National Indigenous Peoples Day
Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day
Live at the Kisanii Hub
June 21, 2022
David Crombie Park | The Esplanade & Princess St
In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day, Jamii hosted an array of Indigenous artists and mediums on The Esplanade. From live music, and traditional dance and music with EJ Kwandibens and his daughter Sagatay, to drumming with Sara Luey, Tracy Barker, and Maggie Asselstine, storytelling with Monique Diabo, photo exhibit unveiling and panel discussions, hosting by Jim Adams - our community was graced with stories of Indigenous resurgence, resistance and joy.
We paid special respects to our relationships with water through our 2022 theme "Water is Memory" and invite the audience to reflect through discussions on water protection, water teachings, and water as life.
The photo exhibit is showcased at The Esplanade & Princess Street until the early Fall of 2022.
Video and Edit by Recro Digital Marketing
Photos by Ana Higuera
Live at the Kisanii Hub Produced & Presented by Jamii
Jamii Team: Isorine Marc, Iris Unlu, Afnan Yakot, Yusra Yacout, Nadifa Daud Mohamed, Maysam Abu Khreibeh
Host: Jim Adams
"The Red Chair Sessions" Photo Exhibit: Nadya Kwandibens
Live Performer: Red Rhythm & Blues (Aqua Wawaskone, Valentina Morelli, Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk)
Drummer: Sara Luey, Tracy Barker, and Maggie Asselstine
Dancer: Sagatay Kwandibens & EJ Kwandibens
Storytelling: Monique Diabo
Stage Manager: Julia Beaulieu
Event Photographer: Ana Higuera
Event Videographer: Recro Digital Marketing
Jim Adams, Host
Jim Adams is a multidisciplinary artist and educator who combines his indigenous ways of being with contemporary art and scientific principles. He has worked as an indigenous educator in schools and institutions for the past ten years under his company Red Bear. Jim’s mother was a first generation Canadian, her parents having been born in Wales and Kent. He carries the DNA of the Swampy Cree and Innu from his paternal grandmother and the Mohawk from his paternal grandfather. This mix of nationalities gives Jim a great array of cultural connections to draw from. Both of his grandfathers were hunters and gatherers and knew their own respective cultural connections to the land and its inhabitants. This gentle yet profound understanding of the natural world has influenced much of his life and drawn him to seek the teachings of the plant and animal world.
Red Rhythm and Blues,
Creator of Red Rhythm & Blues, Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone embodies a beautiful mixture of Anishnaabe, Irish, and French heritage. They thoughtfully craft each song from their life experience as an IndigiQueer person of mixed ancestry, accompanied by their gifted queer guitarist, Valentina Morelli and award-winning Métis violinist Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuck. Together they craft soothing medicine music to heal the soul and free the spirit. Rooted in Indigenous storytelling, expressed through the ‘time old’ overcoming of the blues. Enjoy the universal language of love with this trio of magic.
The Swift Current Singers, Drumming Band
The Swift Current Singers are made up of 3 members. Maggie Asselstine, Tracy Barker and Sara Luey. Three Indigenous women who come together to share good medicine through song, and music with their community. They have been singing together for 3 years. "Sara is Cree/Saulteaux from Swan River, Manitoba. A 2 Spirit Kwe, her Spirit names are Spotted Eagle Woman, and Singing Wolf, and is a member of both the Bear and Wolf Clans. She has been a hand drummer for 5 years, sharing song and medicine within the Indigenous community of Tkaronto"
Nadya Kwandibens, Photographer of "The Red Chair Sessions"
Nadya Kwandibens is Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) from the Animakee Wa Zhing #37 First Nation in northwestern Ontario. She is an award winning self-taught portrait and events photographer, a Canon Ambassador, and has travelled extensively across Canada for over 10 years. In 2008 she founded Red Works Photography. Red Works is a dynamic photography company empowering contemporary Indigenous lifestyles and cultures through photographic essays, features, and portraits. Red Works specializes in natural light portraiture and headshots sessions plus event and concert photography. Red Works also provides image licensing, workshops, presentations and print products. Nadya’s photography has been exhibited in group and solo shows across Canada and the United States.
In 2018, Nadya won the Ontario Arts Council’s Indigenous Arts Award. In addition to commissioned works, Nadya delivers empowering photography workshops and presentations for youth, universities, and community groups. She currently resides in Tkarón:to on Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Mississauga of the Credit River & Dish With One Spoon Territory.
Sagatay Kwandibens, Dancer
Sagatay Kwandibens, A member of the loon clan. From both Whitesand and Constance lake first nations. She feels it’s of importance to acknowledge both her home communities as they are where her parents are from.
Sagatay Kwandibens is both a jingle dress dancer as well as fancy shawl dancer, today she will be dancing in her jingle dress regalia.
Monique Diabo, Storyteller
Almost every culture around Mother Earth has "Tricksters". From Greece with Hermes to the Caribbean with Anansi. In Indigenous cultures across Turtle Island they are known by many names; in Plains Cree territory they Weesageechak, in Anishinaabe territory they are Nanabozho. Tricksters are recognized as teachers and simultaneously pranksters, those who frequently cross and challenge boundaries, as well as often ignore social harmony and order.
Since time immemorial Indigenous people have shared Trickster stories to entertain community members as well as to transmit traditional knowledge about society, culture morality and ethics.
As a third generation Indigenous storyteller, Trickster stories have always been Monique's favorite to share.
EJ Kwandibens, Dancer
EJ Kwandibens, also known as Anikay-Keesic, is a member of the Loon Clan and is of Northern Woodland Anishiinaabe (Ojibway) of the Waahbiidaahgaah (Whitesand) First Nation community which is a part of the Robinson Superior 1850 Treaty region located 21 hours north of Toronto.
EJ has over two decades of work experience for cultural awareness development in healthy living. He has worked across many sectors such as, Educational Institutions, Correctional Services, Social Services, Child Welfare and Mental Health. He advocates the power of change through Indigenous Cultural Modalities.
The values and principles guiding his Indigenous ways of knowing and being stems from intergenerational knowledge transfer. Oral traditions form the foundation of Aboriginal societies, connecting speaker and listener in communal experience and uniting past and present in memory. The philosophy of “Miino Biimaahdizewin: Balanced Good Life” is a reclamation of the self and one’s ability to be interconnected through a holistic cultural lens.
June 21st, 2021
On Monday, June 21st, Jamii initiated a story-sharing circle in David Crombie Park, with the intent to acknowledge National Indigenous Day and honor the Indigenous peoples on whose land we currently reside.
Jim Adams, Jamii co-President and a member of the Tkaronto Indigenous arts community for many years, and the whole Jamii family, invited community members to listen and reflect as guest Indigenous artists share stories with us.
Guest artists include Kim Wheatley, Sue Croweagle, Jennifer Alicia, Leonard Benoit, and Aria Evans. It was an honor for Jamii to welcome such respected guests in our community.
The event was supported by Canadian Heritage and Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des arts du Canada.
Photos: Delphy Photography
June 21st, 2020
On June 21st, it was our deepest honour to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in David Crombie Park.
We are grateful for a beautiful audience to celebrate with us, and glad everyone kept their physical distances with one another.
Photos: Gillian Mapp
June 19th to 21st, 2019
In June 2019, with the support of Canadian Heritage, we invited one artist from each of the three Ontario communities Jamii is partnering with: Brian Outinen (Wawa/Michipicoten First Nation), Terri-Lynn Brennan (Wolfe Island) and Lucy Strang (Pikangikum First Nation). The artists spent a week on The Esplanade and directly engaged with 300 locals of all ages.
We organized workshops in both Market Lane Public School and Downtown Alternative School; a talk at the St Lawrence Library moderated by Kim Wheatley, with performances by Mahlikah Awe:ri; two talks for seniors taking place in both Crombie park and the St Lawrence Community Recreation Centre in partnership with the SLNA; a talk in the park with youth from the St Lawrence daycare; and one afternoon of celebration in partnership with Young People Theatre featuring IndigenizUS workshop by Lindy Kinoshameg, hoop dance performance by Rhonda Doxtator and a spoken word workshop with Mahlikah Awe:ri.
photos: Isorine Marc & Gillian Mapp