Inaabandam Symposium

Native Women in the Arts (NWIA) is pleased to officially announce the Inaabandam Symposium, co-presented with the Toronto Media Arts Centre.


Inaabandam will take place January 17, 18 and 19, 2020, at the Toronto Media Art Centre (TMAC) on the treaty lands and territory of the Mississauga of the Credit, and the traditional territories of the Huron Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe. Inaabandam (pronounced in-aw-buhn-duhm) means “to dream a certain way” in Anishinaabemowin. 

The Inaabandam Symposium will foreground issues of concern and interest to Indigenous Women and other Indigenous Gender Marginalized artists from multiple disciplines including film, performing arts, visual arts, and customary practices.

Inaabandam will feature teachings with elders; panel discussions with Indigenous artists, curators and leaders; a visual art exhibition, and an opening night reception. 

Panelist and moderators include Teddy Syrette, Melody McKiver, Tiio Horn, Janet Rogers, Jenny Blackbird, Kaya DaCosta, Joi T. Arcand, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Susan Blight, Aylan Couchie, Darlene Naponse,Thirza Curhand, Fallon Simard, Niki Little, Megan Feheley, Jocelyn Piirainen, Raven Davies, Dan and Mary Lou Smoke, Elwood Jimmy, Pam Palmater, Tannis Neilson, and more!

On Friday, January 17, 2020, from 5 PM11 PM the Inaabandam Symposium will open with the presentation of the 5th annual Barbara Laronde Award to winner Joe Wood. This will be followed by a musical performance from Melody McKiver, and a catered reception with bar and beats by DJ Jams.

Friday, January 17, 2020, will also be the opening of the Barbara Laronde Award Exhibition, on site at TMAC. This special exhibition will include work from the winners of the 2015 – 2018 Barbara Laronde Awards: Aylan Couchie, Janelle Wawia, Lucille Atlookan, Caitlyn Bird, as well as the 2019 Barbara Laronde Award Winner – Joe Wood. All events on Friday, January 17 are free and open to the public even if you are not registering for the symposium and attending it for its duration.

The Barbara Laronde Award Exhibition will be running from Friday, January 17, 2020 – Friday, January 31, 2020, daily from 11 AM – 6 PM in TMAC’s “Small Gallery” at 32 Lisgar Street, Toronto, ON. 

For more information on the Inaabandam Symposium, including schedule, event descriptions and accessibility, please visit the NWIA website


The cost of registration for the symposium will be $50 for the whole weekend or FREE for those who are low income. Registration for the symposium can be done at

Please note that after registering through Eventbrite NWIA will be sending delegates an Inaabandam Symposium info form to be filled out. This form allows us to get to know the needs of our symposium delegates (dietary, accessibility etc.) as we strive to best serve our community. 

Travel Subsidy

NWIA is able to offer a limited amount of travel and accommodation subsidies for Indigenous delegates traveling from out of town, who would not otherwise be able to attend the symposium. Priority will be given to emerging artists and artists from more remote communities. 

To apply for the travel subsidy complete this online form

Those who qualify will be contacted to book travel and accommodation.


At Native Women the Arts, we aim to create an environment that is considerate, barrier-free and accommodating to our community. Please visit our in-depth accessibility page before attending the symposium for more info

If you require further assistance in attending the conference please contact Program Manager, Quach George at

Barbara Laronde Award 

The Barbara Laronde 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 Gender Marginalized 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.

Toronto Media Arts Centre

The Toronto Media Arts Centre (TMAC) is a new permanent home for Toronto’s media arts organizations, and an accessible public space for art, creation and collaboration in the Queen West Triangle.

In the heart of Toronto’s Art and Design District, TMAC is a diverse and collaborative environment where everyone can engage meaningfully with art and technology. TMAC integrates creation, production, presentation, education, conservation and dissemination practices and with a focus on community building and inclusivity.

Native Women in the Arts

NWIA (Native Women in the Arts) is a not-for-profit organization for First Nations, Inuit and Métis women, and other Indigenous Gender Marginalized folks who share the common interest of art, culture, community and the advancement of Indigenous peoples.

**For NWIA “Gender Marginalized” includes Women, Trans Men, as well as Two Spirit people who may identify as Non-Binary or Gender Queer.

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