Robbie Antone’s Blues Machine. Photo: Caroline Holm
In our culture storytelling is a way to preserve our history as Anishnaabe people.
Wasauksing First Nation is a small island with a big voice. The fourth annual Storyteller Concert was held at Wasauksing’s community arena in August 2014. The Anishnaabe have a rich history of storytelling which this concert encourages and showcases. The performers who shared the stage are based not only throughout Canada, but also from our own backyard in Wasausking.
To kick off the evening, Wasauksing’s own—and tremendously talented—Jimmy Dean Walker took to the stage. Life on the rez has had a significant influence on his lyrics and bluesy storytelling drawl. Other notable entertainers that shared the stage were Deb Misener-Jones, The Michael Granka Band, and Robbie Antone’s Blues Machine. From the 30,000 Islands to Swiss alpine bells, and fiddling that blew the roof off, the Storyteller Concert did not disappoint. Hearing the sweet sounds of music resonating in the arena and across the water makes a person not want to miss this concert—and if you did, better luck next year!
In our culture, storytelling is a way to preserve our history as Anishnaabe people. A long time ago the Elders would share stories with our youth, this way we could pass down our teachings and knowledge to future generations. For some Wasauksing youth, it all started with ReZ’91’s tiny radio station located in the village of the community. Through this inspiration and exposure, some youth have started various small media and production businesses and chose careers in television broadcasting.
As a student in Radio Broadcasting at Seneca College, I received ReZ’91’s Storyteller bursary which has helped me through my studies. Who would have guessed high-tech headphones would cost close to three hundred dollars? Chi-Miigwech (Big Thanks) to ReZ’91 for their support and to their volunteers for the many hours of peddling raffle tickets.
This wonderful event could not have been possible without the sponsors, volunteers, community support, and audience. Sponsors included: Rock95, Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario Arts Council, RBC Royal Bank, The Mystic Loon, and last but not least—and certainly my biggest supporters—ReZ’91 and MUSKRAT Magazine from Wasauksing First Nation. A big shout out to Doris Potts-Zyganiuk, Sally Bailey, Cynthia King, and Bernie Drake for their endless volunteer support and enthusiasm, and anyone else I may not know that volunteers their time too.
The Annual Wasauksing Storyteller Concert will be coming back next year with new over-the-top performances. Performers and volunteers will be as seasoned as Bernie’s (Almost) Famous Burgers. Without sponsors an event like this would not be possible, how would we all fit into Bernie’s kitchen for a burger then? Meat over the fire, to meeting around the fire, this has been the Anishnaabe way throughout our rich history.