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Artist Biographies

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie was a graduating college senior in 1962 and hit the ground running in the early the Sixties, after the beatniks and before the hippies. All alone she toured North America's colleges, reservations and concert halls, meeting both huge acclaim and huge misperception from audiences and record companies who expected Pocahontas in fringes, and instead were both entertained and educated with their initial dose of Native American reality in the first person.

By age 24, Buffy Sainte-Marie had appeared all over Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia, receiving honors, medals and awards which continue to this day. Her song "Until It's Time for You to Go" was recorded by Elvis and Barbra and Cher, and her "Universal Soldier" became the anthem of the peace movement. For her very first album she was voted Billboard's Best New Artist.

She disappeared suddenly from the mainstream American airwaves during the Lyndon Johnson years. As part of a blacklist which affected Eartha Kitt, Taj Mahal and a host of other outspoken performers, her name was included on White House stationery as among those whose music "deserved to be suppressed". In Indian country and abroad, however, her fame only grew. She continued to appear at countless grassroots concerts, AIM events and other activist benefits. She made 17 albums of her music, three of her own television specials, spent five years on Sesame Street, scored movies, helped to found Canada's 'Music of Aboriginal Canada' JUNO category, raised a son, earned a Ph.D. in Fine Arts, taught Digital Music as adjunct professor at several colleges, and won an Academy Award Oscar for the song "Up Where We Belong".

Buffy Sainte-Marie virtually invented the role of Native American international activist pop star. Her concern for protecting indigenous intellectual property, and her distaste for the exploitation of Native American artists and performers has kept her in the forefront of activism in the arts for forty years. Presently she operates the Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education whose Cradleboard Teaching Project serves children and teachers in eighteen states.

Patty Cano

Born in Sudbury, ON to Peruvian parents, Patricia took to the stage very young as a dancer, becoming a founding
member of "Earthdancers" as well as "The Hispanic Breezes", two local non-profit dance companies, by the age of 10!
In her teens, she performed in two local theatre productions and thus became interested in the acting profession.
Patricia attended the University of Toronto where she studied theatre and met two very important theatre artists who
influenced her professional career. The first is Tomson Highway. In 2000, Patricia played the role of Emily Dictionary
in the University College Drama Program's world premiere production of ROSE! Since then, Patricia and Tomson have
travelled the world performing a cabaret of his stories and of his songs. The second great influence in her life is Jean-Jacques
Lemêtre, musician for Le Théâtre du Soleil in Paris, France. Through him, Patricia was invited to work with the company under
the direction of one of the world's leading theatre directors, Ariane Mnouchkine. Spending four years in Paris, Patricia toured the world over,
playing major theatre festivals from New York all the way to Melbourne. Along the way, she also studied traditional korean
arts - singing and drumming - at the University of Traditional Arts in Seoul, as well as participated in two Korean World Drum Festivals!

Since returning home to Sudbury, ON - her home base - in May of 2007, Patricia has produced several highly successful benefit concerts
while working towards building intimate ties with exceptional local jazz musicians! She performed at the Sudbury Northern
Lights Festival Boreal in 2007 and, very recently had the privilege of performing alongside the Quarrington brothers!

In 2007/2008, Patricia spent six months in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, performing with many different musical artists.
Currently, her main artistic collaborator is a Brazilian guitarist by the name of Carlos Bernardo with whom Patricia is songwriting
and fine crafting a beautiful musical relationship! Together they perform traditional songs from Peru, Brazil, Korea and beyond, drawing on
their respective cultures and their vast travel experiences (both worked and toured with Le Théâtre du Soleil!) as well as their own original creations.

Tomson Highway

Tomson Highway is the son of legendary caribou hunter and world championship dogsled racer, Joe Highway. Born in a tent pitched in a snow bank -- in December! - just south of the Manitoba/Nunavut border (near Saskatchewan), he now, for a living, writes novels, plays, and music. Of the many works he has written to date, his best known are the plays, "THE REZ SISTERS," "DRY LIPS OUGHTA MOVE TO KAPUSKASING," "ROSE," "ERNESTINE SHUSWAP GETS HER TROUT," and the best-selling novel, "KISS OF THE FUR QUEEN." For many years, he ran Canada's premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts (out of Toronto), out of which has emerged an entire generation of professional Native theatre artists (actors, playwrights, etc.). He has, as well, three children's books to his credit, all written bilingually in Cree (his mother tongue) and English. He divides his year equally between a cottage in northern Ontario (near Sudbury) and an apartment in the south of France, at both of which locales he is currently at work on his second novel.

Lori Blondeau

Lori Blondeau is a performance artist and is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She completed her MFA at the University of Saskatchewan. She is also a co-founder and the current director of Canada's most innovative and exciting aboriginal arts organization, TRIBE.

Lori's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She remounted her performance "We Want to be Just Like Barbie That Bitch has Everything" for the group exhibition, The People's Plastic Princess , at The Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff, Canada (1998). Her most recent work was includes collaboration with artist James Luna and Bradlee LaRocque on a series of installations and a performance titled Dead Fall Revue . This work was presented at the Institute for American Indian Art (IAIA), Santa Fe, NM, in 2001. Her current work is a series of three performance based on memory, home, displacement and decolonization. In September (2002) she presented a performance in Milan, Italy for the exhibition Americas Remixed.

Adrian Stimson

Adrian A. Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation in southern Alberta. After obtaining a BFA with distinction from the Alberta College of Art & Design, he moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to begin a MFA program at the University of Saskatchewan where his thesis will include ideas of identity, physics, two spirited people, ecology and spiritual healing through the aboriginal art movement.

Adrian returned to school after serving eight years as Tribal Councilor for the Siksika Nation, he also served as President for the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centers based in Ottawa. He has been a board member for the Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship, and Multiculturalism Education Fund Advisory Committee, AIDS Calgary, Calgary Aboriginal Arts Awareness Society and the John Howard Society. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in June 2003 for outstanding work within various communities.

Elaine Bomberry

Elaine Bomberry is from Six Nations on the Grand River in Ontario. As a freelance Aboriginal arts activist/promoter/radio producer, Elaine has worked on many projects in film, video, television, radio, music, theatre, and now wants to expand into new media.

Working full-time in the Aboriginal arts scene for fourteen years, as a general manager, publicist, promoter, and with her mother was partner of an Aboriginal talent agency, All Nations Talent Group, for six years. She also helped create the Best Music of Aboriginal Canada recording category for the JUNO Awards, and was the first chairperson. Elaine also served in many arts boards and arts council juries over this time.

Elaine was a volunteer producer/host of her own radio show called Aboriginal Airwaves on CKRZ-FM for eight years. The show focused on contemporary Aboriginal music and arts. She hopes to syndicate this show, and hopefully over the Internet in the very near future.

Missy Knott

Missy Knott is singer of Aboriginal heritage from Peterborough, Ontario. Missy's music is a roots influenced pop/rock sound.
She began her journey as a young girl acting on big stages, performing at school functions and recording her very first pop cover when she turned 12 years old. Missy started living her dream when she got the role of the lead singer in the band, Fusion, where she met her current songwriter, Sam Ferguson. Ferguson also plays guitar and sings backing vocals for all of Missy's music. Currently Missy Knott is recording her first debut C.D, "For No Reason At All...", to be released May 15th 2009.

Sarah DeCarlo

Sarah DeCarlo is an Ojibway filmmaker/musician and community arts and access advocate. Her films have screened at Optic Nerve, Image+Nation, Imaginenative and Weeneebeg Film Festivals.

She has had a wide range of experiences working in First Nations communities in various capacities. For nine years she has worked with the Cree Nation of Wemindji located in Northern Quebec completing various contracts including proposal development, community development and as a youth arts and video animator.

She was the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and has worked by contract with the Department of Canadian Heritage as well as the Laidlaw Foundation.

Sarah is an Ontario Arts Council grant recipient and has carried out several youth based video workshops in Toronto, Peterborough as well as in remote communities. She has continuously worked by contact producing short promotional films for various grassroots organizations. She has also multiple experiences as a juror on grant selection committees.

In 2006/07 she worked with Isuma Distribution International on their Indigenous Film Network Initiative assisting in the coordination of a large scale tour of First Nations communities in Quebec and Ontario. She also attended the tour delivering workshops and film screenings in 6 communities.

Sarah has a wide range of video production and post-production skills and possesses her own gear. She specializes in teaching video skills in many communities working most closely with youth.

Sarah studied Native and Political Studies at Trent University while having also completed the Canadian Film and Television Production Association's Aboriginal Producer Training Program with the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto in 2005/06.

Christian Chapman

Christian lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Some of these pieces are of snippets of memory, of my grandfather telling me things," Chapman says, describing his silk-screened and painted work. "Some of the stories are funny to me. They are all real stories - not legends. They are all incidents that have happened before." Chapman credits the freedom he had while creating art as a child and his family influences for his artistic abilities. "I've been doing crafty art stuff all my life," Chapman says. "My whole family is good at art as well." Chapman produced this group of work over the past 10 months through an Ontario Arts Council grant; for his next project, he plans to shoot a film in the spring featuring a residential school story about his father and uncle. "They left when they were really young,"
Chapman says. "I'm going to shoot a short story on their journey home."

Jean Marshall

Jean Marshall is an aboriginal from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, known as Big Trout Lake First Nation, located approximately 450km northeast of Sioux Lookout Ontario and is accessible by air. Jean has lived in Thunder Bay most of her adult life. She graduated from the Port Arthur Collegiate Institute, and went on to Trent University in Peterborough Ontario, to complete a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honors Program) Department of Native Studies and finally attended Confederation College in Thunder Bay to complete an Aboriginal Women in Skilled Trades (Welding).

Jean now focuses her talent in a wide array of intricate beadwork; her work includes small framed designs, such as floral patterns, feathers, butterflies and animal designs. She also does chair caning, stained glass, woodwork and most recently created her own greeting cards and silk-screened t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Brock Stonefish

Brock Stonefish, a 22 year old member of the Delaware First Nation, recently opened for B.B. King, which anyone would agree is a pretty good stepping stone on the way to establishing a career singing the blues. Playing rhythm and slide guitar, Brock started in music as a Powwow singer before noticing the similarity between Native and Blues Music. Though he took up the blues on a whim, Brock is a bright new talent who impressed B.B King.

Gary Farmer

Gary Farmer has been an actor for 33 years in such films as POWWOW HIGHWAY, DEAD MAN, THE SCORE, SMOKE SIGNALS and spent years on stage in the theatre primarily in Toronto, Ontario. Farmer has been a harp player since a teenager and matured into a jammer with bands in towns across Canada and the United States. His influences include John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, BB King, Etta James, Jesse Ed Davis, Little Walter, Charlie Musselwhite, Dr. John, Willie Dixon and Taj Mahal. But as a Native American--Cayuga of the Six Nations Confederacy-most influential were the many blues players of his own Native community such as Sid Hill, Faron John and Derek Miller. "The Iroquois Confederacy is composed of the Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca and the Tuscarora who were in the fields when the African slave trade arrived in America," said Farmer. "The blues is Native-American influenced, too, and I'm digging deep to expose those roots. It's our music, our common history."

Bear Witness

Ottawa-based media artist Ehren Bear Witness Thomas has been producing short experimental video works for over six years. Bear was the recipient of the Golden Cherry Award for Video Artist of the Year 2008. His video "BrokeDickDog" was included in the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography exhibition Stealing the Gaze: Portraits of Aboriginal Artists curated by Andrea Kunard and Steven Loft hosted by the National Gallery of Canada. Bear was commissioned by ImagiNATIVE in partnership with the Goepthe Institute and the National Gallery of Canada to produce a video for the Culture Shock screening at the 2008 ImagiNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival. Bear's video "The story Apanatschi and Her Red Headed Wrestler" was screened at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival. In the Summer of 2008, Bear exhibited two new videos as part of Drive By: A Road Trip with Jeff Thomas at The University of Toronto Art Centre. Bear's current projects include producing a new video installation in preparation for the exhibition Home Land and Security at Render Gallery in Waterloo (2009) curated Jeff Thomas. Recently, he co-founded a Native DJ collective that hosts a monthly event, Electric Pow Wow.

Kent Monkman

Born in St. Marys, Ontario, Kent Monkman is an artist of Cree ancestry who works with a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance and installation. He has had solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Walter Phillips Gallery, and the Indian Art Centre, and has participated in various international group exhibitions including: "We come in peace..." Histories of the Americas, at the Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal, and The American West , at Compton Verney, in Warwickshire, England. Monkman has created site specific performances at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and at Compton Verney, UK, and has also made super 8 mm versions of these performances that he calls "Colonial Art Space Interventions". His award-winning short film and video works have been screened at various national and international festivals, including Sundance, Berlin, and the Toronto International Film Festival. His work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Museum London, The Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Woodland Cultural Centre, the Indian Art Centre, and the Canada Council Art Bank. A solo exhibition of his work was mounted by the Art Gallery of Hamilton in the summer of 2007 and will tour to museums across Canada including Art Gallery of Victoria, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Yvonne Garbutt

Both design and content are equally important in my work. I enjoy exploring colour, texture and shape- constructing with paint. Incorporating found objects- craft items may support humour in the work, but also honours the craftswomen in my family. The content often deals with family history, issues of identity, politics, and the environment. There is a narrative element evident. Aboriginal culture is an oral tradition and in my art, I can relate and interpret the stories passed down to me by my grandmother.

Glenna Matoush

Glenna Matoush's work connects all of us to the land, often referencing traditional /anishinaabe /knowledge (as seen in her use of the Peterborough Petroglyphs) as an important way for understanding the contemporary world for all of us.

Glenna Matoush works with materials, texture and colour in a way that combines the influence of traditional Native crafts, with a
sensitivity to light, colour and movement. Also a printmaker and
sculptor, Glenna's art has been exhibited locally and internationally
and is in private, corporate and museum collections. Her work has been from Russia, the Canadian Canadian Embassy in Guatemala and Italy to France and many places closer to home.

Glenna has won a Quebec Cultural Affairs Honour and has had her work included in several publications. The Cree Youth can be inspired by Glenna's art through the murals she has painted at the Ouje-Bougoumou community school.

A professional artist for over twenty-five years, Glenna Matoush has
become well known within the Cree communities as well as across
Canada, the United States and in Europe. Glenna lived for many years
in Mistissini and tells how her research on traditional native ceremonies and art helped her to gain a view of their role in the
cultural reinforcement and on native identity. She incorporated this
knowledge into her work both abstractly and figuratively through the
use of traditional materials such as birch bark, porcupine quills,
moose and caribou hair, bones beads as well as sweet grass and cedar on paper, canvas and denim with both acrylic and oils. This, in turn, unites her art to tradition; working with materials in a creative way is inseparable from lifestyle.

Alice Williams

Ms. Alice Olsen Williams lives on Curve Lake. She is best known for her unique quilted textile works that blend expressions of Anishinaabe
beliefs and ideology with reflections on contemporary social issues.
In her unique quilted textile works that blend expressions of Anishinaabe beliefs and ideology with reflections on contemporary
social issues. Her distinctive style is grounded in the traditional
skills of beadwork and sewing of the /anishinaabe/ people and the
unique symbols and themes of their culture.

Norman Knott

Norman was born of Ojibwe parents on the Curve lake Reserve. He lived there all of his life, hunting, fishing, trapping, guiding and doing
his art work. Norman's intimate knowledge of nature, his familiarity
with Ojibwe myths, legends and history are executed in his art work in an Ojibwe art form. As a self-taught artist, Norman's work reflects
the traditional stories of the /anishinaabe/ from the Curve Lake First
Nations community.

Jimson Bowler

Jimson's inspiration comes from the Peterborough Petroglyphs, using
the story of the /anishinaabe/ trickster /nanaaboozhoo/ as a teacher
lessons and stories. Jimson creates one of a kind jewelry using
recycled silver in the form of forks, spoons, knives; and cuts stones
from his own unique collection acquired over the years. His sculptural
work combines traditional mediums such as bone and turquoise with
discarded modern materials. Jimson takes inspiration from the traditional ways that respectfully uses all materials from mother earth and seeks to create objects that keep the stories alive, motivate us to learn the culture and realize that Aboriginal people are not relics of an ancient past.

David Johnson

Painting since his early 20's David's style has traversed many phases.
His latest is an indepth exploration of the ancient drawings and the
petroglyphs known as the Teaching Rocks. Active in his community of
Curve Lake First Nation and a member of council, David's paintings
reflect a great care for his traditional past as well as the spiritual
future of his people.

Michael Belmore

Michael Belmore was born in 1971 north of Thunder Bay and graduated with an A.O.C.A. in Sculpture/Installation from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, Ontario in 1994. Belmore's materials are key to his work and bring into account how we view nature as commodity. For several years his work has evolved around our use of technology and how it has affected our relationship to the environment. Previous
exhibitions have included First Nations Art at the Woodland Cultural
Centre, Brantford, Ontario (1992), Naked State at the Power Plant
Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront, Toronto, Ontario (1994),
Staking Land Claims at the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Alberta
(1997), lichen at the Toronto Sculpture Garden (1998), and Vantage
Point at Sacred Circle Art Gallery, Seattle, Washington (2002). As
well, Belmore has shown with several artist-run-centres and
collectives across Canada and created site-specific public art
installations for Thunder Bay Art Gallery, University of Western
Ontario in London and for the City of Peterborough. A member of the
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Belmore's work is represented in the permanent and private collections.

Neal McLeod

Neal McLeod is a multimedia artist with a wide range of talents. He is
a painter, poet, academic, writer and former member of the comedy
troupe the Bionic Bannock Boys. McLeod has an MA in Philosophy from
the University of Saskatchewan, and received his PhD in Canadian
Plains Studies from the University of Regina in 2004. He now lives in
Peterborough, Ontario, where he is an associate professor in the
Department of Indigenous Studies at Trent University. A member of the James Smith Cree First Nation of northern Saskatchewan, McLeod draws heavily on his Aboriginal ancestry for creative inspiration.

Dr. Marlene Brant Castellano

Trailblazing is an exacting process. The course needs to be plotted minutely so those that followers miss the wrong turns and dead ends that might prevent completion of their journey. Trailblazing demands a requisite courage, aplomb, and resiliency. Dr. Marlene Brant Castellano is a trailblazer. When she retired in July of 1996, she left behind a body of work and accomplishment that blazed the way to university careers for Aboriginal scholars. Through the power of her example and effort, the 60-year-old Mohawk has increased the presence of Aboriginal curriculum, knowledge, and students on campuses in the United States and Canada. She was the first Aboriginal full professor in a Canadian university when she joined the Faculty of Native Studies at Trent University in 1971 and she received her Ph.D. in Educational Theory from the University of Toronto in 1981. She served as Chairman of the Department of Native Studies at Trent University from 1978 to 1980 and in 1992 began work as Co-Director of Research for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Her expertise in First Nations family and mental health, social services, Aboriginal women’s perspectives, and indigenous knowledge is sought by universities, professional bodies, and community organisations in Canada and around the world. She received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Education for her dedication to the development of Aboriginal curriculum and filling Canadian campuses with an Aboriginal presence

Drea Nasager

Drea has been an artist her whole life and recently developed her craft as a singer songwriter upon moving to peterborough in 1999. It was the Indigenous Studies program @ Trent University that drew her here, an unstoppable blood memory and connection drew her in. She has written and recorded 8 independent albums and toured Canada and the EU. Drea is humbled and excited to perform at the Ode'Min Giizis Festival as this is the first Aboriginal forum she has had the honour of participating in as a nonstatus Indian. Drea will be performing original songs with members of the HOLYLOWDOWN Band.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a leading Indigenous researcher, writer, educator and activist. She is a citizen of the Nishnaabeg nation, with roots in the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, and obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba in 1999. She currently works with Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada and internationally on issues regarding land, politics, governance and Indigenous Knowledge. Leanne's work has appeared in the Wicazo Sa Review, the American Indian Quarterly, the American Indian Cultural Journal, the Canadian Journal of Native Studies, the Journal of Aboriginal Health, the Tribal College Journal, Spirit Magazine and Now Magazine. She has also written chapters for Native Historians Write Back: Decolonizing American Indian History, forthcoming from the University of Texas Press, The Politics of Participation in Sustainable Development Governance, United Nations University Press, Until our Hearts are on the Ground: Aboriginal Mothering: Oppression, Resistance and Transformation, Demeter Press, and Every Grain of Sand: Canadian Perspectives on Ecology and Environment, Wilfred Laurier Press, amongst many others. She is the editor of the recently released Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence and Protection of indigenous Nations, published by Arbieter Ring Publishing. Leanne is currently teaching at Athabasca and Trent Universities. She lives in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough, Ontario) with her partner and her two young children, Nishna and Minowewebeneshiinh.

Dr. Paula Sherman

Dr. Paula Sherman is Omàmìwinini and Family Head on Ka-Pishkawandemin, the traditional Council from Ardoch. She is also an assistant professor in Indigenous Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.