Today MDM Recordings Inc., is thrilled to unveil the newly launched Henry Armstrong Award, a bursary and mentorship program created to develop, elevate, and support the diverse talents in the Canadian Indigenous music community. The Henry Armstrong Award (HAA) is open to all Indigenous music artists across Canada (excluding residents of QC due to restrictions), with submissions opening April 19th and closing May 13th. Following the application window, a juried selection process will begin via a committee of Canadian music industry professionals, with the chosen act receiving a $10,000 bursary along with a tailored mentorship program of professional development services, announced on National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21st.
Named for MDM Recordings Inc. president and founder Mike Denney’s grandfather Lloyd Henry and mother Gloria Denney (née Armstrong), both fellow Six Nations Lower Mohawk, The Henry Armstrong Award aims to provide unique opportunities for growth and development to the selected recipient.
The genesis for the HAA began in the spring of 2021, following the initial uncovering of the 215 Indigenous children in the Kamloops Residential School mass grave. Knowing he wanted to help, Denney called upon his fellow industry and quickly put together a committee united with the goal of promoting inclusivity, equity, and equality in the Canadian Indigenous Music space and beyond.
“The discovery of the children’s remains in Kamloops had a profound effect on me, and I knew it would be impossible to sit idly by and continue to watch everything unfold,” says Denney. “Understanding that I cannot control the past, my mind shifted to how we could create something that would positively contribute to the future of Indigenous people and give Indigenous artists a chance to have their music heard. Our hope is to expand and grow the platform for Indigenous music in Canada, and the launch of the Henry Armstrong Award is our first step in that direction.”
The HAA icon was conceptualized and designed by Leticia Spence
from Pimicikamak and Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Spence is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator based in Treaty One territory.