Tributaries: Luminato Opening Event



Native Women in the Arts partners with Luminato to open a four-part celebration of Indigenous performance featuring over 60 artists!

FREE and open to the public on June 14 in David Pecaut Square

Native Women in the Arts (NWIA) is excited to announce its collaborating partnership with Luminato to co present this year’s opening night celebrations.  Tributaries, conceived by Creative Producer Denise Bolduc with NWIA’s Erika Iserhoff as Associate Producer, pays homage and respect to Indigenous creativity, presence and voice in celebratory, large-scale experience in Toronto.  

Tributaries features over 60 artists who pay tribute to the resilience and power of Indigenous women, land and water.  Featured artists include Lila Downs, Tomson Highway, Northern Cree, Laura Grizzlypaws, Norma Araiza, Duke Redbird, Cris Derksen, Iskwe, Jennifer Kreisberg, Cheri Maracle, Tanya Tagaq, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Jeremy Dutcher, Melody McKiver, Bear Witness, Lido Pimienta and many more!  Tributaries is a free event and open event taking place on June 14 from 6PM to 11PM in David Pecaut Square (215 King Street West).

The evening also launches the opening of The Famous Spiegeltent at Luminato with Tributaries’ presentation of A Cree Cabaret, featuring the brilliance of Tomson Highway. From 7 p.m. onwards, David Pecaut Square will come alive as Tributaries moves outdoors with a diversity of performances in a four-part program: Roots, Resurgence, Reclamation, and Emancipation.


“We are truly grateful to be working in partnership with Denise Bolduc, artistic lead of Tributaries, and the Luminato Festival. The program reflects a stellar line up of Indigenous artists and creativity.  NWIA is thrilled to work in a capacity supporting creative partnerships and strengthening our organization within the larger industry and within an international festival context. Tributaries reflects NWIA’s vision to advance the interests, culture and art of Indigenous women working in the arts within Canada.” Erika A. Iserhoff, Associate Producer

“June is the month of the Ode’min Giizis (Strawberry Moon), and for many Indigenous people the strawberry/Ode’min represents the heart, and Indigenous women represent the hearts of our diverse nations. Sustaining the Ode’min’s growth is a vast system of leaves, runners and roots and this we parallel to the earth’s waterways and its vast water systems that sustain all life. These Tributaries also reflect our artists as the connecting roots resurging, evolving, reclaiming and liberating.  We invite you to experience a synergy of creative Indigenous expression and to join us in paying tribute to the resilience of Indigenous women and the importance of the land and its water.” Denise Bolduc, Creative Producer

In conceiving Tributaries, Denise and Erika have gone beyond anything I had imagined for the opening of Luminato. It has been an inspiration to witness the coming together of this event, the gathering of so many amazing artists and the profound depth of thought and cultural connectivity motivating and shaping the program. I invite everyone who wants to feel the power and vitality of Indigenous culture today to join us on June 14.”  Josephine Ridge, Artistic Director, Luminato


OPENING: A Cree Cabaret, 6 – 7 p.m.
FREE By reservation only as limited seating available. Click here for more information or to book a seat.

Tomson Highway is a world-renowned Cree playwright, composer, musician, novelist and language advocate.  His best-known works include the plays The Rez Sisters, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, The (Post) Mistress, and his best-selling novel, Kiss of the Fur Queen. This program features highlights of Highway’s musical canon performed by Highway on piano with vocalist Patricia Cano and Marcus Ali on saxophone. A Cree Cabaret is a lively, world-class cabaret and the opening show in The Famous Spiegeltent.

PART 1: Roots, 7 – 8 p.m.

“Tributaries branch, fork and feed into larger waters, and these water systems are the keepers of land knowledge as they interact with the environment. Tributaries’ mainstage program kicks off with its first tribute to the knowledge keepers in the ROOTS program.” Denise Bolduc

Alberta-based seven-time Grammy-nominated Northern Cree and recent winners of The Lifetime Achievement Award (Indigenous Music Awards, Manito Ahbee Festival, Winnipeg) launch the evening’s outdoor program. Considered the world’s premier Pow-Wow singing group and the undisputed ambassadors of Round Dance music, Northern Cree open the evening, welcoming audiences to join them in the centre of the square. Following their opening song, multidisciplinary artist, cultural intellectual, and celebrity, Dr. Duke Redbird, through spoken-word will present a new commissioned poem paying tribute to the land, and the traditional and territorial Nations.  

Continuing to inspire togetherness and goodwill, Northern Cree returns to the stage with their distinctive popular rhythms.  In this last half hour, Laura Grizzlypaws and Norma Araiza enter the square performing their rarely seen dance styles.  Grizzlypaws, of the St’át’imc Nation (BC) and Bear Clan, has a creative, metaphorical relationship of the spirit of the bear. Feeling his/her pleasure, pain, anger, hope and freedom, she dances the Bear Dance. Norma Araiza, Yoeme (Yaqui) (Mex), the feeling of freedom by honouring the natural world and the white tail deer through her presentation of the Yaqui Deer Dance, or La Danza del Venado.

PART 2: Resurgence, 8 – 9 p.m.

Part two of Tributaries programming, Red Tidal Resurgence reflects the emergence of voices representing the power and resilience of Indigenous women. Created specifically for Tributaries, this new production features solo vocal performances by Iskwe, Jennifer Kreisberg, Cheri Maracle, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Tanya Tagaq, supported by a seven-piece band and a nine-member choir led by operative tenor, Jeremy Dutcher. Musical Direction and arrangement is driven by the vision of cellist and composer, Cris Derksen. The song list directly links to the Tributaries themes and includes existing work by each solo artist, Jeremy Dutcher and Cris Derksen.

PART 3: Reclamation, 9 – 10 p.m.

One of the world’s most singular voices, Lila Downs (Mixteca) brings poignant storytelling that transcends all language barriers. Raised in Minnesota and Oaxaca, this global superstar’s exquisite artistry bridges traditions from across the Americas, with influences ranging from the folk and ranchera music of Mesicao and South America to North American folk, jazz, blues and hip-hop. As a passionate human-rights activist, Lila’s lyrics often highlight issues relating to social justice, sharing stories that too often go untold.  

PART 4: Emancipation, 10 – 11 p.m.

Tributaries culminates with a DJ-VJ “Call & Response” interaction across David Pecaut Square with Bear Witness (Cayuga) and Lido Pimienta (Afro-Columbian, Wayuu). These two dynamic artists will call on each other to express messages through music, visual imagery and vocals (Pimienta). Each artist will demonstrate their distinct style in response to Roots, Resurgence, Reclamation and Emancipation. Joining the stage are dance performers, Krystal Riverz, ShaMantan, Siez Swift, Briskool, John Hupfield and JayRobi.

Lido Pimienta (aka Soundsister) is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist who exists in a roulette of musical journeys from traditional Columbian percussion to darker avant-garde electronica soundscapes united by her explosive yet heart-warming voice. Bear Witness is a multimedia artist, DJ, filmmaker, producer and member of electro-rap DJ collective, A Tribe Called Red (ATCR), based in Ottawa. He remixes appropriated images and sound to claim visual sovereignty over Indigenous representation and imagined Indigenous futures.


  • Artwork for Tributaries is created by Haudenosaunee artist Monique Bedard (Aura):
  • Bimmadiziwing Tattoo Parlour: Red Pepper Spectacle Arts will offer the emblematic image of the Ode’min/Heartberry in the form of an airbrush tattoo. Free to attending public.   
  • Note: Ode’min Giizis (pronunced ‘o-DAY-min Gee-zis): meaning the Heart-berry Moon or Strawberry Moon
  • Luminato’s opening night is presented by Ontario150 and TD Bank Group.  


About Denise Bolduc – Tributaries Creative Producer

Denise Bolduc is an accomplished creative leader recognized for her significant contributions and involvement within a multitude of diverse arts disciplines locally, nationally and internationally. Notable projects: Beyond 150 Years:  An Acknowledgement of Indigenous Film (Vancouver, BC 2017), Miiyuu Pimaatswin (Native Women in the Arts, TO 2016), Songs in the Key of Cree (TO, 2015), Maadaadizi/Summer Journeys (Grand Finale, Pan Am Games Art Relay, TO, 2015), Thunderbird Marketplace (One of Kind Show, TO, 2014), and as the founding Artistic Director, Planet IndigenUS (2004). She is a sought after guest speaker/presenter, host and moderator, an instructor with the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, a consultant, and a mentor to numerous artists and arts leaders. Denise is a member of the Batchewana First Nation / Lake Superior Anishinaabeg.

About Erika A. Iserhoff – Tributaries Associate Producer

Erika A. Iserhoff is an multi-disciplinary artist of Omushkego/Eeyou Cree ancestry and is a member of Constance Lake First Nation. She is the current Artistic Producer for Native Women in the Arts, and is founding member of the Chocolate Woman Collective, and the Co-Artistic Director for the Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator. Erika works to collaborate with artists, communities, and reflect Indigenous cultural practices within her art and design work. She is a graduate from the OCADU with a degree in Material Arts & Design where she now teaches as a sessional professional within the Indigenous Visual Culture Program. She also has a Dora Award for Outstanding Costume Design for the play Agokwe by Waawaate Fobister (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 2008).

About Quach George – Tributaries Event Coordinator

Quach George is originally from Shawnee, Oklahoma with roots from the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and Mohawks of Akwesasne. Quach has worked as a producer, stage manager, event promoter, stylist and designer for various events nationally. Having previously worked with imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, as part of the events team and for the art exhibit Indian Giver exhibition (Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator Collective, 2016). She is a Aboriginal Cultural Ambassador with experience in educational programming and facilitation, visual and performance arts, as well as heritage interpretation. With a love for all things art related, Quach is committed to offering the Indigenous community with quality programs that offer a resurgence and preservation of Indigenous arts and culture.


Rick Banville – Co-Production Manager

Derek Bruce – Co-Production Manager

Meg Mackay – Event Associate  

Manny Sound – Event Associate

Luminato is Toronto’s international multi-arts, multi-platform festival dedicated to performance, visual art, music, theatre, dance, and programming that cuts across traditional art form boundaries. The 2017 festival runs June 14 to 25, launching Luminato’s second decade. In its first decade, Luminato became one of the preeminent international arts festivals in North America, having commissioned close to 100 new works of art, with more than 3,000 performances featuring 11,000 artists from over 40 countries. Curated by Artistic Director Josephine Ridge and led by CEO Anthony Sargent CBE, Luminato is a charitable, not-for-profit, globally connected cultural organization proudly based in Toronto. Download the Luminato 2017 Festival Guide:  


Co-Presentation with aluCine Latin Film & Media Arts Festival

Native Women in the Arts is pleased to announce an upcoming collaboration with aluCine Latin Film & Media Arts Festival in June 2017. We will be co-presenting the following films:


Birthing a New Cinema
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 I 7:00pm
Jackman Hall, AGO, 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto
FB Event Page:

Opening this year’s festival is a double bill of stories addressing the double meaning of labour. Both provide intimate accounts of birthing practices in Central American communities and they are equally concerned with doing so from the perspective of women. Yet, each film also explores the way the roles of several members in these communities take on new responsibilities. From indigenous midwives struggling to impart ancestral knowledge about child rearing in a world facing increasing health risks, to the tale of a shepherdess put in charge of her household’s livelihood while her mother writhes in the throes of childbirth, these films become testaments to labour’s transformative power.



Thursday, June 8, 2017 I 7:00pm
Jackman Hall, AGO, 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto
FB Event Page:

Drawing from eclectic filmic styles including stop-motion animation, pseudo-public service announcements and testimonials, sometimes within a single film, this program features and celebrates the contemporary output of indigenous cinema. Collectively, the films presented grapple with the overarching question: how are indigenous communities appropriating a western medium such as cinema to express their lifeways? In many of the films young and old partake in creating a visual representation that reflect a vast cultural history, narrative traditions, and understanding of the known world. These films, mostly created by collectives, alter the age-old paradigm of the auteur as a lone genius.


 About aluCine Latin Film & Media Arts Festival:

The aluCine Toronto Latin Film + Media Arts Festival is Canada’s longest-running Latin film festival. The festival functions as a vital Canadian outlet for emerging and established Latin filmmakers living in Canada, Latin America and the diaspora, while our year-round screenings, symposiums and workshops promote the development of Latin film and culture in Toronto. In all of its endeavours, aluCine strives to transgress aesthetic, ideological and geographical borders and to transcend pre-established notions of representation as they pertain to Latin American culture in Canada.



Ka’nikonhrí:yo Gatherings: Alan Corbiere and Katsitsionni Fox

We are pleased to announce the next two speakers for the Ka’nikonhrí:yo Gatherings:

The Ka’nikonhrí:yo Gatherings connects cultural leaders to the Indigenous community in Toronto. Leaders who discuss identity, wellness, language revitalization, traditional arts, ceremony, and history, as well as issues that face our communities such as climate change and the environment, decolonization, reconciliation, and sovereignty. Through monthly presentations, based on each leader’s own distinct nation and culture, the gatherings strengthen, empower, and support our community members. Ka’nikonhrí:yo means to have a good mind in Kanien’kéha (Mohawk).

This Month’s Gathering: 

Anishinaabe Wampum and Treaty Teachings with Alan Ojiig Corbiere. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 | 7pm – 9pm
CSI Annex, The Garage, 720 Bathurst St, Toronto
FB Event Page:

Cultural Leader

Alan Ojiig Corbiere, Bne doodem (Ruffed Grouse clan), is an Anishinaabe from M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island.  He was educated on the reserve and then attended the University of Toronto for a Bachelor of Science, he then entered York University and earned his Masters of Environmental Studies.  During his masters studies he focused on Anishinaabe narrative and Anishinaabe language revitalization.  For five years he served as the Executive Director at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (OCF) in M’Chigeeng, a position which also encompassed the roles of curator and historian. Currently he is the Anishinaabemowin Revitalization Program Coordinator at Lakeview School, M’Chigeeng First Nation, where he and his team are working on a culturally based second language program that focuses on using Anishinaabe stories to teach language.

Next Month’s Gathering: 

In partnership with imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts we will present the film Ohero:kon – Under the Husk, followed by a Q&A with director and producer Katsitsionni Fox. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017 | 2pm – 4pm
Jackman Hall, AGO, 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto
FB Event Page:

Ohero:kon – Under the Husk

Ohero:kon – Under the Husk” is a documentary following the journey of two Mohawk girls as they take part in their traditional passage rites to becoming Mohawk Women. Kaienkwinehtha and Kasennakohe are childhood friends from traditional families living in the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne that straddles the U.S. / Canada border. They both take part in a four- year adolescent passage rites ceremony called Oheró:kon “Under the Husk” that has been revived in their community. This ceremony challenges them spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. It shapes the women they become.

Director and Producer

Katsitsionni Fox, (Writer/Director/Producer) has been making films since 2003 in the Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne, where she resides. Her credits include: Sacredly Stoked, a short drama related to the traditional uses of tobacco. This film was distributed across Ontario and partially funded by Cancer Care Ontario. She has also produced several short films that relate to domestic violence awareness and environmental awareness. Katsitsionni directed and produced the film “Ohero:kon – Under the Husk” a documentary following the journey of two Mohawk girls as they take part in their traditional passage rites to becoming Mohawk Women. Katsitsionni received the Jane Glassco Award for Emerging Filmmaker at the imagineNATIVE Film Fesitival in 2016 as well as the Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking Award at LA Skins Fest in 2016.

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts

imagineNATIVE is the world’s largest presenter of Indigenous screen content. The organisation is recognised locally, nationally, and internationally for excellence and innovation in programming and as the global centre for Indigenous media arts. imagineNATIVE (legal entity: The Centre for Aboriginal Media) is a registered charity committed to creating a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples and cultures through the presentation of contemporary Indigenous-made media art (film, video, audio and digital media).

Our Final Event in the Kwe Performance Series: Jennifer Kreisberg with Guest Artist, March 30 – 31


Join us Friday, March 31, for renowned Tuscarora singer Jennifer Kreisberg.

Jennifer will be accompanied by Derek Miller & Cheri Maracle and the evening will include guest artists Kristi Lane Sinclair and the Hidden River Singers. This concert is part of our final Kwe Performance Series events for the season, and please note that the previously announced performance with Ulali Project has been rescheduled to Fall 2017 .

Performance: Friday, March 31, 8:00pm

Venue: The Conversation Room, The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St W. Toronto

Tickets: Adults $20.00/Elders, Students, Underemployed & Art Workers $10.00

On March 30, at the University of Toronto, Jennifer will present a free workshop at the Faculty of Music with discussions about traditional and modern Tuscarora life. She will perform and discuss hand drum songs, invite participants to join in, and answer questions.

Free Workshop: Thursday, March 30, 10:00am – 12:00pm

Venue: Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, Edward Johnson Building – Room 330, 80 Queen’s Park Crescent Toronto

For more info:

Join the Facebook Event Page:

Artist Bios:

Jennifer Kreisberg

Mother, Singer, Composer, Producer, Teacher, and Activist: Jennifer Kreisberg (Tuscarora, North Carolina) comes from four generations of Seven Singing Sisters through the maternal line and has been singing since she was young. She is known for her fierce vocals and soaring range. Her lilting, breath-taking harmonies will delight your ears.

Jennifer has been singing with the critically acclaimed Native women’s trio Ulali since she was seventeen. Her voice has perfectly woven the high strand of Ulali’s renowned harmony with incomparable skill, and grace for over seventeen years, helping to create a new sound in Indian Country. Adding to the group, her sharp wit and stage presence infused Ulali’s shows with strong vocals, humor and camaraderie with the audience.

Jennifer was a Master Teaching Artist for the State of Connecticut Commission on the Arts for over four years. She is frequently called upon to guest lecture and conduct vocal workshops at universities, schools, Native communities and at festivals throughout the United States and Canada. She has done background vocals for various groups and voice-overs for commercials some of which feature her own compositions and highlight her production skills.

Derek Miller

Guitarist and singer/songwriter Derek Miller is a journeyman musician with eclectic taste and a knack for blues-inflected roots rock. Born on the Six Nations of the Grand River, Mohawk Territory, in Canada in 1974, Miller became interested in music in his early teens, and by the late ’90s had not only toured with iconic Canadian vocalist Buffy Sainte-Marie, but had also won a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award. In 2000 he performed on and co-produced Keith Secola & the Wild Band’s album Fingermonkey. Then, in 2002 he released his debut album, Music Is the Medicine, for which he garnered a Juno Award. Extensive touring followed his debut success, and by 2005 Miller found himself exhausted and struggling with drug and alcohol dependency. Subsequently, he entered rehab and spent the next year or so working to regain his physical, mental, and spiritual health. In 2007 he released his sophomore effort, The Dirty Looks.

Cheri Maracle

Cheri Maracle is a multi- award nominated Singer and Actress from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Ontario. Cheri has been performing in Canada, the U.S. and Europe in the last 20 years, and has extensive music, theatre, television & film credits to her name. Cheri’s early music influences began in Women’s traditional hand drum group Tiyoweh. She then penned two original music albums, Closer To Home (2006), and If I Am Water (2013), to critical acclaim.

Kirsti Lane Sinclair

Fierce and feisty, Haida/Cree singer-songwriter Kristi Lane Sinclair is emblematic of a new wave of Canadian indigenous artists who are turning perceptions upside down. Raised in British Columbia’s backwaters, and drawing more from a DIY/indie aesthetic than traditional or mainstream music, Sinclair’s musical roots create a darkly intoxicating mix of grunge, folk and classical. Her smoky folk is rich and orchestral, underpinned with alternately snarling guitars and warm strings. Watch her six-part documentary series airing on APTN, Face the Music follows Kristi’s journey as she releases and tours her latest album.  Her latest “sonic acoustic” and forth album, The Ability to Judge Distance, will see a summer 2017 release.

Hidden River Singers

Michelle St. John, Rose Stella and Shandra Spears from the Hidden River Singers are some of Toronto’s best and most innovative Indigenous women singers, songwriters, actors and arts activists. They first came together during the Idle No More protests and sang to honour the life and memory of the late Misty Upham for imagineNATIVE film and media art festival 2014. They opened the “Strong Women, Strong Voices” event at the Aboriginal Pavilion during the Pan Am Games, and performed at “Maadaaizi Summer Journeys.”  They have been featured at book launches for Charlie Angus, Leanne Simpson and Pam Palmater, and have performed at opening ceremonies for a number of special women’s events.  Most recently, Hidden River Singers recently performed as part of the “Honouring our Families” event for the Toronto Central Regional Cancer Program.

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.

Miigwetch to all who made it out to the sold out performance for the Inuit Showcase at the Music Gallery with Kathleen Ivaluarjuk Merritt, Taqralik Partridge, and Nukariik! And to our second event in partnership with the Feminist Art Conference (FAC) at OCAD University, Sadie Buck and the Hey He Yays!

Ka’nikonhrí:yo Gatherings: A new series

Native Women in the Arts is pleased to announce the Ka’nikonhrí:yo Gatherings: A new series starting with a hand drum making workshop on March 5, 2017.

The Ka’nikonhrí:yo Gatherings will connect cultural leaders to the Indigenous community in Toronto and will strengthen, empower, and support our community members through monthly lectures, discussions, and workshops. As an Indigenous arts and cultural organization, we are dedicated to supporting our community by offering programming that is rich in cultural content and that contributes to the process of reclaiming culture.

In the Ka’nikonhrí:yo Gatherings, we will present leaders who can discuss identity, wellness, language revitalization, traditional arts, ceremony, and history, as well as issues that face our communities such as climate change and the environment, decolonization, reconciliation, and sovereignty. These discussions will be through teachings within an Indigenous context, and based on each leader’s own distinct nation and culture.  Ka’nikonhrí:yo means to have a good mind in Kanien’kéha (Mohawk).

We are pleased to present the first three speakers in the series:

  • Hand Drum Making with Clayton Samuel King, March 2017
  • Wampum and Treaties with Alan Corbiere, April 2017
  • Under the Husk Film and Rights of Passage with Katsitsionni Fox, May 2017

Clayton Samuel King “Waab-Shki-Makoons” will present a hand drum making workshop at the Centre for Social Innovation, with discussions about traditional and modern Anishinaabe life. He will guide each participant as they create their own hand drum,discuss Anishinaabe teachings sounding the drum, and answer questions.

Workshop: Sunday, March 5, 12-5pm
Centre for Social Innovation, 4th Floor – Innovation Lab, 215 Spadina Ave, Toronto
For more info:

Clayton Samuel King “Waab-Shki-Makoons” is a professional artist who graduated in April 2010 with a Fine Art Advanced Diploma from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. Clayton has painted predominantly with acrylics, but works with other mediums like photography, sculpture, graphite, traditional First Nation’s crafts, and he also performs as a Northern Traditional Pow Wow Dancer. He has displayed his art in four solo exhibitions and 22 selected group exhibitions since his studies. Clayton contributes in the education sector in Simcoe County by doing First Nations painting and cultural interpretive workshops that help bridge an understanding of First Nations art and history to native and non-native students alike. Born and raised in St.Catharines, Ontario, Clayton has been a resident of Barrie, Ontario, since the fall of 2011. He has also run his business White Bear Art since that time as well. Clayton Samuel King is of Potawatomi descent and is a member of Beausoleil First Nation.


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.