Yolanda Bonnell's bug is an enthralling journey into Indigenous women's lives

BUG by Yolanda Bonnell (Manidoons Collective/Theatre Passe Muraille/Native Earth Performing Arts). At Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson). Runs to February 22. $17-$38. 416-504-7529, passemuraille.ca. See listing. Rating: Yolanda Bonnell’s solo show bug is an enthralling journey into the struggles of two Indigenous women – and their vices. The character we spend the most time with is the Girl, who starts out naive and hopeful, full of love for fireflies and wishing she, too, could glow.

STRONG MEDICINE FOR AN AILING SYSTEM

Racism in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms is a fact of life for Indigenous people living in the GTA. But this trio of women – a communications mastermind, a doctor and strategist, and an Elder in residence – have set out to change that Several years ago, Joy Henderson was at home alone, indulging in a rare nap, when a cyst in her ovary ruptured. As her symptoms intensified, her in-laws happened to drop in, and they drove her to Scarborough General Hospital.

25 Inspiring Indigenous American Activist Accounts to Follow to Learn About Indigenous People, Issues and Life

While Instagram can often show the glossy side of life—the beautiful vacations, the impeccable farm homes, and private jet life—it also offers the opportunity to gain knowledge about un-glossy, but important issues. As a Mohawk woman, I greatly respect the Indigenous women and men who put their daily lives on hold, endanger their physical and mental well-beings to protect the sacred dormant volcano of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, the water systems of Standing Rock Sioux reservation and lands surroundin

An Indigenous-led youth mural goes on permanent display at the ROM

The Royal Ontario Museum’s iconic Nisga’a and Haida Crest totem poles have a new companion: a permanent mural created by the ROM’s Youth Cabinet that represents the Indigenous knowledge they’ve learned and pays tribute to a fallen warrior. In 2016, Kiowa Wind McComb helped form the youth cabinet. Then the Indigenous Youth Intern, the George Brown College student ran the cabinet alongside coordinator Leslie McCue, who also serves as the ROM’s Indigenous Knowledge Resource Teacher Jessie Jakumeit

Talking With: Chief Lady Bird

If you follow Chief Lady Bird’s Instagram, which I highly recommend, you’ll find an amazing mix of erotic artwork and selfies of the tattooed and expertly eye-lined badass Indigenous artist. Her feed is dominated by her sexuality, which oozes into many facets of her life and her career. For example scenes from a photo shoot of Chief Lady Bird sensually eating pickerel and berries pop up later, turned into a mixed media illustration that was displayed at an art exhibition. I met up with her at

Chelsea Winstanley is taking Indigenous women directors global

FORGIVE ME as part of the program Perceptions at ImagineNative at TIFF Bell Lightbox (360 King West), Friday (October 25), 10:30 am. Free. imaginative.org. Chelsea Winstanley is “somewhere between Hamilton and Guelph” on the set of Danis Goulet’s first feature, Night Raiders. The Indigenous female-fronted sci-fi film is reminiscent of the projects the L.A.-based Maori producer/director has worked on like Merata Mita’s Saving Grace, Te Whakarauora Tangata and Waru, an anthology feature made by n

I'm Lucky To Come From A Culture That Values Elders

I often think back to what my body could do when I was 24. At that point I was co-captain of the Canadian water polo team and training six hours a day. I was about 165 pounds of muscle and could bench-press almost my body weight. I didn’t have a six-pack—I had an eight-pack. My body changed drastically when, at age 34, I had the first of my three kids. With each one I’d gain some 70 pounds, even though I exercised up until two weeks before giving birth, doing spinning classes and weight- lifti

TIFF 2019: opening night film subject Robbie Robertson opens up

ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND GALA D: Daniel Roher. Canada. 100 min. Sep 5, 6 pm, Princess of Wales, 8 pm, Roy Thomson Hall; Sep 6, 3:15 pm, Scotiabank 13; Sep 14, 9:45 pm, Scotiabank 5. Robbie Robertson may be the only Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who keeps up to date on Indigenous issues by calling his relatives and the current and former chiefs of the Six Nations Reserve. According to current elected chief Ava Hill, they often speak on the phone about the revitalization o

Violence and over-incarceration a grim reality for Indigenous women

The statistics are grim: Indigenous women make up 4 per cent of the Canadian population yet account for roughly 40 per cent of the female federal prison population – and their incarceration rates are the fastest growing among any demographic in Canada. Between March 2009 and March 2018, the number of Indigenous women sentenced to federal prisons grew by 60 per cent. And yet most crimes committed by Indigenous women are non-violent in nature. The majority are property and drug offences and theft

Indigenous Innovation

I am one of an estimated 70,000 Indigenous people living in Toronto. And while there is a variety of social services spaces like the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training, Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, and a handful of businesses sprinkled throughout the city, like restaurants Tea N Bannock in Gerrard India Bazaar, and Pow Wow Café in Kensington Market, there is no defined space for Indigenous people. While people from the Greek

7 Indigenous Designers Redefining Traditional Accessories

I was born and raised on Six Nations, Canada’s largest First Nations reserve. Yet, I don’t speak the languages of my ancestors. Unlike many of the friends I grew up with, I can’t pow wow dance, I don’t practice the Longhouse religion and I don’t have the “rez accent.” My ancestors made choices—both conscious and unconscious, willing and unwilling—not to pass down the Mohawk and Cayuga languages and traditions. So there was no one to teach me, and instead I gravitated toward what urban-centre tee

Banners in Allan Gardens honour missing and murdered Indigenous women

In Allan Gardens, 20-foot-tall charred cedar logs hold 13 large red banners aloft. Visitors can walk underneath them in this installation reminiscent of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates, in which orange fabric billowed in New York City’s Central Park in 2005. But this exhibit, called Red Embers, has a much deeper and more important message. The banners are designed by 15 Indigenous women artists and dedicated to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Launching a week aft

I Posed Naked For The Cover Of Time Magazine. 19 Years Later, I Wanted To Pose Again

It was time, Waneek Horn-Miller decided, that she take control of her image, and celebrate beauty and strength on her own terms. The highest and lowest points of her life have all been captured by photographers. When she’s defended sacred land, represented Canada at the Olympics and sued her Mohawk council for its membership law, the media has been there. This time, she wanted a different kind of photo shoot. In September 1990 at the age of 14, Horn-Miller’s image appeared in newspapers across

Stan Williams chronicles Indigenous resistance to colonialism in Canada

THIS IS INDIAN LAND by Stan Williams as part of Contact Photography Festival at Black Cat Showroom (1785 St. Clair West). To May 31. contactphoto.com. “This is Indian Land” is a sentiment found spray-painted on many Indigenous communities across Ontario, but it isn’t one you’d expect to see inside a converted auto dealership turned art space and certainly not the name of an exhibition in the annual Contact Photography Festival. Named one of NOW’s must-see shows during the month-long, city-wide

Hot Docs 2019 opens with a hard conversation on colonial violence

NÎPAWISTAMÂSOWIN: WE WILL STAND UP (Tasha Hubbard). 98 minutes. Apr 25, 9:45 pm, Hot Docs Cinema; Apr 27, 1 pm, TIFF 2; May 4, 10 am, Isabel Bader. hotdocs.ca. Having a film selected to kick off Hot Docs is usually something to celebrate. But Tasha Hubbard, director of nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, is grappling with feelings that are less than celebratory. On the phone from Calgary, the soft-spoken director says that while she’s honoured her film was chosen, she’s surprised by the decisi

Hot Docs Review: Merata: How Mum Decolonised The Screen

MERATA: HOW MUM DECOLONISED THE SCREEN (Hepi Mita, New Zealand) 88 minutes. Rating: This isn’t just a straightforward, albeit fascinating, biography of the world’s first female Maori filmmaker, Merata Mita – it’s also a quest by her youngest son, filmmaker Hepi Mita, to understand who she was before she was “mum.” Through archival footage and TV interviews, the film documents how a single mother of five in New Zealand became an outspoken political activist and hugely influential Indigenous fil

Interview: Santee Smith becomes McMaster University's chancellor

When I tell Santee Smith, the incoming McMaster University chancellor, that I don’t remember who my chancellor was during my time at university, she audibly gasps. It’s a fair reaction for the McMaster alumni, who considered the honourary and symbolic role of chancellor very carefully before accepting the role, which begins in November. The Kahnyen’kehàka (Mohawk) artist lives close to McMaster on Six Nations reserve and is one of Canada’s leading dancers, choreographers and founding artistic

Where are all the Indigenous fashion models?

After fashion editors and style influencers were seated at the Gardiner Museum on February 6, Juno-nominated singer Iskwe emerged to kick off designer Lesley Hampton’s Toronto Fashion Week debut, encouraging the crowd to sing along to the Ojibwe refrain from her track The Unforgiven. The musical performance was just one element of a show that Hampton says was “centred around the Indigenous story of identity and Indigeneity.” The collection’s name, Eighteen Seventy Six, was the year the Indian A
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