The Indigenous Arts Festival announces 2019 program lineup

The 7th annual Indigenous Arts Festival has announced its 2019 program lineup. The festival, which will take place at Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Blvd., from June 18 to 23, is a celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous music, dance, theatre, storytelling, film, crafts and culinary experiences of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

The City of Toronto produces The Indigenous Arts Festival, in partnership with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and The Friends of Fort York.

The festival is presented by Tim Hortons, with financial support from the Government of Canada and sponsorships from CN, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), and Stantec.

The festival offers Indigenous cultural education programming for students from across the Greater Toronto Area from June 18 to June 21, culminating with a weekend of free celebrations including the Na-Me-Res Annual Traditional Pow Wow and evening musical performances on the Garrison Common Main Stage. For information on the festival and its artists, visit

Highlights of the festival weekend include the following performances/events on June 21:

Project of Heart Collaborative Arts Mural
Youth are invited to paint wood tiles in memory of a residential school student. The tiles will become part of a larger mural that will develop over the course of the festival.

Okitchitaw Indigenous Weapons Experience with George Lepine
Okitchitaw is a unique, powerful, practical martial art system that uses basic, but aggressive combat movements that were employed specifically throughout Plains Indigenous Warfare.

Biidaaban: First Light Interactive VR Project
Rooted in the realm of Indigenous futurism, Biidaaban: First Light, presented by the National Film Board of Canada and House of VR, is an interactive, virtual reality time-jump into a highly realistic and radically different future for Toronto.

The Moccasin Identifier Project with Carolyn King
Carolyn King, former elected Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, will discuss the context, aim, and activities of the “Moccasin Identifier Project”, an educational and public intervention project to promote the ongoing presence of First Nations in cities throughout Ontario.

Performances on the Tim Hortons Festival Stage will include:
– Toronto Métis Jiggers, Toronto’s most recognized Métis dance collective
– Fawn Big Canoe, First Nations DJ
– Brendt Thomas Diabo & the Ramblers, Classic country and Rockabilly band
– Dave Mowat and the Curbside Shuffle, Blues band
– Beatrice Deer, Traditional Inuit throat singer
– Quantum Tangle, JUNO award-winning group

Highlighted performances/events on June 22 include:

The Pow Wow Experience with Indigenize Our Minds
Participants will learn the origin of the Pow Wow and the significance of various dance and regalia styles. The workshop will be at the Visitor Centre Orientation Theatre – 10:45 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Na-Me-Res Annual Traditional Pow Wow
Every year, thousands of people attend the celebration to enjoy traditional food and watch more than 100 drummers and dancers from across the province perform. 12 p.m. – Grand Entry.

Performances on the Tim Hortons Festival Stage will include:
– Amanda Rheaume, Singer/songwriter
– Jah’kota, Rap/Hip Hop performer
– Midnight Shine, Northern rock band

On June 23, The Indigenous Arts Festival Market Day will take place with more than 30 Indigenous vendors showcasing authentic Indigenous artistry including jewellery, clothing, leather goods, beadwork and more.

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