Tanya Tagaq has won the Polaris Prize, an award given annually to the best album by a Canadian artist, based on polling of Canadian music critics. The prize comes with $30,000 in cash.
Tagaq's album, Animism, bested releases by such well-known artists as Drake, Arcade Fire, Mac DeMarco, and Owen Pallett. The last three winners of the Polaris Prize were Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Arcade Fire, and Feist.
In her acceptance speech, Tagaq paused to address the issue of seal as an eternal Indigenous resource, and took a shot at those who criticize seal hunting in Canada: "On a quick side note, people should wear and eat seal as much as possible, because if you imagine an indigenous culture thriving and surviving on a sustainable resource, wearing seal and eating it... It's delicious and there's lots of them and fuck PETA." She then held up a sealskin wristband to moderate applause.
Backstage, Tagaq continued to speak from the heart. "Humans, we're having a hard time, we're all pretending we're not," she said, according to Huffington Post Canada. "I get sick of living in that world, where we're supposed to pretend. I just want to take that out and shake it. We can be honest with each other, we can be real with each other."
She added that the cash prize would benefit those she cares about: "I'm gonna take care of my family. I'm gonna give my girls a nice education. Money just trickles away really quickly anyway. I'm not going to donate it to a special cause, I'm going to donate it to my cause," she said.