ST. CATHARINES – The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and Kakekalanicks Indigenous Arts & Consultancy present Celebration of Nations, a gathering of Indigenous arts, culture and tradition in downtown St. Catharines from 8–10 September 2017.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre,” said Kakekalanicks president and Artistic Director Michele-Elise Burnett (Métis). “The great Métis leader Louis Riel once said, ‘My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.’ Through theCelebrations of Nations programming delivered at this state-of-the-art venue, we’re doing our best to make that vision come true.”
Celebration of Nations will showcase a variety of Indigenous arts and artists, ranging from traditional and contemporary music, dance and visual arts to film screenings, creative workshops, teaching, and hands-on activities for both children and adults. Highlights include:
- Headlining performances from Buffy Sainte-Marie, DJ Shub Pow Wow Step Dance Party, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s Re-Quickening and a special RUMBLE Unity Jam Session (with Kenny Lee Lewis, Derek Miller and many special guests).
- The Backyard (Mann Raceway Plaza + Lancaster, Brooks & Welch Pathway) – a free space behind the PAC that will feature a Métis Encampment, workshops, Indigenous food and music all weekend long.
- FREE Workshop Series that includes opportunities to learn about and make Métis dot art on rocks, a hand-held drum, Unity bracelets and tiny moccasins to be donated locally.
- The Film Series – includes Niagara premiere of the Sundance award-winning RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World (2016), Moose River Crossing (2013) by Shirley Cheechoo, FREE screenings ofimagineNATIVE Shorts and Gord Downie’s The Secret Path, and more.
Artistic Director Michele-Elise Burnett (Métis) and Artistic Producer Tim Johnson (Mohawk) have shaped programming for Celebration of Nations, with support of the Celebration of Nations Advisory Council and PAC programming staff.
“Canada’s sesquicentenary and the findings and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission serve as context for our programming,” said Tim Johnson (former Associate Director at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian). “We endeavor to pull back the curtain, in some cases quite literally, to reveal and commemorate Indigenous contributions to Canada’s defence and formation as well as to display the continuity and scope of Indigenous influence upon Canadian society today.”
Celebration of Nations is an opportunity for Niagara residents and visitors to actively participate in an inclusive and engaging community gathering, built on the Two Row Wampum ideology that promotes walking together, in parallel, with respect, compassion and understanding to cultivate an inclusive community.
“We are very proud to host the Celebration of Nations in St. Catharines at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. The Niagara region has a deep shared history with our First Peoples and this year is an important opportunity to learn, share, and reflect, as we forge our shared future together,” St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik.
Kakekalanicks’s mission is to promote Indigenous art and artists to broad-based audiences and acts to educate the public about the deep-rooted beauty and uniqueness of each Nation’s culture, heritage, and traditions through the medium of the Arts.
The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre aims to provide meaningful opportunities to bring our community together in a place of mutual understanding, empathy, and respect through the arts.
Media Contact: CelebrationofNations@
About the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre is a 95,000 square foot cultural complex comprised of four state-of-the-art performance venues that host a signature presentation of international and local performing artists. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre plays a vital role in the renaissance of downtown St. Catharines, serving as the catalyst in modernizing the area and reinforcing the brilliance of Niagara region’s diverse cultural cluster.