fully addressed or reconciled.

In recent years, Canadians have called on its government to recognize, apologize, and compensate victims of the residential school system.

In fact, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released a report with 94 recommended calls to action “in order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to act on all of them, and while he has acted on some, including asking the Pope for an apology to Indigenous people, and successfully eliminating some of the water advisories in Indigenous communities, many tasks still remain.

The rock duo has played shows on reserves and they have seen the limited resources available to Canada’s Indigenous populations.

Bowles has even experienced firsthand the detrimental effects residential schools had on families.

His grandfather was placed in a residential school growing up and Bowles said that it caused intergenerational suffering.

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“I can see it in my father, and even in me,” he said. “Especially when talking about these kinds of issues and stuff, and when I go to reserves… and talk about it with people.”

Much of Canada’s Indigenous population face severe obstacles.

Not only are some communities without clean water, appropriate housing and stuck with limited food resources, but there are also huge gaps between the health of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. Often these issues go hand in hand.

For instance, the rate of tuberculosis in the Inuit population is 300 times higher than in Canadian-born, non-Indigenous Canadians, according to the Globe and Mail.

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What’s more is that Indigenous women and girls are more likely to be murdered or to go missing.

An RCMP report in 2014 indicated that just under 1,200 Indigenous women were murdered or had gone missing between 1980 and 2012, but Patty Hajdu, Canada's former minister for the status of women, said in 2016 that the actual number could be as high as 4,000.

A Statistcs Canada report released in June 2017 indicated that the homicide rate for Indigenous females was almost 6 times higher than it was for non-Indigenous females between 2001 and 2015.

In 2015 alone, one quarter of all female homicide victims in Canada were Indigenous, according to CBC.

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In response to these overwhelming numbers, the Canaidan government launched the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in September 2016.

This issue is something that Crown Lands really wants to draw attention to.

“On the international stage, we’re priding ourselves as being like a beacon of hope, and yet... we’re treating our own people like this and we have to…fix that,” Comeau said.

Comeau specifically feels like the National Inquiry needs help.

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So far, 21 employees have stepped down from the federal inquiry, including Chief Commissioner Marion Buller and Executive Director Debbie Reid, according to APTN.

“She was faced with an impossible task and none of the resources she needed,” Comeau said about the director stepping down.

The two men are also allies to the LGBTQ+ community and see themselves as feminists. They want to use their platform to spread awareness about issues of gender equality, Indigenous rights and overall global issues, which is how they ended up involved with Global Citizen.

Crown Lands will be performing alongside some incredible speakers at Global Citizen Live Vancouver, including Indigenous environmentalist Ta’Kaiya Blaney.

To earn your way in, visit the event page here and take action on women and girls’ health and climate change.


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Psych-rock Duo Crown Lands Debuts New Video With Global Citizen

By Jackie Marchildon