The launch of Indigenous Walks on the weekend of Jane’s Walks was a success! On Saturday’s Walk (May 3) there were 30 people who attended from start to finish. On Sunday, May 4 despite the rainy and cold weather, we started with 36 walkers and although a few dropped off part way through, there was still 24 walkers who bravely hung on until the end. We met at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights Monument just off Elgin/Lisgar where we acknowledged Turtle Island and Algonquin Territory. The tours lasted 2 hours and because of the range of knowledge amongst participants, I gave a general overview of the population of Indigenous Peoples within the Nation’s Capital and from there we talked about specific landmarks and current events.
The next FREE Indigenous Walking Tour is on May 8th at 5:30pm and begins at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin street near Lisgar.
I promised that I would indicate some of those events here on the website in case participants were interested in attending them. The first event that I talked about was an art exhibition called, “Anishinabe Woman” at Venus Envy by Chippewa artist Rebekah Elkerton. On opening night local Anishinaabe author, Vera Wabegejig gave some readings from her newly released book of poetry called Wild Rice Dreams and Plains Cree performer Giselle Gotti Chanel provided a fabulous drag show! To make the evening tasty, Wawatay Catering provided a wonderful mix of traditional and contemporary Algonquin foods including bannock and of course her famously fresh salsa. Elkerton’s show is up for the entire month of May. The next Indigenous exhibition at Venus Envy is on June 5th by an Ojibway artist called Sketches: Art by Mark Seabrook.
Another major supporter of Indigenous arts and literature in Ottawa is Octopus Books. On May 8 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm they will host a discussion with author Sam McKegney of Masculindians who will be joined by Anishinabe author Armand Garnet-Ruffo and he will be reading from his upcoming creative biography of Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird. A pleasant new addition to the evening is Anishinaabe author Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm who will open with her beautiful poetry.
Currently at the National Arts Centre, is a powerful and poignant one man show by Métis/Lakota playwright and actor Cliff Cardinal called, Huff. Cardinal’s ability to take on 16 characters in a one hour time span mirrors the intensity of the content within the show itself and provides a peephole’s view of life on a reserve soaked in destitution. Despite the heaviness of the subject matter, the fact that Cardinal is presenting this play at all is a testament to the resiliency of the fastest growing population in Canada. Here’s a short clip.
Other Indigenous performances coming up at the National Arts Centre include:
June 18 @ 8:00pm – Diggin Roots is a five piece band with Indigenous artists ShoShona Kish who is a beautiful mix of Ojibway Anishinabe, Irish and Hungarian and Raven Kanatakta who is Algonquin Anishnabe and Onkwehonwe. They will be presenting their Indie-music at the NAC’s fourth-stage.
Westfest promises an amazing Juno winning line-up of fabulous Indigenous musicians:
June 13 @ 8:00pm George Leach (Stl’atl’imx)
June 14 @ 7:00pm Shawanna
June 15 @ 8:00pm – Ottawa’s own, A Tribe Called Red with Deejay NDN (Ojibway), DJ Shub (Cayuga) and Bear Witness (Cayuga)
Hope to see you at some of these events!
Lastly, a huge thank-you to William Felepchuck, the Indigenous Walks Marshal and my three jiglets for helping me out with the tours this week. Thanks to MixedBagMag.com for the photos and social media feeds as well as John Jewitt for providing extra knowledge on Sunday’s tours about the Aboriginal War Veteran’s Monument.