Lucille Atlookan is a visual artist and maker from Eabametoong First Nation, residing in Thunder Bay, Her art explores her cultural identity and personal trauma through mixed media which includes beadwork, leatherwork and drawing. Atlookan is the co-founder of Neechee Studio, a free art program for Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay. She is the third recipient of the Barbara Laronde Award in 2017
Caitlyn Bird is an Anishnaabe bead artist from Naotkamegwanning First Nation. She developed her passion for beading at the age of sixteen drawing on inspiration from her culture, elder objects, family history and knowledge. She continues to hone her craft by exploring new techniques and methods of articulation with materials such as: Czech seed beads, antique/vintage seed beads, and smoked brain tanned hide. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Native Women in the Arts “The Barbara Laronde Award”. She recently graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she earned her BFA in Museum Studies. She currently lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario where she continues to practice beading having recently shown her beadwork at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery exhibit “Their Breath in Beads” (2019).
Janelle Wawia is a self-taught artist from Opwaaganasiniing (Red Rock Indian Band) and an active trapper on her family trap lines. The multi-disciplinary work that Janelle creates incorporates traditional beadwork, fur harvesting for sustainability, leather work and working with natural elements from her trap line. Janelle’s primary focus is on women and their connections to the land. She is the 2016 recipient of the Barbara Laronde Award. Janelle also has worked with youth by utilizing art to bring awareness to mental health, building health relationships and sharing knowledge.
Joe Wood was born in Nelson House MB, is a member of South Indian Lake First Nation,and identifies as Cree and Scottish. She is currently based in Nipissing. Joe is a self-taught visual and media artist. Her artistic practice has been a way to release anger,probe the unknown, and to express herself as a two spirit person. Whether painting, drawing with charcoal, or working with digital tools, Joe fearlessly pushes boundaries through her thoughtfully composed, minimalist aesthetic.
Aylan Couchie is a Nishnaabekwe interdisciplinary artist and writer hailing from Nipissing First Nation. She is a NSCAD University alumna and received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design at OCAD University in where she focused her thesis on reconciliation and its relationship to monument and public art. Her written, gallery and public works explore the intersections of colonial/First Nations histories of place, culture and Indigenous erasure as well as issues of (mis)representation and cultural appropriation. She’s been the recipient of several awards including an “Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture” award through the International Sculpture Centre and a Premier’s Award through Ontario Colleges. She serves as the Chair of Native Women in the Arts and currently lives and works from her home community of Nipissing First Nation in Northern Ontario.
Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer, media artist, performance artist and mentor living in Six Nations territory. She has six published poetry collections with her most current book “As Long As the Sun Shines” translated into KANIEN’KÉHA, the Mohawk language. Janet was host and producer of Native Waves Radio (2007-2017) and Tribal Clefs Music Column on Victoria BC’s CBC radio one (2008-2016). Her six-part radio podcast series NDNs on the Airwaves won two awards at the T.O. Webfest in 2018 and her short doc of the same titled produced with 2Ro Media was screened at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Festival in 2016. Janet continues to produce sound art and podcasts independently and has two new manuscripts ready for publishing.
Teddy Syrette (Ozhawa Anung/Yellow Star) is a 2-Spirit Ankshnabek storyteller and advocate of Baawaating First Nation. They travel around Turtle Island to different communities, schools and service providers sharing experiences and awareness regarding Indigenous and 2SLGBTQ issues and topics. Teddy currently lives in Sault Ste. Marie and has a background in social work, theatre and bingo.
Melody McKiver’s work integrates electronics with Western classical music to shape a new genre of Anishinaabe compositions. Their debut EP Reckoning was nominated for an Indigenous Music Award, they are a finalist for the inaugural 2019 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize, and they were a participant in the Banff Centre for the Arts’ inaugural Indigenous Classical Music Gathering. A frequent performer across Turtle Island, Melody has performed at the National Arts Centre, Luminato Festival, Vancouver’s Western Front, and the Toronto International Film Festival. They have shared stages with Polaris Prize winners Lido Pimienta, Tanya Tagaq, and Jeremy Dutcher, and performed with acclaimed filmmaker and musician Alanis Obomsawin. As a composer, Melody was recently commissioned by Soundstreams and Jumblies Theatre to write a string quartet responding to Steve Reich’s Different Trains, drawing on interviews conducted with local elders. They also re-imagined Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring through an Anishinaabeg lens alongside choreographer Brian Solomon. Melody is involved in their community as a mentor with the Indigenous Music Mentorship Program, and is employed as a youth worker in Sioux Lookout, providing mental health and cultural supports to First Nations students. Upcoming projects include a song and music video premiering on Amplify, a new APTN show that explores musicians’ creative processes.
Kaniehtiio ‘Tiio’ Horn’ is a Mohawk actress raised in Kahnawake. Feature credits include lead roles in the independent films 22 Chaser and Prodigals, and the romantic comedy Tell Me I Love You. In addition, Tiio holds supporting roles in Immortals, On the Road, Death Wish and The Hummingbird Project. She received critical acclaim as Oak in the action/thriller Mohawk, directed by Ted Geoghegan. On the small screen, Tiio plays Tanis in the multiple award-winning comedy Letterkenny on CraveTV, recurred on the Amazon series Man in the High Castle, and appeared in all three seasons of Hemlock Grove for Netflix/Gaumont. She is now a series regular on NatGeo’s upcoming drama Barkskins, based on the novel by Annie Proulx. In 2018 she launched the podcast Coffee With My Ma, sharing the adventures and experiences of her activist mother, Kahentinetha. Most recently, Tiio co-hosted the 2019 Indspire Awards on CBC, recognizing the outstanding achievements of individuals within Canada’s Indigenous community.
Jenny Blackbird (Nehiyaw and Finnish-Canadian) is an old-style jingle dress dancer, hand drummer/singer and a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in fashion design. Jenny works at University of Toronto at The Centre for Indigenous studies as coordinator for Ciimaan / Kahuwe’yá / Qajaq Indigenous Language Initiative program. She has also worked at The Royal Ontario Museum as an Indigenous Knowledge Resource Teacher, conducting tours for student groups, as well as on-site outreach in the First People’s Gallery. Jenny is producer and co-host of the “Indigenous Waves” Radio show, on CIUT 89.5 FM at 6 PM Mondays, as well as producer and co-host of The Women’s Hour radio show, Saturday mornings 10 am on Radio Regent online radio.Jenny is the recipient of the 2016 “Culture Keeper Award” Minaake Award from Native Women’s Resource Center and A 2019 recipient of an IDERD award for the International Day for the Elimination of Racism at University of Toronto.
Kaya Joan Da Costa is a multi-disciplinary Afro Caribbean (Jamaican / Vincentian) – Indigenous (Kanien’kehá:ka / Garifuna) artist living in T’karonto (Dish with One Spoon treaty territory). Kaya’s work focuses on healing, transcending ancestral knowledge and creating dreamscapes rooted in spiritualism from the lands of their ancestors (Turtle Island and the Caribbean). Afro and Indigenous futurity and pedagogy are also centred in Kaya’s practice-working through buried truths to explore how creation can heal 7 generations into the past and future. Kaya has been working in community arts for 5 years as a facilitator and artist. Kaya is in the process of completing a BFA through the Indigenous Visual Culture program at OCAD.
Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse Artist. She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance, she has exhibited across Canada and the US, at Art Mur Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver, Satellite Art show Miami. Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre, Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape, Seneca College, and the Archives of American Art. In 2019 Vanessa is supported by the City of Toronto Indigenous partnerships fund to be Artist in residence at OCAD University.
Joi T. Arcand is an artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory, currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in 2005. Recent solo exhibitions include Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff, AB); ODD Gallery (Dawson City, Yukon); Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon); Wanuskewin Heritage Park (Saskatoon); Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina); Gallery 101 (Ottawa). Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including at the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Karsh-Masson Art Gallery (Ottawa); McMaster Museum of Art (Hamilton, ON); The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design (Asheville, North Carolina); Woodland School at SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art (Montreal); Ottawa Art Gallery; PAVED Arts (Saskatoon); and grunt gallery (Vancouver). Arcand has been artist in residence at Wanuskewin Heritage Park (Saskatoon); OCAD University; Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art; the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity; and Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (Dawson City, Yukon). She has served as chair of the board of directors for PAVED Arts in Saskatoon and was the co-founder of the Red Shift Gallery, a contemporary aboriginal art gallery in Saskatoon. She was founder and editor of the Indigenous art magazine, kimiwan (2012-2014), and most recently curated Language of Puncture at Gallery 101 (Ottawa).
Susan Blight (Anishinaabe, Couchiching First Nation) is an interdisciplinary artist working with public art, site-specific intervention, photography, film and social practice. Her solo and collaborative work engages questions of personal and cultural identity and its relationship to space. Susan is co-founder of Ogimaa Mikana, an artist collective working to reclaim and rename the roads and landmarks of Anishinaabeg territory with Anishinaabemowin and is a member of the Indigenous Routes artist collective which works to provide free new media training for Indigenous youth. Her writing has been published in Shameless Magazine, the Globe & Mail, and on the Decolonization: Indigeneity, Society, and Education blog and she is the recipient of a 2014 IDERD award for her anti-racism work at the University of Toronto. Susan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from the University of Manitoba, a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Windsor in Integrated Media, and is a PhD student in Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT). In August 2019, Susan joined OCAD University as Delaney Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture and as Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies.
Mary Lou & Dan and Smoke are an exceptional couple, who through their individual and collective efforts of sharing traditional knowledge, history and culture, have greatly enhanced cross-cultural understanding, healed and improved the climate of race relations in the city of London, and provided new means of overcoming barriers and differences. Dan and Mary Lou often work together conducting opening and closing ceremonies at events such as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Human Rights Day, National Aboriginal Day, International Women’s Day, Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre (Dec. 6th), V-Day for Anti Violence Against Indigenous Women. Since 1990, Dan and Mary Lou Smoke have been the hosts of the First Nations radio program “Smoke Signals” (CHRW 94.9 FM Radio Western, University of Western Ontario), a radio newsmagazine program that bridges the gap of understanding between Native and non-Native world views
Jocelyn Piirainen is a curator, artist and filmmaker originally from Ikaluktutiak (Cambridge Bay), NU and is currently based in Winnipeg, MB. In 2019, she became the inaugural Assistant Curator of Inuit Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. When not working as a curator, Piirainens educational background has focused on the arts, particularly film and new media. Her current artistic practice primarily involves analog photography and film – mostly experimenting with Polaroids and Super 8 film. She has contributed to publications such as Canadian Art, Canadian Geographic and the Inuit Art Quarterly. Alongside, Piirainen has designed and developed various exhibitions, curatorial projects, screenings and arts festivals at a handful of galleries and artist-run centres, including SAW Video Association in Ottawa, ON and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, ON, among others.
Raven Davis is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, human rights speaker, writer and educator from the Anishinaabek Nation, Treaty Four in Manitoba, Canada. Davis was born and raised in Tkaronto, (Toronto) Ontario, and now resides and works as a professional artist and educator between Halifax and their birth territory. A proud parent of three sons’, Davis’ work blends narratives of colonization, race, gender, disability, sexuality, Two-Spirit identity and the Anishinaabemowin language and culture into a variety of contemporary art forms. Highlighted in Canadian Art, Must Sees, Raven has been interviewed and published by No More Potlucks the CBC, the Huffington Post, Canadian Art Magazine, Black Girl Dangerous, Plentitude Magazine, and C-Magazine. They’re currently working on a solo exhibit for 2020-21 and have recently returned from speaking at the Carl A. Fields Centre for Equality, and Cultural Understanding at Princeton University in New York.
Megan Feheley is a two spirit Ililiw (Moose Cree) interdisciplinary artist and curator living and working out of Toronto. They are currently working towards their BFA in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University, and work predominately in sculpture/installation, beadwork, textiles, painting and video. Megan is passionate about resurgent practices, language revitalization, working with materials that connect them to their homeland, and exploring Indigenous and queer futurity. Currently, they are focused on conflicting and converging responsibilities to land, territory, and people; and how art and land can co-conspire to dismantle narratives of hopelessness in the face of ongoing climate catastrophe, and the colonial project behind it.
Niki Little (Wabiska Maengun) is a mother, artist/observer, arts administrator, and a founding member of The Ephemerals who were long-listed twice for the Sobey Art Award (2017/2019). She is Anishininew/English from Kistiganwacheeng (Garden Hill, FN), based between Win-nipi (Winnipeg, MB) and Tkaronto (Toronto, ON). Her interests investigate Indigenous womxn, kinship, community-based initiatives and economies. Niki is the Artistic Director of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Previously, she was the Director of the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition, where she organized Listen, Witness, Transmit, a national Indigenous media arts gathering in Saskatoon, SK (June 12-15, 2018). As an independent curator, Niki co-curated with Becca Taylor, níchiwamiskwém | nimidet | my sister | ma soeur, the La Biennale d’Art Contemporain Autochtone 2018 (May 03-June 19, 2018) and co-hosted Migration a three week on the land residency in Demmitt, AB (August 13-31, 2018). Little will be part of the commissioned co-curated exhibition Nests for the End of the World at the Art Gallery of Alberta, (January 24-May 03, 2020) with collaborator Bruno Canadien.
Thirza Jean Cuthand was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1978, and grew up in Saskatoon. Since 1995 she has been making short experimental narrative videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity and love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals internationally, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paolo, ImagineNATIVE in Toronto, Frameline in San Francisco, Outfest in Los Angeles, and Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. Her work has also exhibited at galleries including the Mendel in Saskatoon, The National Gallery in Ottawa, and The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She completed her BFA majoring in Film and Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2005, and her Masters of Arts in Media Production at Ryerson University in 2015.She is of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.
Fallon Simard’s memes and videos capture the conflicts created by colonialism, land, politics, and . The Anishinaabe-Metis artist creates moving and still images as an embodied and visceral response to Indigenous identity that dispels current tropes of Indigenous art as story-telling and shamanic. Simard’s work instead investigates intensity and burden as products of injustice(s), human rights violations, and colonial violence. In his videos and memes, Simard illustrates bad feelings and harms from different Indigenous contexts to reveal new modes and effects of colonial-capital-racial policy. Simard’s work mobilizes grief, intensity, and trauma as mitigation tools to colonial-capital policy.
Darlene Naponseis an Anishinaabe from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek – Northern Ontario. She is a writer, film director, and video artist. Her film work has been viewed nationally and internationally.She owns Pine Needle Productions an award-winning boutique Film/Video/Audio Recording Production Studio, located in Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.Darlene was a 2017 Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize Finalist for “She Is Water” published in The Malahat Review.Her latest feature film “Falls Around Her” world premiered at TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival 2018 and screened the Opening Night at the imagineNATIVE Film Festival 2018 (Air Canada Audience Choice Award 2018 Winner).
Tannis Nielsen is a Métis Woman (of Sohto/Anishnawbe and Danish descent) with twenty years of professional experience in the arts, cultural and community sectors, and nine years teaching practice at the post-secondary level. Tannis holds a Masters in Visual Studies Degree (M.V.S.) from the University of Toronto, an Art and Art History-Specialist Degree from U of T, as well as a Diploma in Art and Art History from Sheridan College, in Oakville, Ontario. Tannis has served on the Aboriginal Engagement Committee at UBC-O, as a member of the Equity and Diversity Committee at OCAD-U, the Toronto District School Board, and is the past President of The Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts (A.N.D.P.V.A.), a national Native arts organization in service since 1972. She was also a member of the Toronto Native Community History Project and has assisted in organizing the last three annual “Indigenous Sovereignty Week” events in the city of Toronto. She currently teaches at OCAD-U.
Elwood Jimmy is a learner, collaborator, writer, artist, facilitator, cultural manager, and gardener. He is originally from the Thunderchild First Nation, a Nêhiyaw community in the global north. For close to 20 years, he has played a leadership role in several art projects, collectives, and organizations locally and abroad. In December 2015, he was hired as the program coordinator for Musagetes.
Dr. Pamela D. Palmater is a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick. She has been a practicing lawyer for 20 years and is currently an Associate Professor and the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University. She comes from a large family of 8 sisters and three brothers. Pam has two sons, Mitchell and Jeremy, who are also active in the community.She has 4 university degrees, including a BA from St. Thomas in Native Studies, and an LLB from UNB where she won the Faskin Campbell Godfrey prize in natural resources and environmental law. She went on to complete her Masters and Doctorate in Law from Dalhousie University Law School specializing in First Nation law. Pam has been studying, volunteering and working in First Nation issues for over 25 years on a wide range of social, political and legal issues, like poverty, housing, child and family services, treaty rights, education and legislation impacting First Nations. She came in second in the Assembly of First Nations election for National Chief in 2012 and was one of the spokespeople, organizers and public educators for the Idle No More movement in 2012-13.
Jamaias DaCosta (DJ Jams) is a mother, facilitator, spoken word performer, writer, deejay, radio geek and a lover of futurist resurgence movements. Through spoken word, radio, and arts based facilitation and training, Jamaias’ work focuses on critical deconstruction of colonial narratives, ancestors and identity, and celebration of Black and Indigenous futurism. Jamaias (aka Jams) has been co-host, deejay and producer of The Vibe Collective radio show since 2007, and producer of Indigenous Waves Radio since 2011, both on CIUT 89.5FM. Jamaias is currently the Manager of Programs and Development at the Children’s Peace Theatre and sits on the advisory Board of Mixed in Canada. Jamaias will be releasing her first spoken word recording project Blood Memory on the Dance Floor in early 2018
Renae Maihi (Ngāti Whakaue & Ngāpuhi Māori) is an award-winning writer & critically acclaimed director in theatre & film. Her play PATUA won the Adam NZ Playwrights award for Best Play by a Maori Playwright. Along with film and theatre, Renae has also written & storylined for television. In 2017 Renae’s feature film Waru, which she wrote & directed in collaboration with 8 other wahine filmmakers, had its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival & the world premiered at the NZIFF where a critic named Waru the “Best NZ drama in years” highlighting Renae’s film as “the films best sequence. Renae is currently working on her debut feature.
Rhéanne Chartrand is the Curator of Indigenous Art at McMaster Museum of Art. She holds a master’s degree in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. A Métis curator and creative producer based in Hamilton and Toronto, Chartrand has curated interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary exhibitions, showcases, and festivals for venues and organizations such as the City of Toronto, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Harbourfront Centre, OCAD University, the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Aboriginal Pavilion at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Her curatorial work focuses on the praxis of survivance, Indigenous epistemes, relational aesthetics, representational politics, and gratitude.
Marie Gaudet is Anishinaabe, Turtle Clan, and a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation of Manitoulin Island. She is a traditional woman, jingle dress dancer, singer and hand drummer. She has taught singing at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and traditional dance and shawl-making at the Native Women’s Resource Centre. She is a member of the Eagle Heart
Drummers and Dancers and was a lead vocalist in Red Sky Performance’s production of Miigis and Great Lakes. Marie has extensive training and employment experience in the field of education, cultural development and programming.
Laureen “Blu” Waters is Cree, Metis and Micmac. She is Wolf Clan, and a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Blu’s family is from Big River Saskatchewan, Star Blanket Reserve, Bra’dor Lake, Eskasoni First Nations and Cape Breton Nova Scotia. Blu grew up with her grandmother
and learned about traditional medicines performing extractions, healing, and care of the sick.