Canada’s aboriginal music talent is getting noticed internationally. Billboard magazine, a highly influential U.S. music industry weekly, devoted a front-page feature article to native musicians in Canada in its Sept. 3 issue.

After a long struggle for recognition, the article reports, native artists are starting to make some breakthroughs

on commercial radio while staying true to their roots.

Native musicians are also acquiring renewed recognition in their own communities, particularly at powwows and other ceremonial events and festivals.

Billboard interviews artists ranging from Buffy Ste-Marie to Mohawk DJ Bill Henry-Reidy, and Allen Deleary of 7th Fire. Deleary points out that native music is often grounded in real-life issues confronting First Nations communities. “As a First Nations individual, my life, whether I like it or not, is politics 24 hours a day. It’s very hard to keep those kinds of issues inside,” Deleary says.

Buffy Ste-Marie, who is described as “something of a mother figure for Canada’s native musicians,” calls on the wider public and the music industry to give native music a try.

“The native contribution to Canada is rich and unique,” she says. “It is a national treasure, and mainstream Canadians are missing out on something very wonderful.”