FALL 2023 FIRE RECIPIENTS
Kyle Napier – DeneQuest
DeneQuest is a 48-bit RPG game designed to help Dene DedlıneYatı language learners connect to the land! Help Elders, gain animal friends, and learn your language in real-life environments across Tu Nedhé. Elder Eileen Beaver came up with the concept and is the game translator, while Kyle Napier does project development and coding.
Ellie Adjun – KalikuqMaking Workshop
This project is designed to teach Kitikmeot style Kalikuq making with Inuit women from the Edmonton area. The workshop will create a place to teach, gather, and listen to stories from Elders and share traditional history.
Verna Fisher – New Beginnings (OskyaMatchetawin)
This project aims to facilitate healing and personal growth by connecting individuals and families with traditional Plains Cree culture and teachings through a three-day cultural camp. Participants from sober-living homes in Edmonton will engage in various activities, including learning legends, art, history of the land, and self-identity with guidance from Elders.
Britney Supernault – Save Sage (An Indigenous Superhero Graphic Novel Series)
Save Sage is an Indigenous online webcomic and graphic novel series that follows the story of amiskwaciwâskahikan’s very own superhero: Sage Lightning, a 20-something 2-Spirit Cree heritage consultant gifted powers by the Ancient One to rebalance the scales of creation. The series centers around Cree teachings and stories, climate change, reconnection, and living in harmony with our environment.
Heather Shillinglaw – Nookomis/Dibiki-giizis/Grandmother Moon
This project will result in an exhibition and opportunities for community engagement. Events planned include an opening reception featuring Indigenous cuisine; Elder-led smudging ceremonies; musical performances; a panel on land and sky-based knowledg; a circle event prioritizing Elder storytelling and healing; and beading workshops led by the artist.
Conor McNally – Untitled George Littlechild Documentary
This feature documentary follows the life and work of nehiyaw painter George Littlechild. The film details his life story beginning in amiskwaciwâskahikan as a foster child, then moving through his emergence as a major artist. George shares stories of his upbringing and reconnection with his family in Maskwacis, as well as living a life as a two-spirited person. The film will culminate with an art unveiling at Red Deer Polytechnic, where George was the first Indigenous person to graduate from the Fine Art program.
Lillian Crier – Teaching Mossbag and Sewing
This project is an informational and hands-on session centred on creating and revitalizing grandmother’s teachings. Participants will learn how make moss bags and then wrap a doll.
Keara Lightning – pimâtisihtâw: a bison story
Pimâtisihtâw is an interactive historical narrative game centered around buffalo conservation and the Pablo-Allard buffalo herd in the early 20th century. The story immerses the player into the perspectives of buffalo generations and explores how conservation herds were captured and preserved. Players make choices that determine the story’s path, allowing them to delve into various buffalo herd narratives. Materials from the Whyte Museum and Montana Historical Society archives enrich the project.
Connie LeGrand (Cikwes) – NehiyawNikamowinaᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ (Cree Songs Concert)
This project will feature performances premiering at the 2024 SkirtsAfireFestival as delivered entirely in Nehiyawewin, the Cree language. They will target a diverse audience, including the general public, Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and younger audiences, such as Amiskwaciy high school students. The school matinees will also incorporate Cree language teachings, including the Cree Alphabet song. The concert will promote the retention and revitalization of Nehiyawewin through the joy of singing and cultural celebration.
E2S (Edmonton 2 Spirit Society) – Crafting Spiritual sîsîkwâ Melodies
This series of workshops in a safe and inclusive setting will bring together thirteen (13) 2 Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQQIA+ individuals to delve into the sacred teachings and stories regarding the sîsîkwâ (rattle). Through craft and storytelling, the workshops will rekindle traditional knowledge within the 2 Spirit community, providing an opportunity to explore cultural teachings that 2 Spirit peoples have been disconnected from through colonization.
SPRING 2023 FIRE RECIPIENTS
Chad Whitford – From Our Elders
From Our Elders is a short film project aimed at capturing and preserving the cultural knowledge and heritage of nêhiyawak elders and speakers in the amiskwaciwâskahikan area through short video interviews in nêhiyawêwin, the Plains Cree language, featuring prominent elders such as Reuben Quinn, nôhkom Florence Kazony and Wayne Jackson.
Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective – kamâmak nihtâwikihcikan
kamâmak nihtâwikihcikan intends to build a new garden in the downtown core of amiskwacîwâskahikan. This space is an invitation to co-exist – centering on reflection, interaction and the care of medicinal plants. Ociciwan will aim to maintain the space for community access, with garden is intended to be programmable space for art-related events, including Elder talks, moosehide tanning, ghost stories and more!
Charis Auger – Miyo pimâtisiwin
This project is to bring and support approximately 13 young people to the kihcihkaw askî (Sacred Land) ceremonial site in amiskwacîwâskahikan in order to receive traditional rites-of-passage teachings from Elder Marjorie Wright. This will be a one-day event that will take place in kihcihkaw askî for a ceremonial fire and lodge/tipi raising.
Native Counselling Services of Alberta – Indigenous Cultural Programming: Flying Canoe Volant Festival 2024
This project will aim to continue Indigenous presence and representation at the annual 2024 Flying Canoe festival. The project will continue to challenge colonial narratives while highlighting “Reconcili-Action” activities, art installations, Friendship Dances, story telling, traditional songs and dances, as well as a feature of contemporary Indigenous artists.
Edmonton Aboriginal Seniors Centre – Rippling Winds
The Rippling Winds project intends to host Teachings Circles for Indigenous seniors with a focus on the arts, connectivity, healing, and growth. Participants will attend land-based and cultural workshops, sharing circles that will provide a safe and trauma-informed space for participants to express themselves creatively in order to ensure the art-making process is empowering and healing.
Kokum’s Helper Society – Kokum’s Helper Round Dance
This project is to launch the Kokum’s Helper Society with a round dance in order to honour those who have passed without culturally relevant care. It will be held centrally to ensure access to urban Indigenous people, and will include traditional songs, as well as feast and a giveaway to those who may not have access to ceremonies.
Creating Hope Society – Healing Through Regalia Project
This project is to facilitate, through a trauma-informed lens, a safe learning environment to participate in regalia making. The project will provide participants with the knowledge and understanding of the cultural protocols associated with the Powwow. Participants will learn several styles of Pow-wow dancing and create their own unique regalia to begin their journey on the Pow-wow trail.
FALL 2022 FIRE RECIPIENTS
Emily Riddle and Jo-Ann Saddleback – Documentary
This short documentary film will follow Jo-Ann’s Capan, aged three, as she creates dancing regalia in community, connects to ceremony, and is initiated into being a dancer. The project will invite people to participate in conversations and teachings about Cree parenting, inviting participation in sewing workshops for people to create their own regalia while supporting a Cree toddler. Once this film is complete, the team plans to show it at festivals and use the film as a teaching resource.
Cindy Paul – Nikâwiy
Nikâwiy, a theatre performance, will be a series of contemporary and traditional songs, storytelling, art and dance that explores the relationship between ourselves, our mothers, our grandmothers, and Mother Earth. The performance will explore how society has lost its way and how we can create solutions and action to get back to a circle of care and connection to our Matriarchy and the land. Nikâwiy will celebrate the strength and resilience of our mothers while sharing cultural awareness and truths.
Arthur Martel – Drum Making
In this ongoing drum-making class, Arthur will teach ten Indigenous youth how to make drums, play drums, and learn the method of playing hand games. He will continue mentoring these youth to compete in hand game tournaments held in Edmonton throughout the year.
Danielle Paradis – Métis Finger Weaving
Métis finger weaving sash workshops will be held for Indigenous youth and others affected by the legacy of residential schools. Exploring a traditional art, participants will learn the history of the Métis sash and its importance in Métis culture, as well as celebrating Michif culture in Edmonton. For two full–day workshops, participants will gather and explore the rich cultural background of the Métis people and exchange their stories while participating in the ancient tradition of finger weaving. They will work with an Elder to gather traditional Métis stories about the sash, the meaning of the traditional colours and other seasonably appropriate teachings for the workshop. Participants will leave with a mini sash, a new skill, and new stories about their culture.
Nadia Houle – Carrying Our Grandmother’s Songs
Carrying Our Grandmother’s Songs is a project with Kihew Awasis Wakamik Cultural Society about Indigenous midwifery, Indigenous birth stories, and the journey of motherhood. This project will involve ceremony and storytelling circles with community sharing birth experiences. Nadia will create birthing resources and a space for community to learn about traditional birthing practices.
Kiki Twinn – Kokum Gets a Dick Pic
In this audio narrative, Rose (A.K.A Kokum) is amused to receive a dick pic from a young uncle on her cell phone. When Rose realizes the picture was sent to her intentionally, the narrative explores ideas of consent, ageism, Rose’s own desires, and what a decolonized sexuality could look like. This will be a fictional rendering with historical/traditional knowledge of sex, sexuality, and gender tied together.
SPRING 2022 FIRE RECIPIENTS
Jessica Sanderson-Barry – Storytelling Through Resurgence of Urban Moose Hide Tanning
Jessica Sanderson-Barry’s project presented a safe space for folks to learn how to try moose meat, flesh and scrape a moose hide, work with finished smoked moose hide, and make a pair of hide earrings. Hide tanning is a form of reclamation, sovereignty, and cultural resurgence. It provides healing to our communities and this urban hide camp will revitalize these traditional practices in amiskwacîwâskahikan so we can continue to tell our stories of who we are and where we come from.
Kyla Pascal – She Said So
A showcase stories and art from Métis community writers and illustrators in an Edmonton-based art show. This show will be a place to share stories, ideas, passions, and histories and will include an exhibit as well as a zine. The art will focus on the stories of women and gender diverse folks, featuring both new and emerging artists.
Meghan and Tamara Eaker – miyo pimatisiwin storysharing circle
In this storytelling series, Indigenous community members and allies gather in community to support each other by sharing our stories, poetry, and art as medicine. The circle is guided by nehiyaw-informed storysharing approach called e-mamawi niâcimowinân (we share our stories all together), which is grounded in nehiyaw teachings including wahkowtowin (kinship/we are all related), miyo-wîcihitowin (living harmony together), and miyo pimatisiwin (a good life). The miyo pimatisiwin storysharing circle is a way of responding to the need for Indigenous community mutual aid, empowered healing, and the co-creation of joyful and just futures for ourselves and our communities in this time of colonialism. Each circle brings together community members, an Elder, a ‘supportive listening auntie,’ organizers, and guest readers.
Heather Shillinglaw – ᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᒋᑲᐣ ᑯᑖᐄᐧᐤ mâmitonêyihcikan kotâwîw (my mind digs in the soil like a turtle)
This visual art project consists of stitched landscapes examining lost creeks, ponds, and lakes in the Edmonton river valley. With teachings from Elder Shirley Norris-Shillinglaw on oral-histories, ethnobotany, harvesting ancestral lands, and further information from Ruth McConnell, an ethnologist/genealogist, Heather is researching the recorded history of these Edmonton landscapes and then will reproduce the physical land changes of the water loss into her designs. Her work will be shown at various art galleries in 2023.
The Red Road Healing Society – Shoonka Wakan Youth Memorial Horseback Ride
The Red Road Healing Society, with the assistance of Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, Ben Calf Robe Society, and with the support of Enoch Cree Nation, provides the Shoonka Wakan Youth Memorial Horseback Ride program to Indigenous youth experiencing homelessness, youth in government care or transitioning out of care, LGBTQ2S+, and youth with mental health and addiction challenges. Indigenous youth experiencing homelessness, youth in government care or transitioning out of care, LGBTQ2S+, and youth with mental health and addiction challenges will benefit from traditional healing ceremonies, and group therapy supported by equine therapy. The Shoonka Wakan Youth Memorial Horseback Ride is a more in-depth and longer duration pilot program that we plan to offer annually, where youth have direct access to ceremonial teachings, stories from Elders and trained counsellors, and each other in a group atmosphere.
2021 FIRE RECIPIENTS
Inuit Community Development and Education Foundation – Lighting the Qulliq
An Inuit led project, under the guidance of the Inuit Community Development and Education Foundation (ICDEF), seeking to engage youth and urban Inuit in traditional harvesting and preparation practices. Utilizing existing supply networks connected to the North, fresh resources will be brought to the Edmonton region for community and cultural practices. This will connect grassroots Inuit in Edmonton to said networks as well as ignite Inuit cultural practices in the urban space.
Edmonton 2Spirit Society – Resurging 2S Pride
A three stream project, carried forward by the Edmonton 2Spirit Society, which seeks to increase 2Spirit presence in Edmonton through the past, present and future. By examining Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ history in Edmonton, supporting youth in the city and providing health supports, the E2SS will provide a greater sense of belonging for its members and interested participants.
Arts Working Group in Indigenous Initiatives – Crowdcasting Project
By engaging artists, the public and scholars, the Arts Working Group in Indigenous Initiatives at the University of Alberta hosts crowdcasted sessions with a variety of media. With this format, hosts and artists have the flexibility to fully engage with participants through live broadcasting and q&a sessions.
Pei Pei Chei Ow – Cooking Classes
Utilizing his cooking skills and online presence, Chef Scott Jonathan Iserhoff hosts virtual and in-person cooking classes with an emphasis on Indigenous cuisine and foods. Participants will be provided the resources required to participate in the classes, and videos will be shared online for future visitors.
Trent Agecoutay – Do You Hear Me Now?
Delving into the untold history of Indigenous music, podcaster Trent Agecoutay and his team shine a light on an important aspect of Indigenous culture from the 1960’s forward. By engaging in a number of interviews and storytelling, Do You Hear Me Now? not only explores history, but opens doors to a new future for young Indigenous musicians.
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