Inaugural area event celebrates local Indigenous art, culture

Juno Award winning artist Digging Roots to perform, while Rama First Nation’s Sherry Lawson will be a featured speaker as part of the festivities

Local organizations in the region have partnered to present the inaugural Indigenous Art and Culture Awareness Week starting Monday.

This week-long event will highlight Indigenous creative work through the mediums of dance, food, literature, music and visual arts & crafts.

There will also be educational and workshop components throughout th event, which kicks off Monday morning with a 7 am sunrise ceremony at Midland’s Neezhoday Park (located beside the library).

Events will be presented in various locations around the area with a participation by a number of organizations.

The Midland Cultural Centre plays host to a number of events throughout the week, including an acoustic cafe with Shawn Corbiere Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 pm “Songs of Georgian Bay” Shawn was born out of Corbiere’s creativity and First Nations heritage.

Later in the week, Juno Award winning band Digging Roots will take the MCC stage.

The band’s expected to take the audience on a journey through tall grass, sweet waters and unconditional love in a joyous and powerful celebration of the new album Zhawenim Friday. The seven-piece band presents a blues, soul and rock n’ roll show that sizzles with ShoShona Kish’s dynamic and compelling vocals and Raven Kanatakta’s “rock god” riffs.

On Saturday, there’s a chance to check out the MCC’s Indigenous Art Gallery and meet artist Clayton Samuel King, who will answer questions about his art process and tell the tales that inspired this Exhibition.

There will also be a Rotary Hall screening of the short film by Alec Jordan that accompanies the “GaagigeBimaadiziwin Everlasting Life” exhibition.

The Midland Public Library will host a number of author visits throughout the week, including Sherry Lawson Tuesday at 7 pm

Lawson is a citizen of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, the third child of an Ojibway father and an Algonkian mother. Her father was a chief, language keeper, and noted “rabble-rouser.”

Lawson “grew up listening to the stories of her people from her father and paternal grandmother,” a release noted.

“Known as a historian, author, public speaker and defender of the marginalized, Sherry has had an interesting and checkered work history” and has authored three autobiographical books.

Other author readings are slated for Thursday and Saturday.

On Wednesday from 9 am to 1 pm, Parks Canada will host a guided natural and cultural history hike of Georgian Bay Islands National Park/Beausoleil Island National Historic Site with pick up from the Midland town dock (pre-registration is required).

“Come take a cultural walk on a landscape as old as time itself,” the release noted, “where Indigenous peoples walked and gathered medicines for thousands of years.”

Also on Wednesday at 6 pm, the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum & Archives will host a session entitled “What is Spirituality with Grandmother Trish.” Participants will be able to come and learn about First Nation spirituality with Grandmother Elder Patricia Monague from Beausoleil First Nations. The event is free and will include refreshments.

And next Saturday and Sunday, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons will host a wrap-up event with a host of activities at the site, including drumming, cultural education demonstrations and historic interpretive activities. Regular admission rates apply.

The Culture Alliance in the Heart of Georgian Bay in partnership with Simcoe County will host a workshop Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre.

Entitled “Foundations of Cultural Competency” and led by Kelly Brownbill, the free workshop is an introductory foundation to an examination of First Nation/Aboriginal issues in Canada today. The main purpose is to provide participants with the tools they need to begin to establish healthy , viable relationships with Indigenous communities and clients.

To see more activities and learn more about the event, click here.

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