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Buffy Sainte-Marie opens Planet IndigenUS, July 31 2015 | Image Source:


Over the next ten days Torontonians will have the chance to explore a variety of traditions, arts and culture from various Indigenous communities around the world. Over 300 artists will be performing in Toronto and Brantford from July 31 to August 9 at Planet IndigenUS. Performers will be coming from as far away as Mongolia and Australia to celebrate  their Indigenous traditional cultures within the landscape of modern globalization. MUSKRAT Magazine presents ten unique acts that you can find at Planet IndigenUS 2015.

Most acts have are performing at various times at various venues over the celebration unless otherwise stated. Check out here for more information: Planet IndigenUS Events


1. Opening Ceremony with Buffy St-Marie  $30.00

Friday, July 31  8pm- 10:30pm | Sanderson Centre for Performing Arts, Brantford ON

Cree musician Buffy Sainte-Marie kicks of Planet IndigenUS at the historic Sanderson Centre in downtown Brantford. Having been around since the 60’s, Sainte-Marie combines her high energy stage presence with intellectual songs to tell powerful stories. Award-winning Six Nations entertainer Derek Miller and rising star Logan Staats open the show.


2. Heck Init Comedy Night with Howie Miller   $10.00

Tuesday, August 4  9pm-10pm  | Harbourfront Centre, Toronto ON

Howie Miller is known for his quick wit with a routine full of unique viewpoints on multi ethnic stereotypes with a mix of stellar impressions. He has garnered numerous television appearances and is in great demand on the corporate comedy circuit. ‘Heck Init’ is a term that is used as a response to many things, such as a semi-funny joke, or seeing something funny happen.


3. Links to Our Past: Goombine   Free

Various times and venues

Goombine, a descendant of the Wadi Wadi people of Australia’s Yuin Nation. He is a renowned choreographer and dancer who recreates traditional Indigenous stories in a contemporary context. As a keeper of traditional Aboriginal knowledge he is actively involved in the preservation of Aboriginal culture through sharing Aboriginal song and dance.


4. Dances on the Water: Team Dancers with Red Pepper Spectacle   Free

Saturday August 8  7pm-8pm | Harbourfront Centre, Toronto ON

Team Dancing is an emerging Pow Wow dance genre where women’s jingle, men’s grass, men’s fancy and women’s fancy shawl dancers join forces to choreograph a routine. They will be accompanied by a pow wow drum group and a sculpture extravaganza presented by Red Pepper Spectacle Arts.

Benny Walker
Benny Walker | Image Source:

5. Music Yet to Come with Benny Walker   Free

Various times and venues

Singer-songwriter Benny Walker performs love songs and epic tales mixed with passion for the land and the people. The Victorian Indigenous singer/songwriter inherited his passion for music from his father and grandfathers, all talented musicians in their own right. Watch out for him at an artist talk on Saturday, August 8 at 4pm at the Harbourfront Centre.


6. Mask Dancing Workshop     Free

Various times and venues

Uaajeerneq is the East Greenlandic form of storytelling through mask dance. It mixes fertility dances, clownery and the art of fear. While it was traditionally performed during the winter months as a respite from the cold, it is now performed for entertainment and celebration. Teacher, Vivi Sorensen is an Inuk actress from Nuuk, Greenland.


7. ImagineNative presents Free Flicks: Boy    Free

Wednesday, August 5  9pm- 11pm Harbourfront Centre, Toronto ON

New Zealand, 1984. Michael Jackson is everywhere, and a young Maori lad (newcomer James Rolleston) is about to meet the father he barely remembers. Boy, captures the awkwardness of a family reunion with people you’re supposed to love, but barely know. It also features a fine performance from writer-director Waititi his shiftless father. Film country: New Zealand



8. Indigenous Media and Storytelling    Free

Wednesday August, 5  7pm-8pm | Toronto Council Fire, Toronto ON

Enjoy an evening of conversation with Rebeka Tabobondung, editor of MUSKRAT Magazine. Tabobondung is a community documentary filmmaker, poet and Indigenous knowledge researcher. Her documentary works have screened at festivals across Canada and internationally, while her written works have been published in numerous journals and anthologies throughout North America.


9. Music Yet to Come with Anjinai    Free

Saturday August 8  8pm- 9pm | Harbourfront Centre, Toronto ON

Ajinai, resurrects traditional Mongolian music for the 21st century. Like many urban-dwelling young people from minority groups, Ajinai finds a sense of pride, identity and a way of making their own modernity in these traditions. By digging deep into their culture and newer art forms, they’ve found form of artistic expression that speaks to both past and the future.

Sak Tzevul | Image Source:
Sak Tzevul | Image Source:

10. Music Yet to Come with Sak Tzevul    Free

Sunday August 9  3:30pm- 4:30pm | Harbourfront Centre, Toronto ON
Sak Tzevul was founded in Zinacantan, Chiapas by Damian Martinez, a native of the town, whose songs were composed in the languages of Tzotzil and Spanish. Their music is a blend of the Maya Tzotzil culture with influences of both post-modern rock and classical music. They build pathways for community education, public safety and friendship through music, to combat the growing violence and misunderstanding plaguing Mexico.


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About The Author

Erica Commanda

Born in Toronto, Erica Commanda (Algonquin/Ojibwe) grew up in the small community of Pikwakanagan. From there she moved across Canada living in Ottawa, Vancouver and now Toronto, working in the bar/hospitality industry, mastering the art of listening to stories from her regulars while slinging and spilling drinks (at them or to them). And now through a series of random decisions and events in life she is on a journey discovering and mastering her own knack for storytelling as Associate Editor for MUSKRAT Magazine.

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