(born January, 1956 in Moose Factory, Ontario
) is a Canadian musician and the current mayor of Cochrane, Ontario
. He has used the name Wapistan
in his musical work.
He grew up in a small community called Moose River Crossing
with his mom, sister and grandparents. As in the Cree
traditional communities, the whole hamlet became his family. One of his aunts, Abba, recognized his talent for music
at an early age. She bought him an acoustic guitar and taught him to play. Once he learned how to strum three chords, he began to write songs. He was around twelve years old at that time.
From the age of fourteen, he attended secondary school in North Bay
. After various jobs, he became mayor of Sioux Lookout
in 1994, becoming the first aboriginal person
in the province ever elected to the mayoralty of a municipality that was not a First Nations reserve
. He later moved to Cochrane, and was elected mayor of that town in 2003, similarly becoming one of the only Canadian politicians ever to have held the mayoralty of two different municipalities.
Also in 1994 he became the first winner of the Juno Award for Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Recording
. Martin was nominated with fellow musician Vern Cheechoo
for a 2003 Juno Award
for Aboriginal Recording of the Year.