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A Tribe Called Red at Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver | Image Source:

The Aboriginal Pavilion is a celebration of Indigenous arts, culture and sports. It’s a rare international platform that showcases Indigenous artists from all over North, South and Central America. Events will be held between July 14-26 at Fort York and Harbourfront Centre. They will include musical performances, dance, theatre, visual arts and traditional crafts. All events are free to attend. With so much entertainment to chose from MUSKRAT Magazine presents to you eight exciting acts to check out at the Aboriginal Pavilion.

Cree Cabaret with Tomson Highway  –  Tuesday July 14, 7pm

Two-spirited, Cree playwright Tomson Highway, was born in a snow bank on the Manitoba/Nunavut border to a family of nomadic caribou hunters in 1951. He grew up speaking Cree and Dene and is registered with the Barren Lands First Nation. Today he is a celebrated playwright, novelist, and pianist/songwriter. Sudbury-born, Peruvian singer Patricia Cano will be on hand to star in his musical The (Post)Mistress.

A Tribe Called Red  –  Saturday July 18, 10pm

DJ NDN (Nipissing FN) , Bear Witness (Cayuga FN) and 2oolman (Mohawk, Six Nations of Grand River) form A Tribe Called Red. The trio are responsible for creating groundbreaking contemporary powwow music. Since releasing their first self titled album in 2012 they have successfully mixed traditional powwow vocals and drumming with hip hop, reggae, moombahton and dubstep.

Image source: 1491's twitterpage
1491s | Image source: 1491’s Twitter Page

Comedy Night hosted by the 1491’s  –  Sunday July 19, 6pm

1491’s are comprised of five men from the Dakota, Muscogee (Creek), Navajo, Osage and Seminole tribes in the United States. The comedy group are known for their Youtube clips satirizing Native American stereotypes and representation in American society. Founded in 2009 they have managed to draw a sizeable Facebook following of 500,000.

Digging Roots  –  Tuesday July 21, 9pm

Musical duo, Raven Kanatakta and Shoshona Kish hail from Winneway, QC and Batchewana First Nation respectively. Since debuting their first album Seeds in 2006, they have been JUNO nominated twice for Aboriginal Album of the Year and won the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Group in 2007.  Their sound is an eclectic mix of blues, rock, reggae and hip hop.
Susan Aglukark | Image source:

Susan Aglukark  –  Thursday July 23, 9pm

Born in Churchill MB Inuk singer, Susan Aglukark, is considered a Canadian cultural treasure.  She is known for harmonizing Inuktitut, English and other First Nations languages with contemporary pop compositions to tell the stories of the First Nations people of Canada. Aglukark has released seven studio albums and won three Juno Awards since 1990.

Logan Staats  –  Saturday July 25, 7pm

Mohawk solo artist, Logan Staats, was born on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and grew up in Brantford, Ontario. The guitarist and vocalist is known for his distinct haunting voice, story like lyrics and raw melodies. The former front man of Ghost Town Orchestra has recently debuted his first solo album Goodbye Goldia this past Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2015.

Derek Miller  –  Saturday July 25, 10pm  

Another Mohawk musician from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Derek Miller, began his career by touring with Buffy St-Marie. His sound is reminiscent of classic old school rock, it’s refreshing. So far he has released three albums, won two Juno Awards in 2003 and 2008 for Aboriginal Record of the Year and performed at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games.

Crystal Shawanda  –  Sunday July 26, 5pm

Ojibwe country singer, Crystal Shawanda, is originally from the Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island on Lake Huron. After being turned down by a ‘respected music executive’ in Nashville because ‘Native Americans don’t make sense in country music’, she decided to prove him wrong through hard work and determination, eventually getting signed by RCA records. Since 2008 she has released four albums and won 11 music awards.

Crystal Shawanda
Crystal Shawanda | Image source:
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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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