Celebration of Nations proudly announce performances for the first gathering at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre will include Buffy Sainte-Marie with an opening performance by The Ollivanders, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s Re:Quickening, as well as a Speakers Series, a dance party hosted by DJ Shub (formerly of A Tribe Called Red) and a special RUMBLE: All-Star Jam with Kenny Lee Lewis (Steve Miller Band), Derek Miller (two-time JUNO Award-winner), and more than a dozen talented players. Tickets for the first set of programming for Celebration of Nations go on sale to the public on 21 June 2017 at 12pm.
Visit the newly launched celebrationofnations.ca for more information about the gathering and creative team.
This three-day Indigenous arts extravaganza will aim to provide a far-reaching platform for the community to embrace and honour the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples within Canada.
Additional programming will be announced on 17 July and include free interactive workshops, a fashion show, as well as a specially curated film series, and a new theatre for young audiences play in development by Falen Johnson (Mohawk and Tuscarora) with direction from Carousel Players’ Artistic Director Jessica Carmichael (Abenaki/Euro).
“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 the Celebrations of Nations programming delivered at this new state-of-the-art venue, we’re doing our best to make that vision come true,” said Kakekalanicks president and Celebration of Nations Artistic Director Michele-Elise Burnett (Métis).
Celebration of Nations will showcase a wide variety of Indigenous arts and artists, ranging from traditional and contemporary music, dance and visual arts to film screenings, creative workshops, a distinguished speaker series, and hands-on activities for both children and adults. The more than 20+ other compelling events are being curated by Artistic Director Michele-Elise Burnett (Métis) and Artistic Producer Tim Johnson (Mohawk), with support of the Celebration of Nations Advisory Council and FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre 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 defense and formation as well as to display the continuity and scope of Indigenous influence upon Canadian society today.”
Celebration of Nations emerges as an opportunity for Niagara residents and visitors to actively participate in an inclusive and engaging community gathering that will foster a greater sense of belonging, support of meaningful reconciliation, and leave a lasting legacy of goodwill for future generations.
Programming and schedule will continue to be released by the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre all summer in anticipation of the gathering from 8 – 10 September 2017.
The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre gratefully acknowledges the Government of Canada’s Canada 150 Fund, Ontario Arts Council, Province of Ontario 150 Fund, Region of Niagara’s Cultural Investment Program and the City of St. Catharines for the ongoing support and collaboration on this project.