Buffy Sainte-Marie was a graduating college senior in 1962
and hit the ground running in the early the Sixties, after
the beatniks and before the hippies. All alone she toured
North America's colleges, reservations and concert halls,
meeting both huge acclaim and huge misperception from audiences
and record companies who expected Pocahontas in fringes, and
instead were both entertained and educated with their initial
dose of Native American reality in the first person.
By age 24, Buffy Sainte-Marie had appeared all over Europe,
Canada, Australia and Asia, receiving honors, medals and awards
which continue to this day. Her song "Until It's Time
for You to Go" was recorded by Elvis and Barbra and Cher,
and her "Universal Soldier" became the anthem of
the peace movement. For her very first album she was voted
Billboard's Best New Artist.
She disappeared suddenly from the mainstream American airwaves
during the Lyndon Johnson years. As part of a blacklist which
affected Eartha Kitt, Taj Mahal and a host of other outspoken
performers, her name was included on White House stationery
as among those whose music "deserved to be suppressed".
In Indian country and abroad, however, her fame only grew.
She continued to appear at countless grassroots concerts,
AIM events and other activist benefits. She made 17 albums
of her music, three of her own television specials, spent
five years on Sesame Street, scored movies, helped to found
Canada's 'Music of Aboriginal Canada' JUNO category, raised
a son, earned a Ph.D. in Fine Arts, taught Digital Music as
adjunct professor at several colleges, and won an Academy
Award Oscar for the song "Up Where We Belong".
Buffy Sainte-Marie virtually invented the role of Native
American international activist pop star. Her concern for
protecting indigenous intellectual property, and her distaste
for the exploitation of Native American artists and performers
has kept her in the forefront of activism in the arts for
forty years. Presently she operates the Nihewan Foundation
for Native American Education whose Cradleboard Teaching Project
serves children and teachers in eighteen states.
Born in Sudbury, ON to Peruvian parents, Patricia took to
the stage very young as a dancer, becoming a founding
member of "Earthdancers" as well as "The Hispanic
Breezes", two local non-profit dance companies, by the
age of 10!
In her teens, she performed in two local theatre productions
and thus became interested in the acting profession.
Patricia attended the University of Toronto where she studied
theatre and met two very important theatre artists who
influenced her professional career. The first is Tomson Highway.
In 2000, Patricia played the role of Emily Dictionary
in the University College Drama Program's world premiere production
of ROSE! Since then, Patricia and Tomson have
travelled the world performing a cabaret of his stories and
of his songs. The second great influence in her life is Jean-Jacques
Lemêtre, musician for Le Théâtre du Soleil
in Paris, France. Through him, Patricia was invited to work
with the company under
the direction of one of the world's leading theatre directors,
Ariane Mnouchkine. Spending four years in Paris, Patricia
toured the world over,
playing major theatre festivals from New York all the way
to Melbourne. Along the way, she also studied traditional
arts - singing and drumming - at the University of Traditional
Arts in Seoul, as well as participated in two Korean World
Since returning home to Sudbury, ON - her home base - in
May of 2007, Patricia has produced several highly successful
while working towards building intimate ties with exceptional
local jazz musicians! She performed at the Sudbury Northern
Lights Festival Boreal in 2007 and, very recently had the
privilege of performing alongside the Quarrington brothers!
In 2007/2008, Patricia spent six months in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil, performing with many different musical artists.
Currently, her main artistic collaborator is a Brazilian guitarist
by the name of Carlos Bernardo with whom Patricia is songwriting
and fine crafting a beautiful musical relationship! Together
they perform traditional songs from Peru, Brazil, Korea and
beyond, drawing on
their respective cultures and their vast travel experiences
(both worked and toured with Le Théâtre du Soleil!)
as well as their own original creations.
Tomson Highway is the son of legendary caribou hunter and
world championship dogsled racer, Joe Highway. Born in a tent
pitched in a snow bank -- in December! - just south of the
Manitoba/Nunavut border (near Saskatchewan), he now, for a
living, writes novels, plays, and music. Of the many works
he has written to date, his best known are the plays, "THE
REZ SISTERS," "DRY LIPS OUGHTA MOVE TO KAPUSKASING,"
"ROSE," "ERNESTINE SHUSWAP GETS HER TROUT,"
and the best-selling novel, "KISS OF THE FUR QUEEN."
For many years, he ran Canada's premiere Native theatre company,
Native Earth Performing Arts (out of Toronto), out of which
has emerged an entire generation of professional Native theatre
artists (actors, playwrights, etc.). He has, as well, three
children's books to his credit, all written bilingually in
Cree (his mother tongue) and English. He divides his year
equally between a cottage in northern Ontario (near Sudbury)
and an apartment in the south of France, at both of which
locales he is currently at work on his second novel.
Lori Blondeau is a performance artist and is based in Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan, Canada. She completed her MFA at the University
of Saskatchewan. She is also a co-founder and the current
director of Canada's most innovative and exciting aboriginal
arts organization, TRIBE.
Lori's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.
She remounted her performance "We Want to be Just Like
Barbie That Bitch has Everything" for the group exhibition,
The People's Plastic Princess , at The Walter Phillips Gallery
in Banff, Canada (1998). Her most recent work was includes
collaboration with artist James Luna and Bradlee LaRocque
on a series of installations and a performance titled Dead
Fall Revue . This work was presented at the Institute for
American Indian Art (IAIA), Santa Fe, NM, in 2001. Her current
work is a series of three performance based on memory, home,
displacement and decolonization. In September (2002) she presented
a performance in Milan, Italy for the exhibition Americas
Adrian A. Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot)
Nation in southern Alberta. After obtaining a BFA with distinction
from the Alberta College of Art & Design, he moved to
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to begin a MFA program at the University
of Saskatchewan where his thesis will include ideas of identity,
physics, two spirited people, ecology and spiritual healing
through the aboriginal art movement.
Adrian returned to school after serving eight years as Tribal
Councilor for the Siksika Nation, he also served as President
for the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centers
based in Ottawa. He has been a board member for the Alberta
Human Rights, Citizenship, and Multiculturalism Education
Fund Advisory Committee, AIDS Calgary, Calgary Aboriginal
Arts Awareness Society and the John Howard Society. He received
the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in June 2003 for
outstanding work within various communities.
Elaine Bomberry is from Six Nations on the Grand River in
Ontario. As a freelance Aboriginal arts activist/promoter/radio
producer, Elaine has worked on many projects in film, video,
television, radio, music, theatre, and now wants to expand
into new media.
Working full-time in the Aboriginal arts scene for fourteen
years, as a general manager, publicist, promoter, and with
her mother was partner of an Aboriginal talent agency, All
Nations Talent Group, for six years. She also helped create
the Best Music of Aboriginal Canada recording category for
the JUNO Awards, and was the first chairperson. Elaine also
served in many arts boards and arts council juries over this
Elaine was a volunteer producer/host of her own radio show
called Aboriginal Airwaves on CKRZ-FM for eight years. The
show focused on contemporary Aboriginal music and arts. She
hopes to syndicate this show, and hopefully over the Internet
in the very near future.
Missy Knott is singer of Aboriginal heritage from Peterborough,
Ontario. Missy's music is a roots influenced pop/rock sound.
She began her journey as a young girl acting on big stages,
performing at school functions and recording her very first
pop cover when she turned 12 years old. Missy started living
her dream when she got the role of the lead singer in the
band, Fusion, where she met her current songwriter, Sam Ferguson.
Ferguson also plays guitar and sings backing vocals for all
of Missy's music. Currently Missy Knott is recording her first
debut C.D, "For No Reason At All...", to be released
May 15th 2009.
Sarah DeCarlo is an Ojibway filmmaker/musician and community
arts and access advocate. Her films have screened at Optic
Nerve, Image+Nation, Imaginenative and Weeneebeg Film Festivals.
She has had a wide range of experiences working in First
Nations communities in various capacities. For nine years
she has worked with the Cree Nation of Wemindji located in
Northern Quebec completing various contracts including proposal
development, community development and as a youth arts and
She was the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator at the Centre
for Indigenous Theatre and has worked by contract with the
Department of Canadian Heritage as well as the Laidlaw Foundation.
Sarah is an Ontario Arts Council grant recipient and has
carried out several youth based video workshops in Toronto,
Peterborough as well as in remote communities. She has continuously
worked by contact producing short promotional films for various
grassroots organizations. She has also multiple experiences
as a juror on grant selection committees.
In 2006/07 she worked with Isuma Distribution International
on their Indigenous Film Network Initiative assisting in the
coordination of a large scale tour of First Nations communities
in Quebec and Ontario. She also attended the tour delivering
workshops and film screenings in 6 communities.
Sarah has a wide range of video production and post-production
skills and possesses her own gear. She specializes in teaching
video skills in many communities working most closely with
Sarah studied Native and Political Studies at Trent University
while having also completed the Canadian Film and Television
Production Association's Aboriginal Producer Training Program
with the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto in 2005/06.
Christian lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Some of these pieces
are of snippets of memory, of my grandfather telling me things,"
Chapman says, describing his silk-screened and painted work.
"Some of the stories are funny to me. They are all real
stories - not legends. They are all incidents that have happened
before." Chapman credits the freedom he had while creating
art as a child and his family influences for his artistic
abilities. "I've been doing crafty art stuff all my life,"
Chapman says. "My whole family is good at art as well."
Chapman produced this group of work over the past 10 months
through an Ontario Arts Council grant; for his next project,
he plans to shoot a film in the spring featuring a residential
school story about his father and uncle. "They left when
they were really young,"
Chapman says. "I'm going to shoot a short story on their
Jean Marshall is an aboriginal from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib
Inninuwug, known as Big Trout Lake First Nation, located approximately
450km northeast of Sioux Lookout Ontario and is accessible
by air. Jean has lived in Thunder Bay most of her adult life.
She graduated from the Port Arthur Collegiate Institute, and
went on to Trent University in Peterborough Ontario, to complete
a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honors Program) Department of Native
Studies and finally attended Confederation College in Thunder
Bay to complete an Aboriginal Women in Skilled Trades (Welding).
Jean now focuses her talent in a wide array of intricate
beadwork; her work includes small framed designs, such as
floral patterns, feathers, butterflies and animal designs.
She also does chair caning, stained glass, woodwork and most
recently created her own greeting cards and silk-screened
t-shirts and sweatshirts.
Brock Stonefish, a 22 year old member of the Delaware First
Nation, recently opened for B.B. King, which anyone would
agree is a pretty good stepping stone on the way to establishing
a career singing the blues. Playing rhythm and slide guitar,
Brock started in music as a Powwow singer before noticing
the similarity between Native and Blues Music. Though he took
up the blues on a whim, Brock is a bright new talent who impressed
Gary Farmer has been an actor for 33 years in such films
as POWWOW HIGHWAY, DEAD MAN, THE SCORE, SMOKE SIGNALS and
spent years on stage in the theatre primarily in Toronto,
Ontario. Farmer has been a harp player since a teenager and
matured into a jammer with bands in towns across Canada and
the United States. His influences include John Lee Hooker,
Howlin' Wolf, BB King, Etta James, Jesse Ed Davis, Little
Walter, Charlie Musselwhite, Dr. John, Willie Dixon and Taj
Mahal. But as a Native American--Cayuga of the Six Nations
Confederacy-most influential were the many blues players of
his own Native community such as Sid Hill, Faron John and
Derek Miller. "The Iroquois Confederacy is composed of
the Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca and the Tuscarora
who were in the fields when the African slave trade arrived
in America," said Farmer. "The blues is Native-American
influenced, too, and I'm digging deep to expose those roots.
It's our music, our common history."
Ottawa-based media artist Ehren Bear Witness Thomas has been
producing short experimental video works for over six years.
Bear was the recipient of the Golden Cherry Award for Video
Artist of the Year 2008. His video "BrokeDickDog"
was included in the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography
exhibition Stealing the Gaze: Portraits of Aboriginal Artists
curated by Andrea Kunard and Steven Loft hosted by the National
Gallery of Canada. Bear was commissioned by ImagiNATIVE in
partnership with the Goepthe Institute and the National Gallery
of Canada to produce a video for the Culture Shock screening
at the 2008 ImagiNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival. Bear's
video "The story Apanatschi and Her Red Headed Wrestler"
was screened at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival.
In the Summer of 2008, Bear exhibited two new videos as part
of Drive By: A Road Trip with Jeff Thomas at The University
of Toronto Art Centre. Bear's current projects include producing
a new video installation in preparation for the exhibition
Home Land and Security at Render Gallery in Waterloo (2009)
curated Jeff Thomas. Recently, he co-founded a Native DJ collective
that hosts a monthly event, Electric Pow Wow.
Born in St. Marys, Ontario, Kent Monkman is an artist of
Cree ancestry who works with a variety of mediums, including
painting, film/video, performance and installation. He has
had solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Walter
Phillips Gallery, and the Indian Art Centre, and has participated
in various international group exhibitions including: "We
come in peace..." Histories of the Americas, at the Musee
d'art contemporain de Montreal, and The American West , at
Compton Verney, in Warwickshire, England. Monkman has created
site specific performances at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection,
and at Compton Verney, UK, and has also made super 8 mm versions
of these performances that he calls "Colonial Art Space
Interventions". His award-winning short film and video
works have been screened at various national and international
festivals, including Sundance, Berlin, and the Toronto International
Film Festival. His work is represented in the collections
of the National Gallery of Canada, Montreal Museum of Fine
Arts, Museum London, The Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Woodland
Cultural Centre, the Indian Art Centre, and the Canada Council
Art Bank. A solo exhibition of his work was mounted by the
Art Gallery of Hamilton in the summer of 2007 and will tour
to museums across Canada including Art Gallery of Victoria,
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and the Winnipeg Art
Both design and content are equally important in my work.
I enjoy exploring colour, texture and shape- constructing
with paint. Incorporating found objects- craft items may support
humour in the work, but also honours the craftswomen in my
family. The content often deals with family history, issues
of identity, politics, and the environment. There is a narrative
element evident. Aboriginal culture is an oral tradition and
in my art, I can relate and interpret the stories passed down
to me by my grandmother.
Glenna Matoush's work connects all of us to the land, often
referencing traditional /anishinaabe /knowledge (as seen in
her use of the Peterborough Petroglyphs) as an important way
for understanding the contemporary world for all of us.
Glenna Matoush works with materials, texture and colour in
a way that combines the influence of traditional Native crafts,
sensitivity to light, colour and movement. Also a printmaker
sculptor, Glenna's art has been exhibited locally and internationally
and is in private, corporate and museum collections. Her work
has been from Russia, the Canadian Canadian Embassy in Guatemala
and Italy to France and many places closer to home.
Glenna has won a Quebec Cultural Affairs Honour and has had
her work included in several publications. The Cree Youth
can be inspired by Glenna's art through the murals she has
painted at the Ouje-Bougoumou community school.
A professional artist for over twenty-five years, Glenna
become well known within the Cree communities as well as across
Canada, the United States and in Europe. Glenna lived for
in Mistissini and tells how her research on traditional native
ceremonies and art helped her to gain a view of their role
cultural reinforcement and on native identity. She incorporated
knowledge into her work both abstractly and figuratively through
use of traditional materials such as birch bark, porcupine
moose and caribou hair, bones beads as well as sweet grass
and cedar on paper, canvas and denim with both acrylic and
oils. This, in turn, unites her art to tradition; working
with materials in a creative way is inseparable from lifestyle.
Ms. Alice Olsen Williams lives on Curve Lake. She is best
known for her unique quilted textile works that blend expressions
beliefs and ideology with reflections on contemporary social
In her unique quilted textile works that blend expressions
of Anishinaabe beliefs and ideology with reflections on contemporary
social issues. Her distinctive style is grounded in the traditional
skills of beadwork and sewing of the /anishinaabe/ people
unique symbols and themes of their culture.
Norman was born of Ojibwe parents on the Curve lake Reserve.
He lived there all of his life, hunting, fishing, trapping,
guiding and doing
his art work. Norman's intimate knowledge of nature, his familiarity
with Ojibwe myths, legends and history are executed in his
art work in an Ojibwe art form. As a self-taught artist, Norman's
the traditional stories of the /anishinaabe/ from the Curve
Jimson's inspiration comes from the Peterborough Petroglyphs,
the story of the /anishinaabe/ trickster /nanaaboozhoo/ as
lessons and stories. Jimson creates one of a kind jewelry
recycled silver in the form of forks, spoons, knives; and
from his own unique collection acquired over the years. His
work combines traditional mediums such as bone and turquoise
discarded modern materials. Jimson takes inspiration from
the traditional ways that respectfully uses all materials
from mother earth and seeks to create objects that keep the
stories alive, motivate us to learn the culture and realize
that Aboriginal people are not relics of an ancient past.
Painting since his early 20's David's style has traversed
His latest is an indepth exploration of the ancient drawings
petroglyphs known as the Teaching Rocks. Active in his community
Curve Lake First Nation and a member of council, David's paintings
reflect a great care for his traditional past as well as the
future of his people.
Michael Belmore was born in 1971 north of Thunder Bay and
graduated with an A.O.C.A. in Sculpture/Installation from
the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, Ontario in 1994. Belmore's
materials are key to his work and bring into account how we
view nature as commodity. For several years his work has evolved
around our use of technology and how it has affected our relationship
to the environment. Previous
exhibitions have included First Nations Art at the Woodland
Centre, Brantford, Ontario (1992), Naked State at the Power
Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront, Toronto, Ontario
Staking Land Claims at the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff,
(1997), lichen at the Toronto Sculpture Garden (1998), and
Point at Sacred Circle Art Gallery, Seattle, Washington (2002).
well, Belmore has shown with several artist-run-centres and
collectives across Canada and created site-specific public
installations for Thunder Bay Art Gallery, University of Western
Ontario in London and for the City of Peterborough. A member
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Belmore's work is represented
in the permanent and private collections.
Neal McLeod is a multimedia artist with a wide range of talents.
a painter, poet, academic, writer and former member of the
troupe the Bionic Bannock Boys. McLeod has an MA in Philosophy
the University of Saskatchewan, and received his PhD in Canadian
Plains Studies from the University of Regina in 2004. He now
Peterborough, Ontario, where he is an associate professor
Department of Indigenous Studies at Trent University. A member
of the James Smith Cree First Nation of northern Saskatchewan,
McLeod draws heavily on his Aboriginal ancestry for creative
Dr. Marlene Brant Castellano
Trailblazing is an exacting process. The course needs to
be plotted minutely so those that followers miss the wrong
turns and dead ends that might prevent completion of their
journey. Trailblazing demands a requisite courage, aplomb,
and resiliency. Dr. Marlene Brant Castellano is a trailblazer.
When she retired in July of 1996, she left behind a body of
work and accomplishment that blazed the way to university
careers for Aboriginal scholars. Through the power of her
example and effort, the 60-year-old Mohawk has increased the
presence of Aboriginal curriculum, knowledge, and students
on campuses in the United States and Canada. She was the first
Aboriginal full professor in a Canadian university when she
joined the Faculty of Native Studies at Trent University in
1971 and she received her Ph.D. in Educational Theory from
the University of Toronto in 1981. She served as Chairman
of the Department of Native Studies at Trent University from
1978 to 1980 and in 1992 began work as Co-Director of Research
for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Her expertise
in First Nations family and mental health, social services,
Aboriginal womens perspectives, and indigenous knowledge
is sought by universities, professional bodies, and community
organisations in Canada and around the world. She received
the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Education for
her dedication to the development of Aboriginal curriculum
and filling Canadian campuses with an Aboriginal presence
Drea has been an artist her whole life and recently developed
her craft as a singer songwriter upon moving to peterborough
in 1999. It was the Indigenous Studies program @ Trent University
that drew her here, an unstoppable blood memory and connection
drew her in. She has written and recorded 8 independent albums
and toured Canada and the EU. Drea is humbled and excited
to perform at the Ode'Min Giizis Festival as this is the first
Aboriginal forum she has had the honour of participating in
as a nonstatus Indian. Drea will be performing original songs
with members of the HOLYLOWDOWN Band.
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a leading Indigenous researcher,
writer, educator and activist. She is a citizen of the Nishnaabeg
nation, with roots in the Mississaugas of Alderville First
Nation, and obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba
in 1999. She currently works with Indigenous communities and
organizations across Canada and internationally on issues
regarding land, politics, governance and Indigenous Knowledge.
Leanne's work has appeared in the Wicazo Sa Review, the American
Indian Quarterly, the American Indian Cultural Journal, the
Canadian Journal of Native Studies, the Journal of Aboriginal
Health, the Tribal College Journal, Spirit Magazine and Now
Magazine. She has also written chapters for Native Historians
Write Back: Decolonizing American Indian History, forthcoming
from the University of Texas Press, The Politics of Participation
in Sustainable Development Governance, United Nations University
Press, Until our Hearts are on the Ground: Aboriginal Mothering:
Oppression, Resistance and Transformation, Demeter Press,
and Every Grain of Sand: Canadian Perspectives on Ecology
and Environment, Wilfred Laurier Press, amongst many others.
She is the editor of the recently released Lighting the Eighth
Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence and Protection of indigenous
Nations, published by Arbieter Ring Publishing. Leanne is
currently teaching at Athabasca and Trent Universities. She
lives in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough, Ontario) with her partner
and her two young children, Nishna and Minowewebeneshiinh.
Dr. Paula Sherman
Dr. Paula Sherman is Omàmìwinini and Family
Head on Ka-Pishkawandemin, the traditional Council from Ardoch.
She is also an assistant professor in Indigenous Studies at
Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.