The art of fire: reviving the Indigenous craft of cultural burning

Indigenous Peoples have managed their lands with fire since time immemorial. But colonizers criminalized the practice, leading to a loss of culture and an increase in the risk of wildfires. Now, a small but mighty group of people is revitalizing the craft Yunesit’in Chief Russell Myers Ross stands in a clearing surrounded by seared pine trees in Tsilhqot’in territory in central B.C. on a crisp, sunny spring day.

Michelle Latimer Puts Indigenous Stories Front and Centre at TIFF 2020

Métis-Algonquin director Michelle Latimer has two projects premiering at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival: the CBC television series Trickster and documentary Inconvenient Indian. While the series and film are each based on books – Trickster is a riff on the gripping Eden Robinson book Son of a Trickster and the doc is born from Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian – the two separate projects evolved into a kind of a call and a response of each other.

Christian Allaire Is a New Kind of Vogue Editor

Christian Allaire is rewriting the rules of fashion journalism. Allaire, who is Ojibway, is the fashion and style writer at Vogue. When his first Indigenous-focused fashion article for the venerable fashion title, “How 6 Indigenous Designers Are Using Fashion to Reclaim Their Future” went live, Indigenous people sent him a over a hundred tweets, DMs and comments. “It opened the floodgates. I started receiving a ton of pitches and started being introduced to so many great new artists and designe

Indigenous Artists Are Creating Boundary-Pushing Pieces That Inspire Strength and Healing

While Mainstream media has been slow to hear this appeal, a tide of Indigenous female artists are responding by smashing stereotypes and taking ownership of their own sexuality in their work. Crafting provocative pieces – from beaded BDSM masks to burlesque performances centred around residential schools – these creatives are striving to make space for positive representations of our bodies and sensuality by producing art that can help heal both the viewer and the maker.

Water Is Life: Indigenous Women Are Fighting For Rivers, Lakes and Oceans

Our most precious resource faces endless threats, including pollution, resource extraction and for-profit bottling. Across Canada, these women are trying to protect it. Makaśa Looking Horse, Six Nations of the Grand River (near Brantford, Ont.) “Knowing that my community doesn’t have clean drinking water, and then a large corporation like Nestlé is making billions off of our water is maddening,” says Makaśa Looking Horse.


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. 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. “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. 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
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