Browsing: Indigenous

André Dudomaine, director and founding member (1990) of the Montreal First Peoples Festival, sees the event as one the most strongly rooted First Nations resistance movements in North America. Last winter, Dudomaine was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Faculté des arts et des sciences of the Université de Montréal. The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec has awarded the Droits et Libertés award to the festival, known in French as Présence Autochtone. Its three founders received the Meritorious Service Cross, an honour conferred on those whose contribution to Canadian society proves…

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First Nations theatre company Ondinnok was the first in Quebec to offer a new means of dramatic expression to its community. “Ondinnok” is a Huron word referring to a theatrical healing ritual that unveils the secret desire of the soul. Born in the urgent environment of cultural reconstruction, Ondinnok aims to reconquer an imaginary land of dreams as well as to repatriate memories in order to see the future. Since its first production, Le Porteur des peines du monde (1984), Ondinnok has taken us through three great circles of creation; the mythological theater, the healing theater and a theater exploring…

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A choreographer and multidisciplinary artist of Ojie-Cree and Mennonite origin who has been recognized as a human-rights activist by the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, Lara Kramer works with an awareness of the brutal relations between Indigenous people and colonial society. Kramer is a professor at the Indigenous Dance Residency at the Banff Centre. Her work addresses scars resulting from cultural genocide. Fragment (2009) is inspired by her mother’s stories about the Canadian residential schools; Native Girl Syndrome (2013) addresses the internal trauma of Indigenous women. Windigo (FTA-2018 + CNA 2019) is a work in which traumas are externalized through various…

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Contemporary Indigenous culture has been flourishing in Montreal of late. Theatre is by no means an exception to the rule. Émilie Monnet is one of several actor-performers at the forefront of this revival. The work she does has shed much light on a host of artistic practices, both locally and beyond. Among other things, she has encouraged artists active in different communities to meet and work together. She contends that the future of Indigenous art is promising because Montreal is becoming “a real hub,” one that draws artists from all fields like a magnet. Nowadays, Monnet directs Productions Onishka, a…

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Joséphine Bacon is a major ambassador for Innu culture and a committed author, narrator and producer on the Indigenous arts scene. She gives a tremendous voice to her territory and inhabitants in few words. Territory: Centrepiece for Poetry “My wealth is called a salmon, my wealth is called a caribou, my fire is called a black spruce…” Ma richesse s’appelle [My wealth is called] highlights the importance of territory in Joséphine Bacon’s works, a vision deeply etched in the Indigenous mind; each life is related to the earth in which we live, where everyone must live harmoniously. Bacon hails from…

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Musique nomade promotes emerging Indigenous musicians from Quebec and Canada regardless of style or nation while seeking fair cultural representation within the music industry. Supporting talented and vigorous emerging artists, this non-profit organization has a positive impact on professional development production and workshops in communities. The organization also wishes to ensure the survival of traditional music through digital media and to encourage cultural exchange. Like the professionals from Wapikoni mobile, created in 2011 by film director and activist Manon Barbeau, Music nomade’s professionals visit communities in remote areas to meet their young people. How do they achieve this? The directors’…

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The powwow is among the most vivacious cultural practices of the North American Indigenous community. A collective activity, it also has a socio-political aspect. The combination makes the powwow (also spelt “pow-wow” and “pow wow”) an excellent path to arrive at an understanding of Indigenous relational identity – and a platform from which to watch First Nations make their stand. Be aware that at the end of the processions, there are drum circles and traditional dances. Catchy rhythms from groups like A Tribe Called Red take all the space. This trio’s two last albums were part of the Polaris lists.…

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The awards ceremony of the Indigenous Music Awards is a celebration of First Nations creativity. It is also an important event in the larger program of the Manito Ahbee Festival of Winnipeg, which is named after a sacred site for all peoples in the west part of the Whiteshell area of Manitoba. In Ojibwe, Manito Ahbee means “the place where the Creator sits.” The name of Manitoba finds its origin in this special place. The Manito Ahbee Festival, whose 13th edition just ended, celebrates Indigenous arts, music and culture at large. It presents international powwows, a conference on international Indigenous…

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Now residing in Montreal, Inuit singer-songwriter, film director and activist Elisapie will release The Ballad of the Runway Girl at the end of summer. About 30 concerts are already planned in connection with this new album. Elisapie launches her cross-province tour in Lavaltrie and travels to Val-d’Or. Montreal welcomes her on Sept. 27. Elisapie’s fourth album was inspired by the life of Willie Thrasher, an Inuit singer. “Sent to a residential school in the south, deprived of his language and traditional lifestyle, Willie Thrasher did not have an easy life, but this fighter gave me force and influenced my work,”…

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Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is a trailblazer, the first Indigenous musician to come to prominence in Canada. Her first album, It’s My Way!, was released by Vanguard Records in 1964. Last November, Medicine Songs, her 19th album, was released to critical acclaim. It contains some new material, like You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind), in which she is joined on vocals by well-known throat singer Tanya Tagaq. Almost all the other songs have new arrangements. Overall, Sainte-Marie continues to have a remarkable career, enriched (although commercially hindered at one point) by her educator/outreach work and activism on behalf of…

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