East Coast awards pull Indigenous artist nominee amid questions about Metis ties
HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia musician has been pulled from consideration for Indigenous artist of the year at the East Coast Music Awards due to questions surrounding his claims to Metis heritage.
The chair of the East Coast Music Association's board of directors says the nomination of Cape Breton guitarist Maxim Cormier, who identifies as being of Acadian and Metis heritage, has been withdrawn.
Dean Stairs says Cormier belongs to the Highlands Metis Nation Association, whose claims to Aboriginal heritage have not been recognized under Canadian law.
Stairs called the situation "regrettable" and says the decision was made in consultation with government officials and community stakeholders.
The decision was announced late last week.
Stairs says the board does not question how someone self-identifies, but has to ensure that all nominees meet the "true intent" of the category's criteria out of respect for Atlantic Canada's Indigenous Peoples.
He says the committee that oversees the nominations process will review and clarify the criteria for the Indigenous artist of the year category.
Representatives for Cormier and the East Coast Music Association could not immediately be reached for comment.
The East Coast Music Awards, a five-day celebration of music showcasing hundreds of Atlantic artists, is set to take place in Halifax in May.