Talking Stick Festival
2016 Festival Artists
Ashley Michaels was born in Winnipeg and is from the Métis Nation. She was in the theatrical productions Lily Alta and Voices of the Fraser. She was selected out of many across Canada to appear in the NBC’S Four Directions Showcase (The Baby Blues) in New York City. She has worked on Da Vinci’s City Hall, Edna Brown, Elsewhere, Edison and Leo, representing one of the missing women on the Highway of Tears in Snare, Tornado Valley, Strange Empire and Stories of the ER. Ashley currently plays Aunt Velma in Mohawk Girls.
Beaver T and the Divas is more of a musical movement than a band. Better described as Vancouver's very own upercharged Glee Club. This is a group with an amazing list of guest singers and players with each member bringing a different genre of music for the audience to experience. The core members of this band consist of musicians from all corners of the country that share common ideas and passions for bringing the best live show possible to the people. Individually, the members of this musical movement have travelled internationally and won various awards for performance as well as graced some of the big local studios with various recording projects. But collectively the members of this band strive to create a musical experience that will be a memorable one for all. Now celebrating its first successful year together, Beaver T and the Divas are continuing to break new ground and win over new fans with a constantly evolving show and cast of performers.
Brian Solomon is of Anishnaabe and Irish Descent, born in a remote Northern Ontario community - Shebanoning/Killarney - and his heritage informs much of what he does.
Three time Dora Mavor Moore Award and Gemini Award nominated, Brian has presented his work (Visual Art/Theatre/Dance) in Berlin, Ingolstadt, Bamburg, Amsterdam, London and Across Canada. A co-creation with Visual Artist Judy Ross on their film The Filmmaker, won best prize for experimental film at 'Watch Out!" film festival in Macedonia. Brian's "selected choreographic notes" was also published recently in TÄT, by the renowned Berlin gallery of the same name - inspired by a series he co-curated in the gallery entitled VAST REALMS.
Brian is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and holds an MA in Performance from the Laban Centre in London, UK. He has worked for dozens of creators from across Canada, the US, and Europe, and taught for many companies and arts institutions including one of Europe's foremost universities for performance, H.F.S. Ernst Busch (Berlin). He is passionate about helping people re-learn the ways of their forgotten bodies, and taking back the space those bodies occupy.
Carrielynn is an artist, singer/songwriter, traditional medicines practitioner, and a mother. Carrielynn’s music is a reflection of her mental and emotional evolution. The songs she writes and performs are true stories from real life circumstance, with observations of self, pain, joy, and humor. The music is a step away from her HipHop origins, but she feels Blues and folk music allows for greater depth and expression. Utilizing various instruments, Carrielynn explores her voice and her soul, sharing healing, story and feeling.
Cheri Maracle is an actress/singer/songwriter from Six Nations Ontario. Recently she appeared in The Road to Paradise for Human Cargo/Crow's Theatre (Toronto), and was featured at High Performance Rodeo with one woman show, Paddle Song. She is best known for her Gemini nominated role as Sara Bull, on APTN's Blackstone, and as Ms.Cardinal on CTV, MTV's DeGrassi She is a vocalist and has three albums available on iTunes. She is pleased to be performing here at Talking Stick!! Nia:Wen!!
Dana Claxton works in film, video, photography, single and multi channel video installation and performance art. Her practice investigates beauty, the body, the socio-political and the spiritual. Her work has been shown internationally and held in public and private collections. She has received numerous awards including the VIVA Award and the Eiteljorg Fellowship.
Claxton was born in Yorkton Saskatchewan and her family reserve is Wood Mountain Lakota First Nations.
Her paternal Euro-Canadian Grandmother taught her how to harvest and preserve food and her maternal Lakota grandmother taught her to seek justice.
“Dana Claxton’s work is aesthetically innovative, brilliantly written and expertly paced. The thrust of her practice is political, spiritual and social, making it an essential contribution not only to the field of media art, but generally, to a more honest sense of history.”
- Jason St. Laurent, 2002.
A professional artist for the past 13 years, Deanna Peters creates, performs, teaches and produces dance for stage, web, video, site-specific and beyond. She also works professionally in graphic design and digital communications, enabling her to re-imagine her movement practice through other media. Whether she's working in or out of the studio... It's all dance: mutablesubject.ca
Debra Sparrow was born and raised on the Musqueam Indian Reserve and is self-taught in Salish design and jewellery-making. Her work can be seen in various museums and institutions including the University of British Columbia, Vancouver International Airport, Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, WA. Debra designed the logo for the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. She also continues to work on pieces close to her heart at her home in Musqueam. It is Debra’s hope to educate others about the beauty and integrity of her people’s history through her art.
Debra is an acclaimed weaver who has been weaving for twenty years and is deeply involved with the revival of Musqueam weaving. Her Musqueam blankets are displayed at the Vancouver Airport, and at UBC. She is active in a program at the Museum of Anthropology designed to teach grade four children about Musqueam culture and history. She helped with the design of the Queen of the Night costume in the Vancouver Opera production of The Magic Flute.
The pieces Debra has included in the MatriArts exhibit include a dress, a coat, a welcome rug, and a child’s blanket entitled “The Academics of Art” that she made as part of a special project with the local school district. “What is so special about this blanket is that the children helped with the weaving, and as they learned the basic steps of weaving, they also learned how important it is to learn about the traditional lands and the people who create this unique style of weaving.” The blanket is on permanent display at (name) school, and served as the inspiration for the creation of a commercial blanket carrying the same design.
Since discovering the bass knob on her sub-woofer, one of Cheyanna’s dreams was to become a DJ. Since acquiring a pair of DJ decks and a mixer, ‘DJ KOOKUM’ became self -taught, learning new tricks of the DJ Mixing trade. Kokum means grandmother in the Native Cree language and is a nickname she has been stuck with since her early teens, must be that old soul. But don’t let that fool you, Kookum is an EDM lover since birth and will rock a club or an after hours crowd spinning anything from trap to hip-hop to funk to all kinds of house music.
Orene Askew aka DJ O Show is a proud Squamish Nation member who has brought amazing experiences to all types of events and functions for over 8 years! She has traveled near and far from Vancouver to Las Vegas to play a number of events from weddings to birthdays, holiday parties and corporate functions to restaurant and club openings, charity fundraisers, youth conferences and more.
O Show brings professionalism and consistency; she has explored many genres of music but remains true to her love for hip hop and R&B, incorporating different beats to ensure you never want to leave the dance floor.
DJ O Show is also an instructor at the School of Remix, teaching students with an inspired approach to pursue their dream of becoming a DJ. In addition to DJ’ing, she is an inspirational speaker, traveling across North America to bring ambition and drive to youth, encouraging them to make any dream they have into a reality.
Emily Neumann graduated from SFU’s Contemporary Arts program in June of 2014 with a BFA in Theatre. Her education focused on theatre production, specifically in stage management. Emily’s recent roles include Stage Manager for The North Plan by Upintheair Theatre (Nov. ’15), and Youth Program Coordinator for the 2016 PuSh Festival. In addition to being the Stage Manager for Indian Acts, Emily is also working on Indigenuity here at the Talking Stick Festival. She is grateful to be on board for both these projects.
Enter-Tribal is a collaboration between, Jb the First Lady and Chief Rock. Their first venture together was on Jb’s newest album Indigenous Girl Lifestyle. These two came together to create what is now known as Enter-Tribal. The traditional side of them both is brought to the table. Chief Rock brings his vocal sounds, from his Six Nations background, as a social song singer. His flows and tone on each track is so unique and capturing, that it grabs your attention and makes you listen. The Enter-Tribal sound with Jb the First Lady and Chief Rock, the unique capturing vocals, came together so amazing on their new albums, that created new fans every day. Their live performance is electrifying and everyone in the room can feel the good positive vibes that are bring brought on stage, as well, the high energy and non-stop beats during the show. They bring a clever blend of Pow wow style songs, as well as, being Pow wow dancers themselves, they really capture the lifestyle and humor that comes out of Pow Wow dancing.
The future is very bright for this group and there is only up. This is just the start and be sure there will be a lot of music to look forward to, in the near future from Enter-Tribal. The group’s current mission is to spread a positive message with their voice and touch on topics not many music artists will touch. This fun, political driven sound with a positive perspective that is taken from Enter-Tribal can only bring fans from all age ranges from 3years old to 70 years old, there is no age range stopping this sound.
Fara Palmer was born to sing. She is that rare artist whose live vocal performance somehow sends
shivers down our backs, can put tears in our eyes and has the power to touch our hearts. Acknowledged as a powerhouse vocalist, a heart and soul inspired songwriter, role model and dedicated workshop presenter, Fara’s music is an eclectic mix of Pop, R&B, Folk and Rock.
Fara’s passion is writing songs that reach the heart and promote empowerment! Delving fearlessly into social/personal issues that are a part of today's reality, Fara uses her voice and her lyrics as a catalyst for positive change, as a tool to promote self-awareness, and as a means of educating and sharing with the public her First Nations culture and history.
Her last cd, entitled Phoenix, received a phenomenal 11 nominations from over 8 individual music award shows across Canada and the United States with wins for “Best Pop Recording”, “Best Producer /Engineer”, “Outstanding Musical Achievement In A Contemporary Field” and three top ten singles which charted on Independent Canadian and US Radio stations. Impressive, considering the fact that she took a 7-year holiday from the music industry scene to create a family. Prior to taking the better part of a decade off of music, Fara enjoyed National success with her first two cd’s “This Is My World”, released in 1998 and “Prettybrown” released in 2000. All of Fara’s albums have yielded her multiple nominations at numerous award shows, including the Canadian Juno Awards (the equivalent of the Grammy’s in the US), and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. In 1999 she won her first awards for “Best Female Artist” and “Best Song of the Year” at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, a feat that paved the way for her second win in 2000 of “Best Female Artist” at the same awards for her follow up cd “Prettybrown”. A bonus that year, was she hosted the award show along with acclaimed rocker Derek Miller. A star on the rise, Fara has been quoted as “An Electrifying Talent” (Weekend Outlook) and “A Powerful, Independent Voice” (RPM Magazine).
Blessed with a love of music and a powerful set of pipes, Fara got her first taste of stage-life at the age of twelve when she sang at an outdoor concert alongside artists: Buffy Ste. Marie, Floyd ‘Red Crow’ Westerman, Morley Loon & Winston Wuttinee.
Greg has worked over the last three decades as an award-winning film maker, writer, and teacher. He learned much of his craft with the NFB, and his films have aired on most of the major networks in Canada. Greg has written for the Smithsonian at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, and he is actively working as an instructor of documentary production techniques at Capilano University. Most recently, he produced and hosted LIVE from the HUNDRED YEARS CAFE, a television series featuring the collaborative nature of contemporary Native music. He is currently developing a variety of transmedia projects with GOOD MEDICINE MEDIA, and he is launching SLOW MEDIA, an online community dedicated to conscious media making and public education. He is Metis, from St. Albert, Alberta, a guitar player and songwriter and the proud father of two boys, Sam and Jackson.
Harlan Pruden (First Nations nēhiyaw/Cree) is the Managing Editor of TwoSpiritJournal.com, an interactive multi-platform Two-Spirit media/news site. Harlan is a co-founder and former Director of the NorthEast Two Spirit Society and works with the Two-Spirit (LGBT Native) community locally, nationally and internationally. Harlan serves as the principal Two-Spirit consultant to USA Federal Agency Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center. In August 2014, Harlan was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS where he works to provide advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of Health & Human Services and the White House. Harlan also serves as an Honorary Committee Member of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, Canada, and in the spring of 2013, Harlan was appointed to be an American representative to the International Indigenous Peoples Working Group on HIV/AIDS.
Vancouver B.C. born James Badger, is a performance and studio drummer specializing in Roots style music, he thrives on playing Blues, Old Country, Rockabilly, New Orleans style, R&B and old Rock & Roll. His nickname in the blues world is "Hollywood Jimmie" because he's so NOT hollywood. Performance and recording credits include: Juno-nominated James Buddy Rogers, Long John Baldry, Jimmy D Lane, Juno-winner Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne, Harpdog Brown, Steve Kozak, Nigel Mack, Lesismore, The Mojo Stars, JJ Lavallee, Phat Edna's Soul Revue, the Rocket Revellers, Lonesome Sinners, Bill Hills & The Fabulous Aces.
Jeanette Kotowich is a Vancouver based professional contemporary Aboriginal dance and performing artist. She holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University, BC. Jeanette is a seasonal dancer with Dancers of Damelahamid, Raven Spirit Dance, and Compaigni V’ni Dansi. Honoring her Cree Métis heritage (originally from Saskatchewan) as a source of inspiration and reference point in her work, Jeanette is passionate about investigating a blend of contemporary and Indigenous practices.
Ojibway and French from Serpent River First Nations in Northern Ontario, Jenifer Brousseau has been performing since the age of 5. Trained at Lyric School of Acting in Vancouver BC, she has traveled throughout the world with various foundations and humanitarian organizations; hoping to bring inspiration and change using theatre and creative arts as a tool to especially inspire Canadian youth. This formidable woman has played many thought provoking roles, both on screen and stage, and is currently a host of APTN’s forthcoming documentary series, Wild Archaeology. With her powerful voice, Jenifer likewise entertains throughout the world as a session vocalist, with the Aboriginal Women's singing ensemble, M’girl; having previously touring Germany and New Zealand. Utilizing her passion for imagination and creativity through the language of writing, theatre and music, you will find Jenifer spending her time as Creator, Writer, as well as, Artistic Director of the suicide awareness and prevention play, Beneath the Surface. A poignant production, which has toured throughout BC and Alberta and continues to impact, and even save, many lives with its pertinent message of hope.
Metis Fiddler, A Taste Of MétisRead more
Born and Raised in St.Ambroise Manitoba, JJ Lavallee is an Award winning fiddler. He has released 3 albums and has toured Canada for over the last 18 years. Also a singer songwriter, JJ's songs come from life experiences of both happiness and sadness and has become one of the most well known Metis entertainers of his era. JJ has been living in Surrey Bc now for 3 years and continues to share his culture on both the stage and in schools.
Joanne Arnott is a Métis/mixed-blood writer and arts activist, originally from Manitoba, at home in Richmond, BC. Joanne is mother to six young people (born at home, 1986-2003). Author of six books of poetry, most recently Halfling Spring (Kegedonce Press, 2014), with illustrations by Leo Yerxa—shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award—and A Night for the Lady, (Ronsdale Press, 2013).Her first book won the Gerald Lampert’s Award for best first book of poetry (Wiles of Girlhood, Press Gang, 1991).
Joanne is a founding member of the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast, and a past volunteer on The Writers Union of Canada’s National Council and The Writers Trust’s Author's Committee. She text-edited Salish Seas: an anthology of text + image (AWCWC 2011), and co-edited a Special Double Issue of Rice Paper Magazine, featuring Aboriginal and Asian Canadian Writers (Fall/Winter 2012). She is the current Poetry Editor for Event Magazine.
The K'uuts'iixuu T'aaxwii Haida Singers are excited to sing this weekend at the Talking Stick Festival Celebration of Culture Powwow. We are a traditional group of Haida’s singing together & educating the Urban community of Vancouver BC located respectfully on Coast Salish Un-ceded Territory. Connecting together one body, one spirit, one mind Haida’s participating in community celebrations, school events, traditional ceremonies and Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Societies, West Coast Wednesday’s. The group is always growing as Haida’s move to the city. The Haida Dancers and Singers have a wealth of knowledge and respect for all Nations and their cultures.
Kathleen is a director, actor, producer and teacher. Recent directing credits include Mrs. Singh and Me (Pick of the Fringe) and the plays Iceland (Jessie nomination Best Director), Greenland, Faroe Islands and Ostrich, all written by Nicolas Billon. Also, The Seagull, Bollywood Wedding and Knives in Hens. Kathleen is an award-winning actor who works in theatre, film, television, voice over and new play development throughout the country. Upcoming will be Romeo and Julietat The Globe. She teaches acting and movement at The Vancouver Film School and is co-artistic director of Dirt Road Theatre.
Actor, Playwright and Artistic Director of the Savage Society, Kevin is Nlaka'pamux from the Lytton First Nation. He is a graduate of the acclaimed professional theatre training program Studio 58, Langara College and Full Circle First Nations Performance Ensemble Training Program. He was recently awarded The Distinguished Alumni Award fromThompson Rivers University. In 2009, Kevin won the Governor General's Literary Award for his first published play Where the Blood Mixes, which deals with the intergenerational effects of the Indian Residential School System.
He co-wrote, co- hosted and co-produced the award winning documentary, Canyon War: the Untold Story, which chronicles the 1858 Fraser Canyon War between the N'lakap'amux and the Gold Seekers in the opening months of the Fraser River Gold Rush.
Kevin was an ensemble member of the National Arts Centre/Centre national des Arts English Theatre Acting Company and was a Playwright in Residence there in 2010. Favourite stage roles include, Norval Morriseau in the World Premiere of Copper Thunderbird by Marie Clements, Jamie Paul in the 50th anniversary production of George Ryga's seminal Canadian play, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, and Edmond in an all Aboriginal production of King Lear at the National Arts Centre.
Lee Su-Feh is a dancer, choreographer, dramaturge, teacher; and Artistic Director of battery opera. Her award-winning work interrogates the contemporary body as a site of intersecting and displaced histories and practices. Her most recent work is The Things I Carry, a solo she developed during the Migrant Bodies Project, a Canada-E.U choreographic research project ruminating on migration and its implications on Canadian and European societies. Currently she is working on building Dance Machines and developing as a Fitzmaurice Voicework® teacher.
Lindsay Lachance is an Anishinaabe PhD candidate in Theatre and First Nations and Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her areas of interest include performance aesthetics, the physicalization of spirituality in time and space, and the multiple creation processes of Indigenous dramaturgies. She was the dramaturge for Simon Fraser University’s Mainstage production of An Encounter with Marie Clements’ The Unnatural and Accidental Women in 2015, and has spoken of her practice at events hosted by PuSh, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Museum of Anthropology, and Audain Gallery at SFU. Lindsay is a member of Full Circle First Nations Performance and Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance.
Madelaine McCallum is a dancer originally from Ile a la Crosse, Saskatchewan. Though she is well known for Métis dance (she's been jigging since she could walk!), she enjoys all forms including Pow Wow, contemporary, Hip Hop and just movement from the soul. Madelaine has performed for many stages. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge of dance and culture. Madelaine also shares her story of survival and how dance has been her outlet and savior throughout her life. Her belief in sharing knowledge with her community to empower and strengthen them and her deep love of dance and firm belief in its healing powers, for the audience as well as the dancer, is what makes Madelaine McCallum such a name to look out for.
Margo Kane (Cree/Saulteaux) is an interdisciplinary artist and a leading figure in Aboriginal performing arts. Over the past forty years, she has been recognized as a storyteller, dancer, singer, animator, video and installation artist, director, producer, writer, and teacher. Her desire to create work that has meaning for her people is the catalyst for her extensive travels into both rural and urban Aboriginal communities across Canada, and fuels her commitment to performance that is not only socially relevant but empowering, as well.
Her work is nationally and internationally acclaimed, especially with the touring of Moonlodge that is recognized as a Canadian Aboriginal classic in theatre. This one-woman performance first brought to the stage the story of the scooping of Aboriginal children by Children’s Aid societies and highlighted issues of the separation of Indian children to residential schools and foster care outside of their communities. It has been performed to high acclaim in Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia, adapted for CBC Radio and published in 1994. The Sydney Press (AU) during The Festival of the Dreaming praised it as being ‘in the top echelon of solo performance’.
She has extensive training and experience in many performance techniques. Song and dance were her earliest teachings along with dramatic training. Professional experience followed on Canadian stages, radio, TV and film. Her creativity knows no bounds--her own ‘voice’ has been a driving force in all that she does. Much of her work is grown out of physically-based exploration of s tory using techniques that include vocal and voice, authentic movement, sourcing, rivers work and improvisation. Margo's constant desire to integrate her experiences as an Aboriginal person with her artistic skills has fueled extensive experimentation with form, allowing her work to cross cultural and creative boundaries.
Her solo performance pieces have been rooted in the oral tradition of storytelling and presented in a very ritualistic style using interdisciplinary techniques. These include:Reflections in the Medicine Wheel, O Elijah, We’ve Always Been Here,Childhood Burial, Memories Springing/Waters Singing, I Walk I Remember,Confessions of an Indian Cowboy and Moonlodge.
She has been active onstage for the last few years with the latest productions beingFor the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again with Lorne Cardinal at Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops and the Arts Club production of The Unplugging, a new play by Yvette Nolan in the fall of 2012. She has enjoyed being part of Vancouver Moving Theatre’s annual co-production with SFU of Bah Humbug! a Downtown Eastside adaption of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol and Ashes on the Water, a podplay produced by Neworld Theatre. In 2012 she received the BC Touring Award of Excellence from the BC Touring Council.
Margo has been a member of several Arts Service Organizations and committees, most notably, Indigenous Arts Service Organization (Past President), BC Touring Council (Director), CAPACOA (Director), Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (Past President, Director). In 2009/10 she was the Distinguished Aboriginal Resident at UBC’s Dept. of Theatre, Film & Creative Writing.
Photo Credit: Michael Ford
North Vancouver-based drummer Michel Bruyere was born in Winnipeg MB. Michel is the drummer for legendary folk artist Buffy Sainte-Marie; He is on his 8th world tour with Buffy Sainte-Marie and he is featured on her 16th Album, titled Power In The Blood. Every fall in Aug. Michel dedicates his time working with over 400 youth at IMC Band Camp in Manitoulin Island ON. Teaming up with amazing artists TM Stevens, Phil X (Bon Jovi) and Stevie Salas to mention a few. Michel is a multi talented artist in many instruments and is a respected songwriter, nominated for the JUNO awards in 2000, 2012 and with Buffy Sainte-Marie and Derek Miller in 2016. Touring drummer for Buffy Sainte-Marie USA-CAN, Stevie Salas USA and Derek Miller CAN. Michel play’s both 5A Yellow Jackets and 5A Extreme. Michel is endorsed by Mapex drums and Los Cabos Drumsticks
Michelle St. John is a two-time Gemini Award winning actor with more than 30 years of experience in film, television, theatre, voice and music. Selected film credits include: CBC’s Where the Spirit Lives, Miramax’s Smoke Signals, CBS’s Northern Exposure and Sherman Alexie’sThe Business of Fancydancing and Darlene Naponse’s feature film, Every Emotion Costs. Selected theatre credits include: Darrell Dennis’ Trickster of 3rd Avenue East, Drew Hayden Taylor’s Sucker Falls and Marie Clements plays – Unnatural and Accidental Women, Copper Thunderbird and Tombs of the Vanishing Indian; Yvette Nolan’s Annie Mae’s Movement (international tour) and the role of Cassius in Native Earth’s adaptation of Julius Caesar, Death of a Chief at the National Arts Centre. She and Jennifer Kreisberg, composed a new vocal score for Western Canada Theatre and NAC’s co-production of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe. Michelle was a Co-Founder of Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble, a Native women’s theatre company based in Toronto. For ten years, she served as Co-Managing Artistic Director and along with the Gals, co-created, produced and toured the award winning play The Scrubbing Project; The Dora Award nominated The Triple Truth and multi-media musical, The Only Good Indian…. She has also taught theatre workshops, song creation and voice to First Nations communities across Turtle Island. As a vocalist Michelle has recorded dozens of radio and television jingles; theme songs and voice-overs and is currently writing songs for her first solo album. For two years, Michelle served as Producer and Host for Red Tales, a weekly Native literary show on Aboriginal Voices Radio. Michelle is also Co-Artistic Director of Red Diva Projects in partnership with frequent collaborator Marie Clements.
Natalie Tin Yin Gan is an interdisciplinary artist specializing in physical theatre performance and choreography. She is based in Vancouver with a double degree in Contemporary Dance and International Studies from Simon Fraser University. Natalie actively pursues research outside of dance contexts in an effort to hone a well-rounded, politically-informed and rigorous approach to art-making. She is the co-Artistic Director of Hong Kong Exile (www.hongkongexile.com)
Olivia C. Davies is an independent dance artist and choreographer whose work investigates the body’s dynamic ability to transmit narrative. Her choreography explores shared history, personal legacy, and blood memory; aspiring to speak to the vulnerability of the human experience. Davies honours her mixed Welsh-Metis-Anishnawbe heritage in her Contemporary Aboriginal dance-theatre practice. Ensemble member of the Full Circle First Nations Performance Ensemble, Co-Founder of MataDanze Collective and Somewhere There Collective, member of IPAA, The Dance Centre, CADA-WEST, and Canadian Dance Alliance, Davies works with Raven Spirit Dance Society and is Current President of Urban Ink Productions Society.
Quanah Styles Debut Single "Beat of My Heart" (WetTrax) charted at #6 on Beatports Top 100 Pop/rock Releases. Known for her colourful performances with vogueing dance troupe House of LaDouche. This cree first nations diva uses electronic music to break gender barriers. Her distinct style and signature sound leave her a force to be reckoned with.
Reneltta Arluk is Dene and Inuvialuit from the Northwest Territories. She is a graduate of the BFA-Acting program from the University of Alberta and founder of Akpik Theatre, a professional Indigenous Theatre company in the NWT. Raised by her grandparents on the trap-line until school age, being raised in a nomadic environment gave Reneltta the skills to become the artist she is now. For over ten years Reneltta has been part of or initiated the creation of Indigenous Theatre across various parts of Canada and overseas as an actor, storyteller, writer and producer. “Keeping Culture Alive,” as her mom would say.
ROBERT VESTAL (Cherokee) is an actor, writer, and director based in Los Angeles. He started his career in ’96 in his hometown of Chicago where he graduated from the University of Chicago and studied improvisation at The Second City. He is also a graduate of The Groundlings program in Los Angeles. He has appeared in numerous commercials and is a veteran of the Stage having performed in front of an audience literally thousands of times. His film and television credits include ER, It’s All Relative, Young Cesar, and the ALMA Award winning film No Turning Back. Rob has worked with Native Voices at the Autry since 2002 having performed in The Buz'Gem Blues, The Berlin Blues, Jump Kiss, Kino and Teresa, Teaching Disco Square Dancing, Off the Rails and the audio play Super Indian. He is currently a Lead Artist in the Native Voices Artists Ensemble, and he currently performs in The Really Awesome Improv Show at The Second City. Also, Rob co-founded with Darrell Dennis the all-Native American comedy troupe the Mayflower Welcoming Committee. He has also worked with the Native Radio Theater Project having performed twice at the National Audio Theater Festivals and wrote and directed The Bullfrog Lover, based on a Cherokee myth. In 2014 Rob won the Von Marie Atchley Excellence in Playwriting Award for A Little of the Top. His other writing and directing credits range from stage plays to short films and include Reservoir Logs, The Key to the Fourth Wall, I Know What You Did Last Spring Break, and Jerry. Rob has taught at public schools in California and Illinois and has taught improv and acting at First Stage in Los Angeles and at Native Voices.
Ryan McMahon is an Anishinaabe/Metis comedian, writer & actor based out of Treaty #1 territory (Winnipeg, MB). Armed with a degree in Theatre & as a graduate of the prestigious Second City Conservatory (Toronto), Ryan’s storytelling comedy style is fast paced, loose & irreverent as he explores the good, the bad & the ugly between Indian Country & the mainstream. His breakout performances on “Welcome To Turtle Island Too – A Celebration of Aboriginal Comedy” (CBC TV/Radio, Corkscrew Media, 2010), and the “Hystereotypes” (CBC TV, Frantic Films, 2011) Gala television taping at the CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival in 2011 led to his own one hour standup comedy special “Ryan McMahon – UnReserved” (CBC TV/Radio, Corkscrew Media, taped in June 2012), becoming the FIRST Native Comedian to ever tape a one hour standup comedy special for CBC TV. In February of 2014, Ryan recorded a new one hour National comedy variety special for CBC Radio One called, “Red Man Laughing.”
Sam Bob is a Vancouver based actor who has performed nationally in television, film, radio,and theatre. He is a The Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards nominee for Best Actor in a Theatre for Living (Headlines Theatre)production of Out of the Silence, and also nominated for Best Actor by Edmonton's Dreamspeakers Film Festival for his performance in Dana Claxton's film The Red Paper.
Sam has performed in Vancouver production's such as Drylips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, Paradise in the Wasteland, Age of Iron, Farewell, and Ecstacy of Rita Joe. In Toronto he appeared in Time Stands Still with Native Earth Theatre. He has recently toured western Canada with Theatre For Living's production of Maladjusted with 28 shows in 26 different cities.
He can currently be seen in the repeat episodes of Health Nut'z on APTN. Earlier this January he worked with the great Anthony Hopkins in a film called Come With Me shot in Enderby, British Columbia. He most recently shot a important scene in Full Flood - a film about murdered and missing women. Sam's traditional name is Tulkweemult of the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation.
Sandy Scofield is a Métis songwriter based in Vancouver. Her family hails from Manitoba’s St. Laurent community. She has released four multiple-award winning CD's of her own work, for which she also received three consecutive Juno nominations, and a fifth for her work with Iskwewsingers.
Sandy works as a mentor, performer, and composer with "The AboriginalWelcoming Song", for the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics, the highlight of her commissions to date. She has performed nationally and internationally in France, Austria, Germany, Korea, Australia, Borneo and Mexico. An advocate of education, she has studied African music at the University of Ghana in west Africa, and jazz and classical at Vancouver’s Community College, not to mention new music composition as well as audio production and electronic music and she holds an undergrad degree in music.
Sandy started singing traditionally in 1995 under the mentorship of Seneca singer Sadie Buck along with elders from around Turtle Island at a ten-week residency at the The Banff Centre for the Arts. She has since sung with the All Nations Women's Drum Group in Ottawa as well as Iskwew Singers in Vancouver, who currently are recording their sophomore CD. She is honoured and humbled to be able to learn and share with the Nlaka'pamux and Lytton communities as we breathe life into the Battle of the Birds!
Sewepagaham (pronounced see-wee-pay-ga-ham) is Cree-Dene from the Little Red River Cree Nation in northern Alberta, Canada and currently resides in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Her solo album Splashing the Water Loudly was released on October 5, 2014. Co-produced by award-winning Jazz pianist Chris Andrew, the album features a colourful blend of traditional vocals, piano, hide drums, Cuban percussion, soaring cello and soulful harmonies. The track list includes a spicy duet with Métis singer-songwriter Wayne Lavallee, and an Aboriginal children’s choir. The thoughtfully-composed songs place one foot in Sewepagaham’s traditional land and the other in the contemporary Western world, and the Cree lyrics expose her heart, her thoughts and a passionate activism for her people. Select songs from the album can be heard on APTN''s Chaos & Courage documentary series’ second season, which began to air in January 2015.
Solo performances include The Cultch at The Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Adäka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse, YK, Knowing Our Spirits Conference in Edmonton, AB, and her debut release concert at The Artery in Edmonton, AB.
As co-founding member and co-songwriter of Asani, Sewepagaham has sung with 2006 Juno-nominated trio for 19 years and contributed her vocals and skilled harmonies to the trio’s collection of traditionally-based, contemporary Cree and English drum and rattle songs. Their distinctive sound highlights the tri-interwoven melodic and rhythmic lines while maintaining the traditional sounds of heartbeat drums and chanting voices.
Asani were nominated for many awards for both their albums, Rattle & Drum (2005) and Listen (2008). They received a 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award, an Indian Summer Music Award, a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Female Traditional/Cultural Roots album, and were inducted into the Canadian A Cappella Hall of Fame.
Sewepagaham is Cree-Dene from the Little Red River Cree Nation in Northern Alberta. Her music is rooted in her traditional land and in the contemporary Western world. Her Cree lyrics expose her heart, her thoughts and a passionate activism for her people. Solo performances include National Aboriginal Day, Vancouver, The Cultch, Adäka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse, YK, Knowing Our Spirits Conference in Edmonton, AB, and The Artery in Edmonton, AB. She is co-founding member and co-songwriter of Asani, contributing her vocals and skilled harmonies to the trio’s collection of traditionally based, contemporary Cree and English drum and rattle songs.
Sharon Jinkerson-Brass is a member of Key First Nation in Saskatchewan. Sharon was part of the “sixties scoop” but reunited with her family in the 1980’s. Sharon received her cultural teachings from her beloved Anishinabe grandmother Rebecca, who was a midwife and traditional healer. Sharon’s cultural heritage has inspired all of her art and way of living. Sharon is an award winning artist who was a co-artistic director of “Big Sky” a successful multi-media company that performed in the US and Canada.
For 30 years Sharon has also been a community leader supporting social change the areas of the arts, culture, health and community development. Recently, Sharon was among 30 Matriarchs who were honoured for their community work by WAVAW. Sharon has had a diverse career working in a variety of settings in the private and public sectors as well as on and off reserves across Canada. Sharon is currently working on multiple film projects in the Aboriginal community on topics related to health, green energy and cultural healing. She is also writing a comedy film script that is “Death at a Funeral” Indian style. Sharon believes that a relevant, sustainable cultural foundation is the key for wellness for her people and all people.
Sister Says is a soulful genre-bending pop project based out of Vancouver fronted by mixed Haida-Tsimshian siblings Gillian and Robert Thomson. Not your typical soulful jam or singer-songwriter duo, their music pulses with the soul telling heartbreak tales and stories about the wonder-ful and ever-changing conundrum that is life. Throughout the years Sister Says has had the opportunity to perform diverse shows that include: Edge of the World Festival in Haida Gwaii, Canadian Music Week in Toronto, The Islands Folk Fest in Duncan, and at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto opening for Stars and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Gillian and Robert also collaborate on Meet the Collective Podcast where they talk with artists of all disciplines about life and art. Currently the band just released their second album Heart Placement. The album is a departure from their first album and features songs that are sure to rouse the spirit.
Tai Amy Grauman is a Metis Iroquois and Metis Cree artist originally from Ardrossan Alberta. She is currently in the BFA acting conservatory program at UBC and she is pursuing a double major in First Nations Studies. Tai is an actress, director as well as playwright. She is also an accomplished dancer as well as classical guitarist. Tai is also playwright in residence for the UBC players as well as part of the Gateway Conservatory program and Full Circle First Nations performance ensemble program. She is Vancouver's Mayor's emerging theatre artist of 2015 nominated be Margo Kane. In the future she hopes to pursue a master in directing and then a pHd in Metis theatre.
Based in Vancouver, Taran is a denesuline half-breed; emerging actor, spoken-word poet and playwright. His play Poets Have No Strength premiered at Tom Cone: Sacred Space Festival of New Plays and Chiliwack’s Director’s Festival. On stage, Taran has most recently performed in Salmon Girl (Raven Spirit Dance), Beneath the Surface (imagi’Nation Productions), The Good Person of Setzuan (Exit 22), and numerous independent films. Since graduating from the Acting for Stage and Screen program at Capilano University, Taran has signed with Premiere Talent Management, and has been invited to join both Full Circle’s Performance Ensemble, and Urban Ink Collective.
The Belarus-born illusionist Vitaly began practising the art of illusion at the age of 14. As it turned out, he had found his calling! Vitaly has performed internationally in theatres, at corporate events and on TV and radio shows. Aside from writing and performing all original material, he has the distinction of having invented and designed all of his illusions. He currently resides in Vancouver, BC.
His show, VITALY: An Evening of Wonders, is about seeing wonder in the world and turning it into magic. From bringing photographs and paintings to life to making audience members disappear from their own driver's licenses, even the most jaded illusionists have declared Vitaly's show as containing “some of the most incredible and impossible magic ever witnessed.” (Romhany Report 2011)
As a keen observer of human behaviour, Vitaly knows that his show offers far more than magic. It goes beyond illusion to encompass the realization of our dreams and the celebration of the human spirit. With the belief that we are only limited by our own imagination, the audience gets to experience the sensation that nothing is impossible to get a glimpse of how life could be if there were no limitations.