Topic: ARTS

Gabriel Dumont Institute 40th Anniversary

The Gabriel Dumont Institute is celebrating its 40th year in 2020. This milestone was the focus of a 2-day cultural celebration held February 7th and 8th in Saskatoon.  The event was preceded by a special ceremony at which 20 students received the Order of Gabriel Dumont – Bronze Medal following a keynote address from Duane Favel, a SUNTEP grad and current Mayor of Île-à-la-Crosse, SK.  The Order of Gabriel Dumont Bronze Medal honours GDI students and alumni who have distinguished themselves through leadership, community involvement, and overall performance.

“The Order of Gabriel Dumont is awarded by the Gabriel Dumont Institute to persons who have distinguished themselves with outstanding service to the Métis of Canada,” said Geordy McCaffrey, GDI executive director. “It is one of the Métis Nation’s highest civilian honours, awarded to Métis and non-Métis individuals based on their achievements and lifetime contributions.”

Silver and Gold medal recipients were invested at the evening gala held February 7th.  Silver medal recipients were Glenn Lafleur and Norma Welsh. The Order of Gabriel Dumont Silver Medal honours those who have made significant contributions to the Métis.  Gold medal recipients included Jean Baptiste (John) Arcand, Clément (Clem) Chartier, and Lawrence J. Barkwell (Posthumous.) The Order of Gabriel Dumont Gold Medal recognizes lifetime of outstanding service to the Métis of Canada.  The honorees were celebrated with the music of a cadre of talented Métis performers which included John Arcand, Donny Parenteau, Jess Lee, Lucas Welsh, Tristen Durocher, Tahnis Cunningham, Angela Rancourt and Julianna Parenteau. They delivered a delightfully entertaining showcase at the gala.

The conference was highlighted with keynote addresses from renowned author, playwright, and activist Maria Campbell on Friday, and on Saturday from Jesse Thistle, researcher and author of his best-selling memoir, “From the Ashes.”  Their powerful keynotes were followed with over fifty break-out workshops and presentations that fit with GDI’s cultural and education mandate. These varied from hands-on workshops such as beading, finger weaving, embroidery, Red River cart building, jigging, and square dancing, to presentations by Métis researchers, academics, and knowledge keepers.

In its 40 years, GDI has provided over 1300 students with Bachelor of Education degrees, established services in 11 communities and created partnerships with the universities in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, and the regional colleges. The Institute is the largest employer of Métis people in the province. 

“It’s pretty impressive to think about the impact we’ve had on Saskatchewan and the number of people we’ve trained.  Seeing alumni and all the people from the community who have supported GDI and recognized the importance of having a Métis controlled institution is overwhelming,” said McCaffrey. 

More about the conference can be seen at: 

Order of Gabriel Dumont Bronze Medal Recipients. Photo by Peter Beszterda, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Sophie McDougall, Maria Campbell, and Doris McDougall. Photo by Peter Beszterda, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Samson Lamontagne and Lyla Phillips presenting Michif Basics. Photo by Peter Beszterda, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Scott Duffee (middle) teaching finger weaving. Photo by Peter Beszterda, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Angela Rancourt performing with Donny Parenteau and band. Photo by Peter Beszterda, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Jess Lee and Tristen Durocher. Photo by Donna Heimbecker, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Warren Cariou, Greg Scofield, Maria Campbell, and Christi Belcourt. Photo by Donna Heimbecker, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Audience for a presentation by Darren Prefontaine on Métis Road Allowances. Photo by Donna Heimbecker, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Leah Dorion presenting on Métis Ribbon Skirt Teachings. Photo by Donna Heimbecker, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Amy Briley and Greg Scofield leading a learn to bead session. Photo by Donna Heimbecker, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Ashley Smith being presented an Order of Gabriel Dumont Bronze Award. Photo by Julie Labrecque, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Gold and Silver Order of Gabriel Dumont Awards. Photo by Julie Labrecque, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Geordy McCaffrey, Norma Welsh, and Earl Cook. Photo by Julie Labrecque, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Tristen Durocher performs as the crowd joins in to jig. Photo by Julie Labrecque, © Gabriel Dumont Institute.

Outstanding BC First Nations artists celebrated with Fulmer Award

VANCOUVER – The BC Achievement Foundation (BCAF) celebrated the six recipients of the Fulmer Award in BC First Nations at The Roundhouse.

The recipients were recognized for their artistic excellence in traditional, contemporary or media art at the 13th annual awards in First Nations Art celebration on November 21, 2019.

“BC Achievement is honoured to showcase these artists whose respect for tradition directs and inspires their creative practices,” said BCAF chair Anne Giardini. “The 2019 awardees join 73 artists from the program’s past 13 years. Together, Fulmer Award alumni ensure British Columbia is a place filled with innovation and wonder,” she added.

In addition, Marianne Nicolson, Musgamakw Dzawada̱’enux̱w, received the 2019 Fulmer Award of Distinction which recognizes individuals who have made a profound contribution to their First Nations culture.

Gus Denny Cook

Gus Cook is a respected repoussé and chasing artist from the Namgis
community, which is part of Kwakwaka’wakw nation. Repoussé and chasing are ancient techniques which involve forms of sculpting 3-D pieces out of flat sheet metal by hammering both sides of the metal. From a young age, Gus was encouraged by his mother and father to work hard, be proud and take care of his surroundings. Mentored closely by his brother and fellow artist Rande Cook, Gus has combined skill and artistry with his work ethic, to create beautiful jewellery, frontlets, rattles, spoons and plates.

Henry Green
Wii Gwinaalth
Prince Rupert

Tsm’syen artist Wii Gwinaalth, (Henry Green), has an extensive record of multidisciplinary practices in a variety of mediums and has been involved in local and international exhibitions. Henry’s art embodies a spiritual process and his work is guided by blending Tsm’syen mythology with historical, ideological and modern references. He credits Haida artists Freda Diesing and her nephew, Don Yeomans, for stimulating his interest in the arts and in woodcarving. Henry’s artistic practice includes the training of over 400 apprentices and mentoring many young artists, therefore ensuring the continuance of Tsm’syen cultural knowledge and traditions for future generations.

Maynard Johnny, Jr.

Coast Salish artist, Maynard Johnny Jr., has been drawing portraits of his family and replicating comics since early childhood. His exploration of First Nations Art began at age 17 when he designed and created his first painting on a sevenfoot by three-foot door skin panel. Primarily self-taught, Maynard has been influenced by accomplished artists and has expanded his reach significantly, designing logo and identity pieces for organizations, movie sets and television series. An internationally recognized artist, Maynard’s work continues to share the beauty of Coast Salish art through graphic painting, wood, glass, large metal sculptures and precious metals.

Doreen Manuel
Canǂupka Kakin
North Vancouver

A member of the Neskonlith First Nation, Doreen learned traditional beading from her grandmother. Her mother was also an intricate bead artist who taught Doreen that she should learn to bead well so she could use her work, when necessary, to provide for her family. Now Doreen beads for her love of the art, carrying on the legacy of her traditions with future generations. Doreen is the sixth child of Grand Chief Dr. George Manuel and spiritual leader Marceline Manuel and comes from a long line of Indigenous oral historians and storytellers.

Michelle Stoney
Delgamaas from the house of Delgamuukw

The recipient of this year’s Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist Award, Michelle Stoney incorporates the traditions of her two distinct First Nations cultures: form line from her Gitxsan heritage and bright colours with black outlines from her Cree heritage. Recently painted murals in her hometown of Hazleton, as well as in Terrace and Vancouver reflect Michelle’s innovative painting style as well as her goal to create unique First Nations art. In addition, Michelle has been learning the fundamentals of jewelry-making from established artists and contributing positively to the future of First Nations Art.

Marianne Nicolson

Marianne is a well-known mixed media artist who utilizes painting, photography, mixed-media, sculpture, and installation to create modern depictions of traditional Kwakwaka’wakw concepts. As an artist of Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations descent, Marianne’s training encompasses both traditional Kwakwaka’wakw forms and culture and
Western European based art practice. She has exhibited widely in Canada and throughout the world since 1992 and has been vocal on issues of Aboriginal histories and politics arising from a passionate involvement in cultural revitalization and sustainability. Her work, A Lament for National Histories, questions the status of international agreements/treaties and the land jurisdiction these agreements reflect.

The 2019 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature

To celebrate and to honour the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, CODE is proud to announce the shortlist in the new Indigenous language award category for young adult fiction. This is part of the CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature.

This is the first-ever Indigenous language award for young adult literature in Canada. The shortlisted titles in alphabetical order include:

– Inconvenient Skin by Shane Koyczan, written in English and Cree with translation by
Soloman Ratt. Illustrations by Joseph M. Sanchez, Jim Logan, Kent Monkman, and Nadya Kwandibens. Published by Theytus Books.
– Those Who Run in the Sky by Aviaq Johnston, translated into Inuktitut by Blandina Tulugarjuk. Illustrations by Toma Feizo Gas. Published by Inhabit Media.
– Three Feathers by Richard Van Camp, translated into South Slavey by Doris Camsell.
Illustrations by K. Mateus. Published by Highwater Press an imprint of Portage and Main.

The English language shortlisted titles in alphabetical order are:
The Case of Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson. Published by Second Story Press.
– Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp. Published by
Douglas & McIntyre.
– Those Who Dwell Below by Aviaq Johnston, illustrations by Toma Feizo Gas. Published by Inhabit Media.

The shortlist was compiled by six Indigenous jury members who have extensive knowledge and understanding of young adult literature, literacy, education, and publishing. “This was an exciting mix of stories “from the past” that are still relevant for today’s reader along with more contemporary stories. We were wowed by the extraordinary writing, engaging content, and powerful life lessons.”

“CODE is thrilled to be able to share the 2019 shortlisted titles. Indigenous language revitalization is a powerful goal that elevates the important link between language, development, and reconciliation,” said Scott Walter, Executive Director, CODE.
The winning books will be announced in 2020. The Indigenous language award winner and translator will share the prize of $6,000.00. The English language winner will receive $6,000 and the Honour prize is $3,000.00 with the third English language book receiving the Honourable mention.
Publishers of the awarded books will be offered a guaranteed purchase of up to 2,500 copies. These books are then distributed to schools, libraries, community and friendships centres across Canada. This guaranteed purchase, combined with a book distribution program, is what makes this award program unique. It ensures that great books make it into the hands of young readers who need them the most, with new titles coming out every year!

Inconvenient Skin
by Shane L. Koyczan
Translation into Cree by Soloman Ratt
Published by Theytus Books
Joseph M. Sanchez (Illustrations),
Jim Logan (Illustrations),
Kent Monkman (Contributor),
Nadya Kwandibens (Photographs)

Inconvenient Skin is a collection of poetry written in English and translated into Cree. The poems aim to unpack the challenges of the dark side of Canada’s history and to clean the wounds so the nation can finally heal. Powerful and thought-provoking, this collection will draw you in and make you reconsider Canada’s colonial legacy. The cover features the art of Kent Monkman, and the interior features work by Joseph Sanchez, a member of the Indian Group of Seven.

Three Feathers
by Richard Van Camp,
translated into South Slavey by Doris Camsell.
Illustrations by K. Mateus.
Published by Highwater Press an imprint of Portage and Main.

Three Feathers explores the power and grace of restorative justice in one Northern community and the cultural legacy that can empower future generations. Written in English and translated into South Slavey by Doris Camsell, Three Feathers tells the story of three young men—Flinch, Bryce, and Rupert who have vandalized their community and are sent by its Elders to live nine months on the land as part of the circle sentencing process. There, the young men learn to take responsibility for their actions and acquire the humility required to return home. But, when they do return, will they be forgiven for what they’ve done?

Those Who Dwell Below
By Aviaq Johnston
Toma Feizo Gas (Illustrator)
Published by Inhabit Media

Those Who Dwell Below is the exciting sequel to Those Who Run in the Sky. Haunted by the vicious creatures of his recent past, Pitu tries to go back to a normal life at home after the other-worldly travels and near-death encounters of his recent disappearance into the world of the spirits. But Pitu knows that there is more work to be done, and more that he must learn in his new role as a shaman.

The Case of Windy Lake
By Michael Hutchinson
Published by Second Story Press

The Case of Windy Lake Book 1 in The Mighty Muskrats Mystery Series The Mighty Muskrats won’t let a mystery go unsolved!
Sam, Otter, Atim, and Chickadee are four inseparable cousins growing up on the Windy Lake First Nation. Nicknamed the Mighty Muskrats for their habit of laughing, fighting, and exploring together, the cousins find that each new adventure adds to their reputation.

Those Who Run in the Sky
by Aviaq Johnston,
translated into Inuktitut by Blandina Tulugarjuk.
Illustrations by Toma Feizo Gas.
Published by Inhabit Media.

Those Who Run in the Sky is a coming-of-age story that follows Pitu, a young shaman who finds himself lost in the world of the spirits. After a strange and violent blizzard leaves Pitu stranded on the sea ice, without his dog team or any weapons to defend himself, he soon realizes that he is no longer in the world that he once knew. The storm has carried him into the world of the spirits, a world populated with terrifying creatures.

Pitu must master all of his shamanic powers to make his way back to the world of the living, to his family, and to the girl that he loves.

Bill Reid Gallery Celebrates Indigenous Feminine Power in Vancouver Premiere of Out of Concealment

Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson sheds light on ancient oral traditions from Haida Gwaii in solo exhibition of photographic collages and mixed media installation

VANCOUVER, BC — Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art presents Out of Concealment from October 23, 2019–April 5, 2020, with an opening celebration on October 22 from 6–8pm. The Vancouver premiere of the solo exhibition by Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson is an innovative reimagining of supernatural beings from the oral traditions of Haida Gwaii. Curated by Beth Carter, in consultation with Nika Collison,

Out of Concealment foregrounds an Indigenous ethos of environmentalism by honouring the power and sexuality of Indigenous women — inherent values that were disrupted and suppressed by colonization. “Out of Concealment reinterprets ancient knowledge for a contemporary audience, introducing new ways of understanding the environment through timeless Indigenous oral traditions and ethnographic writings about supernatural beings,” says Carter, curator of the Bill Reid Gallery. “Traditional Haida beliefs have a balance of male and female forces and emphasize the interconnectedness of all things. Particularly in light of the recent #MeToo movement and the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, this exhibition shares important ancestral wisdoms key to unlocking the violences that have occurred against First Nations peoples.”

The exhibition shares vibrant representations of supernatural beings through photographic collages that combine contemporary fashion trends, traditional face painting from several clans including the artist’s (Gaagyals KiiGawaay, also known as the Skedans clan), and historic locations in Haida Gwaii. Many of the works feature subtle integrations of art by Robert Davidson, as well as Williams-Davidson herself as the subject. Some of the supernatural beings introduced in the exhibition include ‘Laa.a Jaad (Fine Weather Woman), who controls the Northeast Wind and is a Raven, and Jiila Kuns (Volcano Woman), a powerful ancestress of many Eagle lineages of Haida Gwaii.

Out of Concealment first premiered at the Haida Gwaii Museum in 2017, accompanied by an exhibition catalogue and full-colour publication by Heritage House Publishing. The Vancouver premiere will feature new sculptural works, including Plastic Woman, which is made of plastic found on the beaches of Haida Gwaii. The piece builds on the themes of the exhibition, drawing attention to environmental issues. Additional programming includes the book launch of Magical Beings, a new children’s book co-authored by Williams-Davidson and Sara Florence Davidson, on November 2 at 2pm, and the launch of a new oracle deck, Haida Box of Knowledge: Guidance from Supernatural Sisters written by Williams-Davidson and Sharon Blodorn, on November 30 at 2pm.

Williams-Davidson is an artist, musician, writer, and environmental lawyer. Born and raised in Haida Gwaii, she is a recognized keeper of traditions. Her work strives to open new vistas to her audiences rooted in Indigenous world views, Haida language and laws, music and oral traditions. She has helped preserve the legacy of Haida music through the Haida Gwaii Singers Society

Williams Lake Singer Set to Perform At Orange Shirt Event

Sandy Carifelle, will perform songs from his Stand up Proud CD on September 30th in Williams Lake B.C. in support of Residential School Survivors

Country-Rock singer Sandy Carifelle is set to perform songs from his Stand-up Proud CD on September 30 as part of the 2019 Orange Shirt Day events in Williams Lake BC. Orange Shirt Day recognizes residential school victims and survivors. He wrote the CD title’s cover song by the same name about five years ago, but didn’t record it until 2018.

“The lyrics tell of how the kids were taken away from their parents and homes to attend residential schools, and how they couldn’t speak, sing or dance to their culture,” says Carifelle, who was raised on the Peavine Metis Settlement in Northern Alberta and now lives at Williams Lake. “As strong as we are as First Peoples, we still stand up proud no matter what – something our people are known for.”

Carifelle’s father was a residential school survivor. His experience served as motivation for his son to write the song in tribute to all residential school survivors. “Because of his experience in residential schools, my father couldn’t show us affection and never told us he loved us unless he was under the influence,” says Carifelle. “He never did bad things to us, and I don’t recall ever getting a spanking from him.”

Orange Shirt Day was created by Williams Lake BC-native Phyllis Jack Webstad, who was wearing an orange T-shirt the day she was stolen by the government and force-relocated to a residential school. Nuns took
away her orange T-shirt upon her arrival. Hence, Orange Shirt Day.

September 30 is chosen as the date for the annual event because it represents the time of year when Indigenous children were historically taken from their homes and relocated to residential schools.

The show will be recorded and aired on Canadian Geographic TV Channel at a later date.

Blue Rodeo Performs a Stellar Set at the PNE

Jim Cuddy

Blue Rodeo played a 90-minute set before a sold-out crowd of 7,000 enthusiastic fans at the Pacific Northern Exhibition (PNE) Amphitheatre. They performed many of their greatest hits that propelled them to Canadian rock-icon status.

Blue Rodeo emerged in the early 80s and scored their first big hit “Try” at a time when radio airwaves were saturated with glossy hair bands and teen pop stars. “Try” was a huge country-folkish hit in Canada, and since then Blue Rodeo’s lead singers, Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, have traded hit after hit on Canadian radio. 

The band formed in 1984 and are celebrating 35 years playing together. Cuddy once said, “Don’t follow trends; just be who you are.” It seems to have worked as Blue Rodeo has always written and played their own music. They were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2012 joining music giants Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, and Rush. 

Blue Rodeo opened the PNE Summer Night concert series on Saturday August 17th. It was their first appearance at the PNE Amphitheatre. Opening the show, Cuddy sang one of the band’s biggest hits, “Five Days in May,” which was released in 1993 during the Grunge-rock era. It seems that Blue Rodeo just sailed along with good country, rustic, rock, and folk tunes despite all the current hypes and trends of that time. 

Jim Cuddy & Greg Keelor

Cuddy still has the pipes to sing songs like “What am I doing here,” “Piranha Pool” and “Head Over Heels.” I guess it’s true with the old saying, “the older you get, the better you get.” Keelor took centre stage and crooned into the haunting “Diamond Mine,” the band’s 1989 sleeper hit. Keelor sings “Diamond Mine” live so wonderfully that it almost spellbinds the audience. Next up was the up-tempo “C’mon” before the band strummed their way to Bob Dylan’s “I Shall be Released,” which was famously covered by the rock group The Band in their 1976 concert documentary, The Last Waltz. “Dark Angel” was so acoustically wonderful, and Keelor’s vocals made the crowd go “shhhhh!” You could hear a needle drop until the thunderous ovation.

Cuddy then took to his piano to sing “After The Rain” and his blues-like “ooohs” and “aaahs” set the crowd into appreciating what they were listening to. This is what makes Blue Rodeo so good live. 

They know how to get their audience so zoned into their slow songs that when it’s time to pace-up the show, Cuddy tells the audience “Okay it’s time to get off your seats and stand up.” And then the band rips into “You’re Everywhere” from their Casino LP, and Cuddy’s vocals on “Til I Am Myself Again.”  Before their “good-night” teasers, they leave the PNE audience wanting more when Keelor waves and points his microphone toward the audience to sing, “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet,” which is one of Blue Rodeo’s biggest and most recognizable songs.

He brought the entire crowd to its feet to sing along. After eight minutes of the crowd cheering for more, the band emerged from backstage to go into their crowd pleasing encores “Try” and “Lost together.”

If you haven’t seen them yet, then you must see them next time they’re in your town or concrete jungle, and then find out for yourself what we’re all talking about after a Blue Rodeo concert.

Call for Submissions

The CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis  Young Adult – Literature Deadline: August 30, 2019 

The CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature is a Canadian literary award and readership initiative that recognizes excellence in Indigenous-authored literature for young adults (ages 12-18). Starting in 2019, we will also be offering the first ever Canadian Indigenous-language Young Adult Literature award. 

CODE is accepting books written, illustrated and translated by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult for youth in English as well as any Indigenous language from Canada. The submissions can include graphic novels, short story and poetry collections by a single author, hi/lo novels, creative non-fiction, and young adult novels. We are not accepting children’s picture books or non-fiction.  

English-language manuscripts and books published between February 15, 2018 and April 30, 2019 are eligible. 

Indigenous-language manuscripts and books published between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2019 are eligible.  

An English-language and an Indigenous-language YA book will be selected as winners. The winning titles will each be awarded a prize of $6,000.00 CAD.  An English-language Honour book will receive $3,000.00 CAD. Publishers of English-language winning titles (including the Honour book) will be granted a guaranteed purchase of up to 2,500 copies. The publisher of the Indigenous-language book will be granted a guaranteed purchase appropriate to the size of the language community, but not greater than 2,500 copies. The titles will be distributed to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis youth in schools, libraries, friendship centres, literacy and learning programs, and community centers across Canada.

For submission guidelines, eligibility criteria and submission forms, please visit or

For more information, contact, Lynn O’Rourke, Program Manager, Literary Awards & Publishing at 613-2323569 x 244 or by email at

Announcing Native Earth’s 2019/20 Season

TORONTO, ON – Native Earth Performing Arts is proud to announce its 37th season, featuring a dynamic line-up of some of the most remarkable Indigenous voices working in theatre and dance today. Exploring stories of resilience, reclamation, and triumph, Native Earth’s season is a riveting showcase of successive generations of contemporary Indigenous artists. The season includes the recently Dora-nominated playwright Yolanda Bonnell, Dora winner Waawaate Fobister, Christine Friday, and the Governor General Award-nominated Drew Hayden Taylor and Keith Barker, as well as artists from across Turtle Island and Australia at Native Earth’s annual Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival.

“Stories are medicine. Stories are what we do. It’s how we’re built. It’s how we connect with each other, our communities, and our audience. Stories remind us that others have travelled the same roads we have and we are not alone. Which is why we are excited to share this new season of stories with you. Each one embarks on its own unique journey of forgiveness, of resilience against impossible odds, of reclamation and triumph that transcends the injustice and cruelty of the world. It is a season of truth telling, of hearts breaking with lots of giggles in between. So please come join us on the journey. All are welcome.” – Keith Barker, Artistic Director

A Festival of New Performance Works
Presented by Aluna Theatre in partnership with Native Earth
October 3-13, 2019 | Aki Studio & Ada Slaight Hall

CAMINOS are the roads, paths, or life journeys that take us from one place to the next. Now in its third edition, Aluna’s CAMINOS is a biennial curated festival that presents an exciting line-up of new performance experiments on the road to becoming something more. Join local, national, and international guest artists to push the boundaries of theatre, dance, performance art, music, visual arts, installation, and film.

For 2019, CAMINOS adds a special opening weekend presentation by Native Earth of international guest artist Ghenoa Gela (Torres Strait Islands). Mura Buai (Everyone Everyone) showcases Gela’s collaborative journey with local Indigenous artists from Big Medicine Studio to the National Arts Centre to Toronto for final showings at the Aki Studio.

For more information, visit #alunaCAMINOS

Annual Development Festival of Indigenous Work
November 13-23, 2019 | Aki Studio

Taking place over two weeks in Native Earth’s Aki Studio, the 32nd annual Weesageechak festival welcomes emerging, mid-career, and established artists from across Turtle Island and Australia to develop and showcase contemporary Indigenous theatre, dance and multi-disciplinary creations. The festival offers audiences an opportunity to experience the richness and diversity of contemporary Indigenous performance. Full artist line-up will be announced on August 1, 2019, followed by a full schedule on September 2, 2019.

Native Earth and Buddies in Bad Times partner once again to present an exciting evening of the 2-Spirit Cabaret as part of Weesageechak festival. A celebration of the strength, beauty, and talent of queer and 2-Spirit Indigenous people, the Cabaret features music, dance, drag, spoken word, and comedy, curated by award winning 2-Spirit theatre artist Michaela Washburn. Sold out for three years in a row, the fourth edition of the Cabaret will be held on Saturday November 16, 2019 at The Chamber, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

The Festival Pass is valid for all Aki Studio performances and is currently on sale at Single tickets for the 2-Spirit Cabaret are on sale at

Written & Directed by Keith Barker
Produced by Native Earth 
January 26-February 9, 2020| Aki Studio

Meet Lucille, Paul, Liset, and Jim. Best friends, sisters, spouses – stumbling in the dark one year after a tragic loss. They struggle to find each other again, when a mysterious fox shows up with a curious gift. Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, This Is How We Got Here is a complex and hopeful story of letting go.

2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama FINALIST

“…nothing short of breath catching” – My Entertainment World
“Entirely relatable, heart-wrenchingly frank, and dazzlingly honest.” – Tara Beagan, co-founder of ARTICLE 11

Written & Performed by Yolanda Bonnell
Directed by Cole Alvis | Dramaturgy by Yvette Nolan
manidoons collective co-presented by Theatre Passe Muraille and Native Earth
February 7-22, 2020| Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace

The Girl grapples with the obstacles on her path to adulthood. She clings to anything that gives her comfort. As her power grows, so too does Manidoons*, devouring her from the inside. Her struggle to overcome these challenges fuses movement, poetry, and music in a brilliant Dora-nominated performance by Yolanda Bonnell. *Ojibway for bug, insect, or worm.

2019 Dora Mavor Moore Award NOMINATIONS: Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role, and Outstanding Lighting Design

“A riveting solo show” – NOW Magazine
“…the heart and gut wrenching, powerfully beautiful piece…an excellent physical performance.” – Canadian Theatre Review

Choreography & Performance by Waawaate Fobister
Direction & Dramaturgy by Troy Emery Twigg
Co-presented by Native Earth and Theatre Passe Muraille – World Premiere
April 2-5 2020 | Aki Studio

The Anishinaabe of Grassy Narrows are resilient. They are stitching their fractured landscapes back together from the impact of mercury poisoning.

Using dance, movement, sound, and storytelling, the Dora-award winning Waawaate Fobister embodies Omaagomaan, a two-spirit being, and a manifestation of the earth and man-made poisons that have seeped into the earth’s crust. A fierce shape-shifter inspired by Anishinaabe mythology, Omaagomaan forces us to reckon with the ways the maanaadizi (ugly) and the onizhishi (beautiful) collide.

“Fobister is a dynamic, engaging performer, and you owe it to yourself to listen to his story.” – Mooney on Theatre

Concept, Choreography & Performance by Christine Friday
Featuring: Penny Couchie, Waawaate Fobister, and Beany John
Dramaturgy by Robert Desrosiers
Co-produced by Friday Creeations and Native Earth – Toronto Premiere
April 16-19, 2020 | Aki Studio

Maggie & Me honours the legacy of women as healers in our communities. Through her ancestral gifts and experiences, the dancer receives a contemporary healing dance. Travelling through dimensional realms of existence – spirit, dream, and present – we are invited into the dancer’s journey of healing and revitalization of the Anishinaabe culture. With a movement style that is free, lyrical and explosive, she walks into her own power.

Created by Christine Friday, the recipient of the 2018 K.M. Hunter Award for Dance, this breathtaking immersive performance shares the story of how a healing dance can strengthen communities.

“The stage was alive with a resurgence of culture and dancing with ancestors.” – Anishinabek News

Written by Drew Hayden Taylor
Directed by Jim Millan
Produced by Native Earth – Toronto Premiere
April 26-May 10, 2020 | Aki Studio

Bobby Rabbit has some unfinished business with Canada’s first prime minister. He convinces his friend Hugh to accompany him on a “sojourn of justice” to dig up the bones of Sir John A and hold them ransom. When Bobby learns that his grandfather’s medicine bundle lies moldering in a British museum, taken long ago from him at residential school, he enlists his friends to secure a bargaining chip and execute a heist so epic in scale none of them may ever see the light of day again.

Multi-award winning Ojibway playwright Drew Hayden Taylor serves up an uproariously funny and sharply inquisitive new play exploring the possibility of reconciliation while urgently questioning past and contemporary forms of Canadian colonialism.

“A smart, punchy story that’s bolstered by sharp satire, a quirky musical score…and a refreshing dose of humour.” – Ottawa Citizen

The 19th Annual Youth-Led Performing Arts Festival
Produced by Paprika Festival in partnership with Native Earth
May 25-31, 2020 | Aki Studio
For the fifth year running, Paprika Festival is partnering with Native Earth to present the 19th annual youth-led performing arts festival. Following a year of professional theatre training and mentorship programs, Paprika Festival showcases creations from the next generation for one full week in Aki Studio.

Paprika programs are free of cost for participants and offer exceptional training in playwriting, performing, directing, producing, collective creation, and design and arts administration. Through the support of Native Earth and other industry partners, Paprika Festival launched the Indigenous Arts Program in 2017 to support and present work by young Indigenous artists. Previous artists include Theresa Cutknife, Cole Forrest, Pesch Nepoose, Joelle Peters, and Jesse Wabegijig. For more information, visit


Theatre Package (This Is How We Got Here | Sir John A) $45 (incl. HST)
Dance Package (Omaagomaan Maggie & Me) $45 (incl. HST)
Season Bundle (This Is How We Got Here | Sir John A | Omaagomaan | Maggie & Me) $80 (incl. HST)

Single tickets for 2019/20 performances range from PWYC to $38.00, with discounts available for students, seniors and arts workers, and will be on sale Fall 2019. Single tickets for BUG will be on sale at

Weesageechak Festival Pass $60 (incl. HST). Discounted rate of $50 is available until October 20, 2019. The Festival Pass is valid for all Aki Studio festival performances. Single tickets to the 2-Spirit Cabaret are on sale at

Call Aki Studio Box Office at 416-531-1402 ext. 34, or purchase online at

Emily Carr University Presents Honorary Doctorates to Esteemed Art and Design Leaders: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun and Terry Irwin

Vancouver, BC – Two internationally revered leaders in North America’s art and design community will be recognized for their inimitable contributions to the fields of contemporary art and transition design by Emily Carr University this spring. Contemporary Canadian artist of Coast Salish and Okanagan descent and ECU alum Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun and Head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University Terry Irwin will be awarded with Honorary Doctorates at ECU’s convocation ceremony on May 4, 2019 at 1pm. In addition, Vancouver Island artist/activist and ECU alum Marianne Nicolson will receive ECU’s Emily Award, which honours outstanding achievements by university alumni.

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun

“It is our great honour and privilege at Emily Carr University to publicly recognize the immense contributions to the fields of contemporary art and design made by these three individuals as dynamic artists, innovative designers, and compelling advocates,” says Gillian Siddall, ECU’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “As provocative leaders in their respective fields, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun, Terry Irwin, and Marianne Nicolson embody the spirit and purpose of Emily Carr University — making a bold and lasting impact on creative practice and cultural engagement, thereby inspiring and informing the facilitation of future thought leaders and change makers.”

Lauded for artistic works that are at once challenging, political, confrontational, and playful, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun will be presented with an Honorary Doctor of Letters for his artistic creations, activism, and unique and persistent voice for change. A painter, sculptor, virtual reality and performance artist, Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltunhas spent the past three decades exploring issues of colonization, politics, and the environment.

He graduated from Emily Carr University in 1983 with an honours degree in painting and uses surrealism, formline, ovoid forms and neon-bright colours to compel viewers to examine issues through a different lens. Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun’swork has been displayed in many international group and solo exhibitions, including the National Gallery of Canada. In 2016, Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology presented Unceded Territories, a hugely successful retrospective exhibition spanning his expansive 30-year art career.

A highly accomplished designer, professor, and faculty head at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, artistic innovator Terry Irwin will be presented with an Honorary Doctor of Letters for her considerable and influential contributions to the field of design education. With a design background in corporate identity and branding, Irwin has been teaching at the university level since 1986, with faculty positions at numerous esteemed design institutions in the United States and Scotland. In 1992, she became a partner and creative director with international design firm MetaDesign, one of the leading design firms in the world. Toward the end of her time at MetaDesign, she began to see links between the things she was designing and many of the larger problems in the world, which prompted her to shift her career trajectory entirely, in 2001.

Undertaking a Master’s Degree in Holistic Science at Schumacher College, an international centre for ecological studies, her approach to thinking about and teaching design fundamentally shifted, leading to her current position at Carnegie Mellon, where she led a three-and-a-half-year process with faculty to place design for society and the environment at the heart of all curricula. She is now on the leading edge of Transition Design, an exciting and impactful new area of design study, practice and research that argues for societal transition toward more sustainable futures, calling upon the need for openness, mindfulness and collaboration in design. 

A 1996 Emily Carr University graduate and member of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations, Vancouver Island-based artist and advocate Marianne Nicolson will be presented with the Emily Award, an annual honour to acknowledge outstanding achievements by distinguished university alumni. An internationally exhibited artist and outspoken advocate for Indigenous land rights, Nicolson explores traditional Northwest Coast artistic expressions through contemporary media. Her multi-disciplinary practice encompasses photography, painting, carving, video, installation, writing and speaking.

Exhibited in the 17th Biennale of Sydney, Australia, Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Museum of the American Indian in New York, Nuit Blanche in Toronto, and many others, many of Nicolson’s works are monumental in size and scope. Her public artworks are currently on display around the world, in the Vancouver International Airport, the Canadian Embassy in Amman, Jordan and the Canadian Embassy in Paris, France.

In celebration of ECU’s 2019 graduating students, members of the public are invited to experience The Show at Emily Carr at ECU (520 E 1st Ave), on from May 4-19, 2019 from 10am to 8pm on weekdays and from 10am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The Show features artworks by more than 300 graduating Design, Visual Arts and Media Arts students, and installations will be exhibited throughout the entirety of ECU’s campus, offering unprecedented access to the building’s interior spaces. Free to the public, the art show features several ancillary events, including:

Opening Night Party

Friday, May 3 from 5pm to 10pm

Premiere Screening of Graduate Films

Sunday, May 5

2pm to 5:30pm — Film + Screen Arts graduates

7pm to 10pm — 2D + Experimental Animation and 3D Computer Animation graduates

Best of Animation + Film/Video Showcase + Reception

Wednesday, May 8 from 6pm to 9pm

For a full listing of all ECU events and artists, visit

About Emily Carr University of Art and Design (

Emily Carr University of Art + Design is a world leader in education and research. Encouraging experimentation at the intersections of art, design, media and technology, Emily Carr merges studio practice, research and critical theory in an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment. Founded in Vancouver in 1925 and situated on traditional, unceded Coast Salish territory, the university has nearly 2,000 students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs, and thousands more taking workshops, certificate programs and individual courses. Their faculty and alumni are internationally recognized as award-winning creators and thought leaders who have significant impact on both the cultural sector and the economy.

Call For Applications: CSV/imagineNATIVE Residency: New Opportunity for Enhanced Support for Projects-in-Progress

Deadline: April 26, 2019.

imagineNATIVE is accepting applications for the annual Charles Street Video/imagineNATIVE Residency professional development commission program for Greater Toronto and Hamilton-Area based Indigenous filmmakers.

The eighth iteration of the annual Residency provides a mid-career artist support and skills development with new video-making technology which for THIS YEAR ONLY enhances the completion of a current production with a commitment to be completed for the 20th anniversary imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, October 22-26, 2019!

Past Recipients include Jennifer Dysart, Cara Mumford and most recently Jonathan Elliot for Her Water Drum (2018).

This program offers the opportunity to enhance a current project create a short film (5-10min) using the in-kind and monetary resources of each partnering artist-run centre, plus a $1,000 CAD bursary, along with mentorship support.

Eligible applicants must adhere to imagineNATIVE’s Artistic and Programming Policies.

Full listings for the individual programs with the partner organizations are listed below:

Charles Street Video (Toronto)

For more information and application details, click here.