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.

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

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

Talking With...Designer Hayley Elsaesser

Is there anything more bright and fun than Barbie? The capsule collection of Canadian designer Hayley Elsaesser x Barbie, released by Hudson’s Bay Company, sums up the sense of playfulness that radiates from Elsaesser. That collaboration (particularly a mod-looking shift dress with an allover Barbie print) is the first time I spotted her creations out in the wild, and I became a fan. Eslaesser’s fun creations have been worn on by celebrities including Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, on all sizes of

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

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

Indigenous designer Angela DeMontigny is ‘centring Canada’s original fashion voice’ | The Star

Angela DeMontigny has been dispelling stereotypes about Indigenous fashion for over 20 years. “I’m creating fashion that tells a story and has cultural meaning,” explains the Vancouver-born Cree-Métis designer from the downtown Hamilton boutique she opened four years ago. After her recent appointment as designer-in-residence at Ryerson School of Fashion, she is now getting a substantial platform for her work. DeMontigny creates contemporary, luxe designs in leathers, suedes and fur; modern silho

How Indigenous languages helped transmit secrets during WWII

In his 90s, and sitting in a wheelchair with a white sweatshirt and wispy white hair, he asks my dad and I a question in Mohawk that we don’t understand — my dad explains that he can only speak English because his grandmother had told him that it wasn’t good to speak your language. My dad and I walk across the road to where Oakes, a recipient of the Congressional Silver Medal, is sitting on a sunny wooden porch with his friend Dennis Lazore. They spend a lot of time together because they are, a

Indigenous languages are coming back from the brink

“We don’t have a word for empty,” she goes on. “You have to say it’s 'not full.' When we think about the English dichotomy, where the glass is half-full, or its half-empty, in Kanyen’keha, we’re only half-full people. If you think of the entire planet had only half-full people, could you imagine how the world would be?” Kanyen’keha “sounds like a river,” and it has quite literally changed the way she sees the world. “It has changed my life,” says Hopkins, a filmmaker. Now, she has 36 personal

Eva Aariak on What It's Like Being a Woman in Politics in Nunavut

In 2008, independent candidate Eva Aariak became the second premier of Nunavut. Here, she talks about the hurdles women face in Canada’s newest territory In Nunavut, women are very involved at the community level in small political arenas, such as committees, health and education councils, and at the same time they’re looking after their families. Women are also higher in numbers in the workforce and are often the sole breadwinners in the family. Several years ago, at a forum, one thing that ke

TIFF ’13: Obomsawin on “Hi-Ho Mistahey!”

First Nations director Alanis Obomsawin (pictured) is expanding her canon of documentaries on injustice and resistance with Hi-Ho Mistahey!, a film about the lack of educational resources available on Canadian reserves. Alanis Obomsawin, whose main interests are in education and children, came across the story of Shannen Koostachin, a youth activist from Attawapiskat First Nation, a reserve in Canada’s Northern Ontario. The late Koostachin had started the ‘Education is a Human Right’ campaign

Sundance ’13: Neville on his moment of “Stardom”

Ahead today’s world premiere of Sundance’s opening night doc Twenty Feet From Stardom, director Morgan Neville tells realscreen how he came to shine a spotlight on African-American back-up singers, and pays tribute to his producer Gil Friesen, who passed away last month. Morgan Neville says the idea for Twenty Feet From Stardom originated from producer Gil Friesen, a “legendary old-school record man,” who was the president of A&M Records and, in his retirement, became fascinated by back-up sing

The long search for “Sugar”

Ahead of the transatlantic theatrical release of Searching for Sugar Man this Friday (July 27), realscreen chats to director Malik Bendjelloul (pictured) about the challenges he faced in making his Sundance-winning doc. Stockholm-based director Malik Bendjelloul searched South Africa and South America for the right story to center his first full-length feature documentary on, before stumbling onto the decades-long, continent-spanning story of Rodriguez.
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