Here’s one live-streamed festival you really don’t want to miss
Juno winners Celeigh Cardinal and Lee Harvey Osmond are both set to perform Sept. 11-13 as part of the fourth annual Celebration of Nations – the first edition of the Indigenous arts festival that people outside the Niagara region can easily attend.
That’s because this year’s event, like so many festivals across the country, is going virtual.
Celebration of Nations is a partnership between the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharine’s, the consulting firm Kakekalanicks and the City of St. Catharines, and its goal is to “build on the Two Row Wampum that promotes all nations walking together, in parallel, with respect, compassion and understanding, to cultivate an inclusive community for our shared future,” according to the festival news release.
The event will begin virtually on Sept. 11 with a profound short film entitled Starborn that captures the essence of our current existence. Delivered in the form of an Elder’s observation with a gentle but firm admonition, the remarkable short film by ally Olivia Mater will provide a compelling start to this year’s gathering as well as a reckoning of human responsibility to the land and to one another.
The virtual program will also feature a livestreamed performance from Six Nations of the Grand River of Blood Water Earth by renowned Indigenous creator Santee Smith of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. Polaris Music Prize winner Lido Pimienta is set to perform. And, as previously mentioned, Celeigh Cardinal and Lee Harvey Osmond will be taking the virtual stage this weekend too.
“Their music is some of the most compelling to be found anywhere in the world,” said Tim Johnson, the festival’s artistic producer, “showcasing once again that Indigenous artists continue to influence and shape popular music and culture.”
The theme for this year’s Celebration of Nations is Mighty Niagara and the Great Lakes Watershed. To address this theme, a range of intellectual and artistic programs have been curated. For example, Rob MacDonald and Martin Cooper of Archaeological Services Inc. will explore the Niagara landscape through the lens of archaeological evidence revealing in detail Indigenous inhabitation in the Niagara Peninsula reaching back 13,000 years. Victoria Poet Laureate Janet Rogers will once again curate the Empathic Poetry Café with a group of creative and vocally expressive Indigenous writers.
This year’s Her Moccasins Talk panel discussion will focus on the health and well-being of our waters. The panel, composed of Christi Belcourt, Angela DeMontigny and Santee Smith, will share traditional insights on the relationships and bonds humans have with the living earth and the inescapable consequences of natural law.
Celebration of Nations is proud to also feature One Dish, One Mic, a dynamic duo and Canadian Journalism Foundation and CBC Journalism Fellowship Award winners Karl Dockstader and Sean Vanderklis. The virtual edition will also feature Teepee or not Teepee, the latest media project of CBC featured Anishinaabe comedian, writer, actor and media maker Ryan McMahon.
For more information on programming, visit celebrationofnations.ca. Additional programming to be announced in coming weeks!