Join us for Women’s Hand Drumming with Veronica Johnny in partnership Red Pepper Spectacle Arts


This series of women’s hand-drumming sessions are intended as practice and learning spaces for emerging and novice drummers. Origin stories of songs, protocols, leading songs, and cultural contexts will be integrated into the teaching of each song, and participants are encouraged to share their knowledge. These sessions aim to respect a diversity of teachings and beliefs, and all participants are asked to attend with this intention in mind.

Current Dates:
Tuesday, January 17th & 31st
Tuesday, February 14th & 28th
Tuesday, March 14th & 28th

Please register by sending an email to:

Veronica Johnny (Cree/Dene/Two-Spirit) is a traditional & contemporary Aboriginal hand-drummer from Fort Smith, NWT. She shares indigenous teachings, hosts drum circles and sings healing songs for the good of all life everywhere. She facilitates arts-education workshops including self-esteem, music and cultural teachings. Veronica is also a singer/songwriter and the front woman, vocalist and manager of The Johnnys, a high-energy rock band she founded with husband Dave Johnny

These sessions are open to all female-identified and non-binary individuals. Please note that you must provide your own hand-drum or shaker to participate.

Sessions are FREE though registration is requested. Please send your name and email address to, along with any questions you may have. There is no deadline for registration, and this circle will invite new members continuously.

A light snack and refreshments will be provided. Children are always welcome. Please note that childcare is not provided.


Call for Nominations for the 2017 Annual Barbara Laronde Award – Due May 1!


Call for Nominations: This call for nominations is open to self-identified Indigenous female emerging artists living in Northern Ontario.

Please note that you can self nominate or an individual can nominate an artist to receive this award. Eligibility:

  • To be considered for an award the artist must be an Indigenous woman living in Northern Ontario (open to Métis, Inuit, Status and Non-Status peoples)
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Open to all artistic disciplines including traditional/customary arts
  • All Indigenous female artists are encouraged to apply.
  • Individuals can submit an application to nominate an artist they feel deserves this award.

To apply please submit the following:

  • One-page letter outlining why you or the artist should receive this award
  • Submit images/audio/written/video support material of artwork to support the application
  • A full length bio and resume
  • If you are submitting on behalf of yourself please include a letter of support from someone who is familiar with your career in the arts

Application Deadline: Monday May 1, 2017 / Email to:

Value of Award: $1500

Definition of an emerging artist is:

  • One who has some evidence of professional achievement but not a substantial record of accomplishment
  • Not recognized as established artists by other artists, curators, producers, critics, and arts administrators.
  • Artists who show significant potential, yet are under-recognized

Our second Kwe Performance Series event: Sadie Buck, January 20-21

Following the first sold-out event of our Kwe Performance Series in November, 2016, Native Women in the Arts is pleased to announce the second showcase in the series Sadie Buck with the Hey He Yays.

Join us Saturday January 21, as we partner with the Feminist Art Conference (FAC) to present renowned Haudenosaunee singer Sadie Buck with guests artists the Hey He Yays, followed by a Q&A with Sadie and NWIA’s Artist Producer Erika Iserhoff.

Performance: Saturday, January 21, 6:30pm
Auditorium – Room 230 at OCAD University, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto
PWYC (or included in FAC conference registration)

Join the Facebook event!

On January 20, at Sadie will present a free workshop at Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto with discussions about traditional and modern Haudenosaunee life. She will perform and discuss Haudenosaunee singing and songs, invite participants to join in, and answer questions.

Free Workshop: Friday, January 20, 2pm – 4pm
Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, 191 Gerrard St E, Toronto
For more info:

Artist Bio:

Sadie Buck was born into a long line of traditional singers and dancers. Her life as a traditional singer has honed her training and performance skill to a master level. Sadie has taken her traditional training ideology and transposed that to her contemporary life as an artist, performer, facilitator, director, author, trainer, researcher and consultant. Sadie is also the lead singer of the Six Nations Women Singers, one of the most influential female Native singing groups. They have recorded with Robbie Robertson and performed at the Presidential inauguration in 1997. Representing the Onkwehonwe people, she is from the Seneca nation of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and Tonawanda Seneca. Currently a part-time instructor at UWO and sessional instructor at McMaster University, she has also taught at Harvard University, Hamilton College, University of Toronto and at the National Aboriginal and Islanders Skills Development Corporation in Australia. Sadie Buck established and ran the Aboriginal Women’s Music Program at the Banff Centre for three years where she organized and co-led the JUNO nominated recording, “Hearts of the Nations”. The success of this program brought together Aboriginal women from all over the world to collaborate together, sing and perform. Sadie also wrote and co-directed the celebrated Aboriginal dance opera “Bones”. Honoured for her significant contributions to Ontario’s folk music community, Sadie was the recipient of the Estelle Klein Award in 2015.

The Kwe Performance Series is the evolution of NWIA’s long-standing Catalyst Series. Under the new name and with new direction, the Kwe Performance Series presents performances and workshops by performing artists from diverse nations and communities. The events always take place both in Toronto and in varying on-reserve and underserviced communities in arts in Ontario.

About Feminist Art Conference:

This year is the Feminist Art Conference’s 4th conference to be held at OCADU from January 9 – 21, 2017. This includes a two-week multi-disciplinary exhibition in the Great Hall at OCADU and satellite exhibitions at York University and University of Toronto.

About the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto:

The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto began when a dedicated group of Aboriginal women recognized the need for a gathering place in Toronto where Aboriginal women could share resources, support one another, and practice their traditional ways. Today, NWRCT provides a safe and welcoming environment for all Aboriginal women and their children in the Greater Toronto Area.

All the events of our Kwe Performance Series Inuit Showcase

ᐊᐃ : The first event of our new Kwe Performance Series is in fact a number of events! Check out our workshops and performances with spoken word artist Taqralik Partridge, throat singer, poet, and songwriter Kathleen Ivaluarjuk Merritt (aka IVA), and sisters and throat singing duo Nukariik. This list is updated as of October 24:

Thursday November 3 – Spoken word, writing workshop and performance by Taqralik Partridge  In partnership with the Kinomaagaye Gaamik Lodge, 6:30-9:30pm, 674 New Credit Road, Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation, Ontario. Free! Join the Facebook event.

Thursday November 3 – Throat singing workshop with Nukariik – A co-presentation with The Toronto Music Gallery,  6:30-8:30pm,197 John Street, Toronto. Free! But registration is limited. Please sign up in advance here.

Friday November 4 – Throat singing workshop with IVA & Agaaqtoq – In partnership Native Women’s Resource Centre, 2-4pm, 191 Gerrard Street East, Toronto. Free! For more information contact:

Friday November 4 – Spoken word & writing workshop with Taqralik Partridge – In partnership with Toronto’s Inuit youth community group Torontomiutajugut, 7-9pm, 180 Shaw Street, Centre for Indigenous Theatre – Studio 209 (2nd Floor), Toronto, Free! For more information contact:

Saturday November 5 – Inuit Showcase: IVA, Taqralik Partridge, and Nukariik – A co-presentation with The Toronto Music Gallery
Doors 7pm, Show 8pm, 197 John Street, Toronto, Tickets $20 Regular | $10 Members/Students |$15 Advance.

Kathleen Ivaluarjuk Merritt also known as IVA (ee-vah) will take you on a journey through the Arctic with vocal interpretations of the wind, birds, landscape and sea. Iva is a throat-singer, poet, writer and collaborator from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. She has performed alongside Tanya Tagaq, Susan Aglukark, Owen Pallett, DJ Spooky, Mike Stevens and the NAC Orchestra among others.

Taqralik Partridge is a spoken word performer, throat singer, voice actor and writer originally from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik in Northern Quebec. She has performed on stages from Toronto to Iqaluit to the UK and Norway. She teaches poetry and story-telling workshops for children and adults, and she loves to sew.

Nukariik is a group of two sisters, Karin and Kathy Kettler, who work together to preserve and share Inuit culture from Canada. Their heritage is from Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik. While the members of Nukariik have lived most of their lives in southern Canada, they have developed a strong connection to their heritage and culture through their Inuit friends, Elders and family.

Announcing Our New Kwe Performance Series

Native Women in the Arts is pleased to announce the Kwe Performance Series, starting with the Inuit Showcase in November, 2016.

The Kwe Performance Series is the evolution of NWIA’s long-standing Catalyst Series. Under the new name and with new direction, the Kwe Performance Series will present performances and workshops by performing artists from diverse nations and communities. The events will always take place both in Toronto and in varying on-reserve and under-serviced communities in the arts in Ontario.

For our first season, we’re thrilled to present three parts in the series:

Inuit Showcase: Kathleen Ivaluarjuk Merritt, Taqralik Partridge, and Nukariik, November 2016
Sadie Buck, January 2017
The Ulali Project, March 2017


In collaboration with the Music Gallery
Saturday November 5, 8pm
197 John Street, Toronto
Buy tickets here.
Join the Facebook event.

Also at the Music Gallery:
Thursday November 3, 6:30pm
Throat singing workshop with Nukariik. Free!
Register here.

Tuesday November 1
Taqralik Partridge – workshop and performance at Kinomaagaye Gaamik Lodge, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Ontario

Additional Toronto workshops with Kathleen and Taqralik to be announced. Stay tuned!


In partnership with the Feminist Art Conference (FAC), we will present renowned traditional and contemporary Haudenosaunee singer Sadie Buck for both a Q&A and performance.

Saturday, January 21, 6:30pm
PWYC (or included in FAC conference registration)
Auditorium at OCAD University, Toronto

ulali-project-idle-no-moreTHE ULALI PROJECT

The current evolution of the legendary acapella group Ulali, with founding members Pura Fé and Jennifer Kreisberg, and new additions Charly Lowry and Layla Locklear.

Friday March 31, 8pm
In partnership with St. Anne’s Anglican Church
270 Gladstone Ave, Toronto

Toronto workshops and community workshops and performances to be added and announced in the new year.


The warmth and joy of the Miiyuu Pimaatswiin symposium

This past June, we presented Miiyuu Pimaatswin: A Symposium for Indigenous Women Arts LeadersThe sold out event brought emerging to established Indigenous women artists, producers, programmers, artistic leaders, arts administrators, arts advocates, and arts practitioners together to share knowledge and experiences.

We are grateful to each of the participants, presenters, sponsors, partners, and funders who made the symposium a success.

Nourishing. The symposium was a beautiful recipe that included a magical synchronicity of wonderful spirits, talents and gifts mixed in with lots of love and laughs, tears and hugs, and tasty surprises!

Alex Hildebrand captured a few beautiful moments from the three days.

I feel grateful for the opportunity to listen to the strong female leaders/elders who shared their wisdom, courage, honesty, truth and love

Check out Facebook for even more photos!

Seeking new board members at NWIA!

Native Women in the Arts (NWIA) is seeking dynamic supportive individuals invested in advancing Indigenous arts for our existing inclusive and strong Board of Directors.


Established in 1993, NWIA is a not-for-profit organization for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women from diverse artistic disciplines who share a common interest in culture, art, community and the advancement of Indigenous peoples. NWIA produces unique artistic programming while developing, supporting, and cultivating Aboriginal women in the performing arts, literary arts and publishing, visual arts, and community development projects. NWIA’s influence has been felt in Indigenous, culturally diverse and mainstream communities across Canada for 23 years.


We are seeking individuals who are available to meet a minimum of four times per year in downtown Toronto, to volunteer at concerts and events, serve on a minimum of one sub-committee, and check-in with board and staff on a regular basis. We are in need of people who will advance areas such as fundraising and sponsorship, financial management, policy development, marketing and programming.

We are looking to add two new members to our Board of Directors and welcome people of all backgrounds, though we aim to include a majority of Indigenous women. We welcome Indigenous women, youth, two-spirit, and allied individuals, from emerging to established in their field.

Participation on the Board is voluntary and there is no remuneration for service.

Please submit your letter of interest and CV to by 5pm September 20 and visit for more information about our organization.

Native Women in the Arts (NWIA) is seeking sponsorship partners

Native Women in the Arts (NWIA) is seeking sponsorship partners for our new Kwe Performance Series. We have the exciting opportunity for matching funds through the artsVest program and are looking for the right partner(s) to reach our goal of $1500. (Or more!) Sponsors need to confirm contributions by August 31, 2016.

The Kwe Performance Series 2016-17 is a three part performance series that takes place in Toronto and in Ontario First Nations communities (in the past we have presented in Nippising and Pikwakanagan). This November, the series kicks off with an Inuit artist showcase at The Music Gallery (with performers Ivaluarjuk, Nukariik, and Taqralik Partridge), in January we are presenting Haudenosaunee elder and singer Sadie Buck (legendary!), and in March we are bringing the groundbreaking trio Ulali.

To be eligible for artsVest matching, sponsorship partners need to be for profit organisations. As a small non-profit arts org, we do big things within the Indigenous arts community, and increasingly – thanks to our presenting partners like The Music Gallery – into Toronto’s mainstream audiences. This partnership is an opportunity for exposure to a dedicated audience of women, Indigenous artist and supporters, and a broader reach of the city’s art-loving audiences.

We’d love to talk with you further about it. Please email our Artistic Producer Erika Iserhoff at

Chi miigwetch.

Presentation of The Barbara Laronde Award in Temagami

It was a beautiful summer day in Temagami when the second annual Barbara Laronde Award was presented on July 17 to Janelle Wawia with the award’s namesake, Barbara Laronde, herself.

Our artistic producer Erika Iserhoff, our board chair Kerry Potts, our board cultural leader and elder Jacqui Lavalley, and NWIA founder Sandra Laronde celebrated Janelle in partnership with the Temagami Deep Water Music Festival.

We also took the opportunity to honour Sandra and her contribution to NWIA and our community. Chi Miigwetch to all of the award’s supporters, donations, partners, and to the Laronde family.

Janelle, Barbara, Sandra, Kerry, and Erika

And thank you to Sandra Laronde for the photos of these beautiful and powerful kwe!

Announcing the 2016 Barbara Laronde Award Recipient!


Native Women in the Arts announces winner of second annual Barbara Laronde Award.

TORONTO, ON (June 20, 2016) – Native Women in the Arts (NWIA) is thrilled to announce the winner of the second annual Barbara Laronde Award: Janelle Wawia.

The award was created to honour the legacy of NWIA founder Sandra Laronde and her vision and commitment to Indigenous artists. It celebrates and acknowledges the career of one outstanding, emerging, Northern-Ontario based Indigenous female artist, recognizing the geographic and economic barriers that many northern artists face.

Sandra Laronde’s 19 years of leadership at NWIA paved the way for many Indigenous artists at various stages of their careers. The award is named after her mother, Barbara, who has been the backbone of her family and a leader in the Northern Ontario community, Temagami First Nation. Barbara inspired her children to be creative and entrepreneurial, and it is with this spirit that NWIA launched this award in 2015.

Janelle Wawia is an artist from Opwaaganasiniing/Red Rock First Nation (Lake Helen Reserve). A painter and fashion designer who incorporates contemporary and traditional influences in her work, Janelle works in fur (obtained from her family’s trap line as Janelle is also a trapper), leather, porcupine quills, beadwork, and acrylic paint. Through these varied mediums, she draws on and references Anishinaabe floral designs, medicine and messengers, women, ceremony, and connection to the land.

Submissions to this year’s award doubled from its inaugural year in 2015, and Janelle was selected from these submissions through NWIA’s Board of Directors’ voting process. Says NWIA Artistic Producer Erika Iserhoff, “Janelle is not only a promising emerging artist who, though self-taught, has already created a diverse body of multi-discplinary work that both touched and impressed us all, she is also dedicated to her community and to being a strong representation of women and mothers within her community and culture.”

NWIA is excited to support the continuing creative and professional achievements of Janelle Wawia with the $1500 award, which will be presented with Barbara Laronde in Temagami on July 17th during the Deepwater Music Festival.

Over 22 years, NWIA has delivered theatre, dance, music, and spoken word productions and published three books of Indigenous visual art and writing. We also produce a series of community-driven artist talks, leadership and cultural workshops, youth arts projects to audiences interested in arts, culture, and the advancement of Indigenous peoples.

For further information about NWIA visit or call 416-598-4078.

Hosted by the Temagami Artist Collective, the Deepwater Music Festival takes place this year July 15-17, 2016, at Temagami’s waterfront. This year’s lineup includes Les Stroud, Les Gens du Nord, Esther Pennell & Pete Fex, Lee Frappier, Wayne Potts, Addison & Adams, Jake Thomas Trio, David Laronde Band, Peter Cliche, Eigth Thunderbird Drum, and more. Festival wristbands include entry to the concurrent Temagami Canoe Festival.

For further information visit