The Indigenous Music Steering Committee at Manitoba Music has announced the inaugural recipient of The Vince Fontaine Legacy Award. Anishinaabe multi-hyphenate Veronica Blackhawk, whose songs can be heard through indie outfit Tinge, has earned the honour, which will be presented at Manitoba Music’s Annual General Meeting on July 4. The award is sponsored by Manitoba Music and Manitoba Film & Music.
The Vince Fontaine Legacy Award recognizes an emerging Indigenous artist or industry professional currently working towards a career in the music industry and is intended to contribute to their professional development. The award honours the indelible legacy of Vince Fontaine, who passed away in January 2022. He was an important leader in the music community and had an incredible impact on many. He was a mentor, champion, challenger, tireless supporter of Indigenous artists, and an amazing musician/composer/producer with trailblazing acts like Eagle & Hawk and Indian City. He shared his guidance as a founding member of the Indigenous Music Steering Committee and as a past member of Manitoba Music’s Board of Directors. He was dedicated to making the music industry a better place, opening doors, challenging systems, and elevating Indigenous voices, and for his many many songs and heartfelt performances.
Veronica Blackhawk is a Two-Spirit Anishinaabe from Lake of the Woods, Ontario with roots in northern Manitoba. They are the creative lead for the band Tinge with a recent EP release entitled Big Deep Sigh released through record label House of Wonders. Veronica has participated in the Winnipeg Folk Festival’s Young Performers Program and also completed a summer internship with Indigenous Music / Manitoba Music. They create many forms of art through Blackhawk Boutique and pride themselves on volunteerism and professional photography. This singer/songwriter/storyteller tackles issues of intergenerational trauma, survival and identity in their songs while taking up space and opening up doors for others in their musical journey.
Veronica’s generosity, passion, and dedication to their art and community perfectly demonstrate Vince’s professional traits, values, and commitment.
“We are thrilled to share this award with Veronica, who is a true champion of music and the arts in Manitoba and deeply committed to making our industry and community a better space for Indigenous artists and the community as a whole,” says Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais, Indigenous Music Development Program Coordinator at Manitoba Music.
As part of the award, they will receive financial support to attend the Artist Entrepreneur West (AE West) artist development program at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre in Calgary this fall, presented by Canada’s Music Incubator (CMI), as well as membership and professional development opportunities with Manitoba Music.
[Pictured: Vince Fontaine]