Graphic designed by Tyler Compton
Indigenous Culture & Media Innovation and Knot Project Space are pleased to invite you to Anishnabe Azejicigan, a monthly gathering with Indigenous artists & thinkers. Join us on zoom at 7pm every third Tuesday of the month to engage with and learn from artists about the many ways in which they are contending with technology.
Are you an Indigenous Artist and/or Thinker interested in taking part in Anishnabe Azejicigan as a presenter? Please apply to our open call for submissions! We offer speaker fees according to CARFAC recommendations.
Join us on Tuesday, July 20th, at 7pm EDT for Activism & Art – A Conversation About Residential Schools with multidisciplinary artist & educator Jay Havens, interdisciplinary media artist Terrance Houle and artist, art educator & art therapist Megan Kanerahtenha:wi Whyte. The gathering will be moderated by Algonquin Knowledge Carrier Monique Manatch.
Jay Havens (he/him/they) is a multi-disciplinary 2Spirit artist and educator of Haudenosaunee, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) and Scottish ancestry with over 17 years’ experience working across Turtle Island (North America) and internationally on projects for stage, public installation, and exhibition. Havens is a trained scenographer who has designed works for the New York State Museum, Cities of Vancouver, Stratford, Mississauga, and Waterfront Toronto, as well as sets, costumes and recently projection for site-specific events like the Pacific National Exhibition, UBC Botanical Gardens and Caravan Farm Theatre. He has made over two dozen murals in both the Sto:lo Region (Fraser River) and in Haudenosaunee Territories in modern day Ontario and New York State with learners of all ages and in community engagement. Jay is currently living on unceded lands of the Stz’uminus Nation in so called British Columbia. See www.jayhavens.me for more information.
Terrance Houle (Niitsitapi/ Saulteaux) is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary media artist and a member of the Kainai Nation/ Blood Tribe. Involved with Aboriginal communities all his life, he has travelled to reservations throughout North America participating in Powwow dancing along with his native ceremonies. His work ranges from subversive to humorous absurdity to solemn and poetic artistic expressions. His work often relates to the physical body as it investigates issues of history, colonization, Aboriginal identity and representation in popular culture, as well as conceptual ideas based on memory, home, and reserve communities. Houle works in whatever media strikes him, and has produced work in photography, painting, installation, mass marketing, performance, music, video, and film. Houle’s work has been exhibited across Canada, the United States, Australia, the UK and Europe.
Since 2014, Houle has been working on an ongoing collaborative project titled GHOST DAYS. GHOST DAYS evokes colonial and non-colonial histories that exist in the light of night as in the darkness of the day, and awakens a collaboration with artists, audience, and spirit.
Currently, He has co-directed a short animation Otanimm/Onnimm with his daughter Neko Wong-Houle which is currently touring Film festivals, In Los Angeles, NYC, Toronto, New Zealand, Vancouver, Oxford & many more. Recently their short film won the prestigious Golden Sheaf Indigenous Award at Yorkton Film Festival and is Neko’s First Award in Film at 17 years old. Houle is based in Calgary, Alberta.
Megan Kanerahtenha:wi Whyte (MA, ATPQ, RCAT) is a Kanienkeha’ka artist, art educator and art therapist from the Kanienkeha’ka First Nations. Within the mental health field, Megan explores the intersections between art materials and Indigenous ways of knowing with emphasis on how art making can foster cultural identity and cultural safety. As a community-based art therapist, Megan facilitates both traditional art therapy for children, youth and families as well as grassroots collective art-making initiatives such as group murals, sculptures and pop-up Art Hives that explore mental health, cultural accessibility and social justice. Outside of this art therapy practice, Megan also explores environmental, cultural, reproductive, and social justice in both her own art-making as well as through grassroots community art projects.
This month during Anishnabe Azejicigan, Monique Manatch will talk with Filmmaker Courtney Montour about her new film Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again.
Mary Two-Axe Earley in her Kahnawà:ke home. Photo courtesy of Ed Two-Axe Early
Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again shares the powerful story of Mary Two-Axe Earley, who fought for more than two decades to challenge sex discrimination against First Nations women embedded in Canada’s Indian Act and became a key figure in Canada’s women’s rights movement.
Using never-before-seen archival footage and audio recordings, Mohawk filmmaker Courtney Montour engages in a deeply personal conversation with the late Mohawk woman who challenged sexist and genocidal government policies that stripped First Nations women and children of their Indian status when they married non-Indian men.
Montour speaks with Cree activist Nellie Carlson, Mary’s lifelong friend and co-founder of Indian Rights for Indian Women, and meets with three generations in Mary’s kitchen in Kahnawà:ke to honour the legacy of a woman who galvanized a national network of allies to help restore Indian status to thousands of First Nations women and children.
Courtney Montour is Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Kahnawake. She works in the documentary film and digital media fields exploring issues of Indigenous identity. She directed, wrote and co-produced Flat Rocks (2017), a short documentary revealing how the development of Canada’s St. Lawrence Seaway forever changed the landscape and the livelihood of the Kahnawake Mohawk community. Her first documentary Sex Spirit Strength won Best of Festival and the Emerging Filmmaker award at the 2016 Yorkton Film Festival. She has directed episodes for several documentary series including Mohawk Ironworkers (2016) and Skindigenous (2021). Courtney co-created and coordinated McGill University’s Indigenous Field Studies course, held in Kahnawake, for 8 years. Passionate about educating, the course surfaces the intergenerational effects of colonization and Canadian policies on contemporary Indigenous society.
Join us this month during Anishnabe Azejicigan (May 18th at 7pm EDT) for a discussion about Self-Identification, the Pretendian & Institutional Accountability with Elder & Artist Albert Dumont, Producer/Host/Director & Artist Tamara Bell and Indigenous Law Scholar & Researcher Sabre Pictou Lee. The gathering will be moderated by Algonquin Knowledge Carrier Monique Manatch.
Albert Dumont is Ottawa’s new English Poet Laureaute for the next two years. He has served his community on the Grandparents Counsel for Well Living House, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto since September 2017. He was one of 13 Elders on the Elders Advisory Committee of the Ministry of the Attorney General from October 2016 to 2020. He worked as Elder for the Parole Board of Canada at Elder Assisted Hearings from November 2013 to March 2017. He was employed by Correctional Services Canada for three years as a spiritual advisor for the Indigenous men incarcerated at Millhaven Institution’s J Unit located near Kingston, ON. In January 2017, he received the DreamKEEPERS Citation for Outstanding Leadership. Albert has dedicated his life to promoting Indigenous spirituality and healing and to protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples particularly those as they affect the young.
Tamara Bell is a Producer/Host/Director and Artist. Her artistic passions stem directly from her Haida roots and Raven clan moiety. The magical Raven, a central character often celebrated as a rebellious anti-hero, is also a precocious storyteller. In many ways, Ms. Bell’s own career as a filmmaker has been marked by a penchant for inspiring and dramatic stories. Rather than shying away from contentious issues, Ms. Bell has consistently steered toward them, understanding that the best drama—and the best art—tend to emerge out of opposing viewpoints.
Ms. Bell attended multiple colleges and universities and it was this experience that sparked her interest in cinema and the arts. Her recent productions include several award-winning feature films and television series. Yet Ms. Bell’s focus is not on awards and accolades or even personal achievement. She credits her success to her strong ties with the entire Indigenous community and her deep and meaningful relationships with various Indigenous mentors and colleagues. Decades of experience in film and television has given Ms. Bell the confidence to explore all aspects of Indigenous culture and tradition—even those less well understood outside the community. Her documentary Sasquatch’n offers a case in point. In the course of producing the film, Ms. Bell was able to access three separate Indigenous Secret Societies dedicated to tracking, and understanding, the legendary Sasquatch (also known as “Bigfoot”). Prior to Ms. Bell’s arrival, these groups had been closed to outsiders. Ms. Bell was able to learn and report information about the Sasquatch, whose place in popular culture owes everything to power and vitality of Indigenous myth. As a Sundancer and a member of the Native American church, Ms. Bell’s soul and spirit are animated by the sovereign voice of her ancestors.
Shows produced by Ms. Bell have appeared in the United States on PBS, FNX and in Canada on APTN, BCTV, and Joy TV. Again, while Ms. Bell has won several awards for her work, she goes out of her way to give credit to those within the Indigenous community who have helped make her success possible. Ms. Bell has won a Leo Award in 2005 for “Best Information Series” and was nominated for two Leo Awards in 2006 for “Best Screenwriting.” In 2007 she received a Golden Feather Award, and in 2010, she won an award (sponsored by Isuma TV) for a story on a Lakota healer. In 2019 Ms. Bell was included in Netflix’s list of 100 Diverse Voices in Canada, and in 2020 she won in the “Best Documentary” category at the Mediterranean Film Festival Cannes. She was also nominated for an award at the Seattle Film Festival in 2020.
Sabre Pictou Lee is Mi’kmaq from Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick. Sabre is an experienced Indigenous liaison and researcher. She has worked in Indigenous-related program development, facilitation, and policy development and analysis.
Sabre has worked on research and training projects with the Assembly of First Nations, Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, Carleton University, First Voices Week at Concordia University, law firms, and many First Nation communities across Turtle Island. In her undergrad, Sabre focused on Indigenous Art History. After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts, she transitioned to specializing in Indigenous legal traditions and Aboriginal Rights in her Masters. Sabre’s recent projects include a national report on the impacts of cannabis legalization in Indigenous communities where she became well-versed with on-reserve cannabis related legal dynamics and health policy.
With her facilitation and mediation expertise Sabre works to build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations. M.A. Indigenous and Canadian Studies (Carleton University); B.F.A. Art History and Indigenous Studies (Concordia University); current Juris Doctor of Law student (Dalhousie University).
Join us on zoom April 20th at 7pm EDT for a discussion about Web, Web Art & Activism with media influencer and aspiring filmmaker Sherry Mckay, visual artist and social activist Sheri Osden Nault & video game maker and researcher Maize Longboat. The gathering will be moderated by Algonquin Knowledge Carrier Monique Manatch.
Sherry Mckay is an Ojibway Anishinaabe woman from Treaty 1 Territory, born and raised in Winnipeg Manitoba and band member of Sakgeeng First Nation. She is a proud mother of 4, Social media influencer and aspiring filmmaker. She primarily uses her Tiktok account to share Indigenous humour and awareness. Her account has grown to nearly 370k followers and over 11 million likes. She often highlights small Indigenous businesses and products as well as amplifying organizations and events she believes in.
Sheri Osden Nault is a visual artist, social activist, DIY enthusiast, and occasional writer. They are Nehiyaw and Red River Michif of the Charette and Belanger families, with Saulteax and Assiniboine ancestry. Personal and political, their art practice is grounded in Indigenous, queer, and feminist world views. Seeking social and ecological responsibility and kinship, they explore intimacy and permeability between human and non-human bodies. Their practice includes sculpture, community projects, performance, Indigenous tattoo revival, zines, and more. They received their MFA from York University in 2017 and their BFA from the Alberta University of the Arts 2012. Recent exhibitions in Toronto include the body as a fever dream curated by Dallas Fellini, at Xpace, Toronto (2020); PillOry*4, Toronto (2020); Where the Shoreline Meets the Water curated by Syrus Marcus Ware at the ArQuives, Toronto (2020); as well as Off-Centre at the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina (2019); Fix Your Hearts or Die at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2019). They were a participant in the 2019 Banff Centre Indigenous Arts residency Ghost Days, and the 2017 cohort of the Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency, on Toronto Island.
Maize Longboat is Kanien’kehá:ka from Six Nations of the Grand River and was raised on the unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation near Vancouver, BC. He is a Developer Relations Manager with Unity Technologies and served as Skins Workshops Associate Director with Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC) and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF) from 2019 to 2021. He holds an MA in Media Studies from Concordia University. His MA research examined Indigenous videogame development through the production of his own game Terra Nova, an award-winning cooperative platformer with an interactive narrative.
Join us on zoom March 16th at 7pm for a discussion about Indigenous Futurisms & Virtual Reality with XR Producer and Multi-Disciplinary Artist MoniGarr, Filmmaker, Artist and Educator Rose Stiffarm & Emmy award winning creator Raven Two Feathers. The gathering will be moderated by Algonquin Knowledge Carrier Monique Manatch.
Raven Two Feathers (Cherokee, Seneca, Cayuga, Comanche) (he/they) is a Two Spirit, Emmy award winning creator based in Seattle, WA. Originally from New Mexico, they spent their childhood moving and exploring Indigenous cultures across the continent and Pacific. They returned to New Mexico to attend Santa Fe University of Art & Design, graduating magna cum laude with a BFA in Film Production. After graduation, their path led them to working on and creating more Indigenous art than ever and things began to feel right. They recently released a comic-based zine, “Qualifications of Being,” about their journey of realizing they are trans and Two Spirit. They are in post for a VR experience where the viewer rides alongside them on their drive to top surgery. They continue to grow and explore their practice through the people they meet, and the stories that guide them.
MoniGarr is an XR Producer, Multi-Disciplinary Artist and Founder of a small tech company based in the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation. English speakers and government agencies refer to MoniGarr as a St. Regis Indian and Mohawk of Akwesasne. MoniGarr self identifies as Onkwehonwe and does not fit into any of the colonial definitions for gender and identity MoniGarr integrates bleeding edge technologies of autodidact feral experiments with contemporary & traditional art forms to create experiences that encourage viewers, participants and collaborators to learn about, acknowledge & experience Onkwehonwehneha A.I. (Onkwehonwe Ancient Intelligence, Respect for All Beings including Self). MoniGarr first developed Onkwehonwehneha A.I. tech solutions in the early 1990s to teach Artificial Intelligence to drop harmful negative bias while creating meaningful respectful relationships with Mother Earth, self, machines and all beings. She created her first A.I. in the mid 1970s.
Rose Stiffarm is a Blackfoot Filmmaker, Artist, Educator, from the Siksika Nation, with family from Cowichan, Tsartlip, A’ninin, and Nakoda Nations. Ms. Stiffarm was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Rose moved to Vancouver, BC in 2009 to formalize her film training and to work in film and television. Rose Stiffarm is alumna of Capilano University where she received her Diploma in Indigenous Independent Digital Film, Certificate in Cinematography for Film & Video, and Bachelor Degree in Motion Picture Arts. In 2018, after working on a number of independent and industry film and television projects in BC and the US, Rose moved to Montréal to further advance her education and grow her network. Rose Stiffarm is now a member of the Director’s Guild of Canada, in the category of Director, and working towards her Masters in Film Studies at Concordia University.
Join us on zoom February 16th at 7pm for a discussion about the complexities of the gaze with Filmmaker, Artist, Writer & Curator Thirza Cuthand, Artist & Curator Kablusiak and Visual Artist & Organizer Dayna Danger. The gathering will be moderated by Algonquin Knowledge Carrier Monique Manatch.
Thirza Jean Cuthand (b. 1978 Regina SK) makes short experimental videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity, love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals and galleries internationally. She completed her BFA majoring in Film/Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2005, and her MA in Media Production at Ryerson University in 2015. She has performed at Live At The End Of The Century in Vancouver, Performatorium in Regina, and 7a*11d in Toronto. She is a Whitney Biennial 2019 artist. She is Plains Cree/Scots, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and resides in Toronto, Canada.
Kablusiak is an Inuvialuk artist based in Mohkinstsis and holds a BFA from the Alberta University of the Arts. They are represented by Jarvis Hall Gallery, and their work has been acquired by public and private collections across so-called Canada. Awards include the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize (2017), short-list nominee for the Sobey Art Awards (2019), and the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Arts Award (2020). The lighthearted nature of their practice extends gestures of empathy and solidarity; these interests invite reconsideration of the perceptions of contemporary Indigeneity.
Dayna Danger is a 2Spirit, Métis – Saulteaux – Polish visual artist and organizer. Danger was raised on the northwest edge of Win-nipi, Treaty 1 territory, or so-called Winnipeg. They are currently based in tiohtiá:ke (Jo-Jah-Ghey), or so-called Montreal. Utilizing the processes of photography, sculpture, performance and video, Danger creates works and environments that question the line between empowerment and objectification by claiming space with their larger-than-life works. Ongoing works exploring BDSM and beaded leather fetish masks negotiate the complicated dynamics of sexuality, gender and power in a consensual and feminist manner. Their focus remains on Indigenous and Metis visual and erotic sovereignty. Danger has exhibited their work most recently at the National Gallery of Canada with Àbadakone | Continuous Fire | Feu continuel. They were featured on the cover of Canadian Art’s June 2018 Kinship cover, and they have participated in residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and at Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art. Danger is an independent student pursuing an INDI-PhD at Concordia University that focuses on hide-tanning practices from their great-grandmother, Madeline.
Join us on zoom November 17th at 7pm for a discussion surrounding the Cree typewriter/font with Professor Gloria Bell, Game Designer Meagan Byrne and Elder Greg Spence. The gathering will be moderated by Algonquin Knowledge Carrier Monique Manatch.
Gloria Bell is an art historian, creative writer, and photographer. Bell pursues relationships between visual culture, media, and family histories.
Bell’s research interests include historical and contemporary First Nations, Metis and Inuit arts, exhibition histories, sashes, bead work, global histories of body arts, and histories of photography. Bell is currently working on a big book filled with lots of neat pictures called Eternal Sovereigns: Indigenous Artists, Activists, and Travellers Reframing Rome (set to be published by the University of Washington Press).
Bell is involved in mediating archival images and imagining alternative histories. Their art criticism and essays are in publications including First American Art Magazine, Canadian Art, Wicazo Sa Review, Journal of Global Catholicism, and the Métis in Canada anthology. Bell is also the Terra Foundation Rome Prize Fellow and hopes to engage in questions surrounding the global reach of Indigenous media next time they are in Rome.
Meagan Byrne is an Âpihtawikosisân (or Métis of Ontario) digital media artist and game designer born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She has been creating digital interactive works since 2014 and her designs incorporate narrative, game mechanics, sound and traditional art and are deeply rooted in Indigenous Futurisms, language and Indigenous feminist theory. She sees her work as a constant struggle to navigate the complexities of Indigenous identity within a deeply colonized system. Meagan uses her games to explore questions of cultural belonging, the Indigenization of media and the future of Indigenous language and culture.
Greg Spence was the only child of eight siblings born in a hospital setting. Greg attributes his interest and curiosity of nature from his education from his mother, father and elders growing up in the wilderness for 10 months of the year till the age of six immersed in sights and sounds of nature.
Greg Spence assisted in the development of Cree Language Instruction for Laurentian University and taught the course for many years. While he was employed with Mushkegowuk Education in the nineties, he was responsible along with his colleagues in developing the Six Seasonal Curriculum model for the region. And establishing the annual Great Moon Gathering: an educational conference for teachers and professionals for the region of Hudson/James Bay.
For the last 17 years, Greg has been the regional coordinator of the CreeFest Festival, a summer cultural festival that celebrates the life of the Omushkego Cree. Greg has recently retired but continues as arts consultant for the James Bay and pursues his interest in language development and as a translator of documents, and educator of Omushkego culture.
The first discussion will be with artists from the Algonquin community: Elder & Artist Albert Dumont, Photographer Alice Beaudoin, Media Artist & Musician Dominic Lafontaine and Graphic Artist & Storyteller Jay Odjick. The gathering will be moderated by Algonquin Knowledge Carrier Monique Manatch.
Albert Dumont, “South Wind”, has dedicated his life to promoting Aboriginal spirituality and healing and to protecting the rights of Aboriginal peoples, particularly the young. He is the father of three daughters and grandfather of five grandchildren. Albert is a Poet, Storyteller, Speaker, and an Algonquin Traditional Teacher. He was born and raised in traditional Algonquin territory (Kitigan Zibi). He has been walking the “Red Road” since commencing his sobriety in 1988. He has published five books of poetry and short stories and one children’s book, written in three languages. Several organizations, both native and non-native, are currently featuring his poetry among them are the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and the Native Veterans Association.
Alice Beaudoin is a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation and lives and works in Gatineau. Her passion is photographing the original people of Turtle Island. She is a freelance photographer who strives to capture Anishinabeg Nations from an Anishinabeg lens by capturing cultural pride, beauty and resiliency. Her photography consists of family portraits, head-shots, newborns, maternity, nature, weddings, conferences and events. Her aim in photographing Anishinabeg people is to capture a moment of being and the gentle forces that give rise to the richess and contentment of being. Spanning many years of photographic exploration her images reflect the essence of the intangible. Cultural pride, beliefs, traditional knowledge, and that calm demeanor are captured and brought to light.
Dominic Lafontaine is an Algonquin multimedia artist, poet and musician. His audacious, humourous and often absurd artworks explore the very notions of cultural identity, meaning and belonging. A graduate of Visual Arts at Ottawa University, he synthesizes his knowledge of traditional art forms with new media in order to redefine the visual language of contemporary native art. His motto: «Research, remix and repeat!»
Jay Odjick is a writer, artist and television producer from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Algonquin Nation in Quebec. After writing and drawing his creator owned graphic novel KAGAGI: The Raven, Jay co-founded a production company that produced a television series called Kagagi based on the graphic novel. Jay is an executive producer on the show and also serves as its character designer and lead writer. You can find Kagagi at aptn.ca/Kagagi. The show now airs internationally, in the US and Australia. Kagagi airs in three language versions, in English, Algonquin and a mixture of the two, with subtitles. Jay’s work has been featured at a range of events and locations from Canada’s National Library and Archives to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, at Canada’s Museum of History and he has travelled across Canada for speaking engagements. Jay has spoken before the House of Commons standing Committee on Health, and he has worked as a freelancer for the Ottawa Citizen and is a former teacher at the University of Ottawa.
Monique Manatch is a member of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. Monique is a Knowledge Keeper working closely with Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont. Currently, Monique is a student at Carleton University taking a doctorate program in Anthropology focusing on the impact, use and creation of digital arts in the Indigenous community. Her Master’s Degree is in Indigenous and Canadian Studies with a specialty in Digital Humanities. Monique also holds a post-graduate diploma in Indigenous Policy and Administration.
In 2004, Monique became founder and Executive Director of Indigenous Culture and Media Innovations (www.icmi.ca). ICMI is dedicated skills development of Indigenous women and youth through the production media and arts. Monique has facilitated Indigenous artists and community members throughout Ontario and Quebec.
Over the past 20 years Monique has produced several video documentaries about Indigenous issues. Monique also facilitated the production of videos and community radio programming with women and youth from Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg, Barriere Lake, Moose Factory and the Indigenous community in Ottawa.