The following was originally published at Ongoing History of Protest Music.
The Canadian Indigenous hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids recently released “No Jesus Piece,”
the fourth single off their upcoming album “Life After,” which will drop on October 22.
It is the follow-up to their excellent 2019 album, “Trapline” (one of the best protest albums of 2019).
The duo says of the track: “‘No Jesus Piece’ is a reference to embracing our own spiritual symbols. The Catholic church and the government of Canada used Catholicism as a tool of annihilation of Indigenous culture, practice, teachings and ways of being.”
“We want to identify the connections between the importance of putting our faith in a sacred metal. While we respect people for having their own religions and religious symbols, we’d rather rock our copper shield.”
Copper shields were viewed as the ultimate symbol of wealth among the Haida and are associated with the Copper Woman of Haida. According to one tradition, the copper originated from the territory of the Eyak people in Alaska’s Copper River area.
Also, according to Nuxalk legend says it came from the Tsonoqua, who had received it from Qomoqua, the master of wealth who resides in a copper house at the bottom of the sea.
In 2021, children’s bodies were recovered from unmarked graves on the sites of government and church-run residential schools in Canada, giving the tune additional resonance.
The last residential school in Canada was closed in 1996, but the damage remains. The fight for reconciliation will continue to be long and hard yet worth fighting.
Listen to Snotty Nose Rez Kids’ “No Jesus Piece”: