National Indigenous Peoples Day Participants
Learn more about the artists who will be leading you through workshops and performances to help celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day virtually on June 21st.
Reneltta Arluk - Director of Indigenous Arts, Banff Centre
Reneltta Arluk is Dene, Inuvialuit, and Cree from the Northwest Territories. She is a graduate of the BFA – Acting program from the University of Alberta and founder of Akpik Theatre, a professional Indigenous Theatre company in the NWT. Raised by her grandparents on the trap-line until school age, being raised in a nomadic environment gave Reneltta the skills to become the artist she is now. For over ten years Reneltta has been a part of or initiated the creation of Indigenous Theatre across various parts of Canada and overseas as an actor, storyteller, writer and producer. “Keeping Culture Alive,” as her mom would say.
Tom Jackson - Actor, Musician, and Activist
There are entertainment legends, and then there is Tom Jackson, a triple-threat actor, musician, and activist whose achievements in each discipline are downright head-spinning. Tom’s career is unparalleled, not to mention wildly acclaimed, abundantly decorated, and almost ridiculously interesting. Heck, he could be a pub night trivia category all by himself.
Now, at an age when most are pulling back, the 71-year-old Calgary-based star is barreling towards the busiest and most glittering chapter in his towering 40-odd-year run at the forefront of contemporary film, TV, and music.
It’s impossible to regard Tom’s music separately from the other aspects of his remarkable career which include (but are not limited to) countless marquee TV roles on hit shows like North of 60, Shining Time Station, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Law & Order. Guest roles in Season 4 of Outlander and Season 3 of Cardinal aired in early 2019 and Season 2 of Red Earth Uncovered follows. 2018 marked the release of The Essential Tom Jackson, a dazzling two-disc, 21-track retrospective spotlighting his inimitable talent as a folk-pop singer/songwriter of the highest order and an artist intrinsically linked to the world around him, both the real and the ethereal.
There’s also movies, lots of movies, including the dark comedy thriller Cold Pursuit opposite Liam Neeson. The Irish actor joins a long and very boldface list of onetime Tom Jackson colleagues — also including but not limited to — Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Kris Kristofferson, and Sissy Spacek (in 2012’s Deadfall), Bruce Greenwood (2005’s Mee-Shee: The Water Giant), and Bryan Brown (1999’s Grizzly Falls). Notably, many small- and big-screen parts have leveraged Tom’s Indigenous heritage for their dynamic characters; still others have employed his mellifluous tones for voiceovers.
Tom is understandably proud of all that. Yet it is his extensive charitable work — in particular, helming the long-running Huron Carole Christmas concert tours for Canadian food banks plus multiple other initiatives benefiting disaster relief — that is arguably his crowning achievement. With over $200 million in combined cash/in-kind value for food banks and disaster relief raised to date, it’s no wonder Tom, currently an Ambassador for the Red Cross, has been inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, and received the 2007 Juno Humanitarian Award, and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2014.
Multiple additional honours, including the 2007 Gemini Humanitarian Award, have been bestowed on him over the years. But those above-mentioned three, perhaps more than any others, have cemented his status as one of Canada’s most influential, distinguished, and revered sons.
Laura Grier – Artist and Printmaker
Laura Grier is a Délı̨nę First Nations artist and printmaker, born in Somba ké (Yellowknife), and based out of Alberta. Through the use of traditional print mediums, they instrumentalize the power of the handmade to reflect political sociology, Land, and Indigeneity. Responding to lived experiences of being an urban displaced Dene woman through Print, Laura’s work is inspired by the dynamism of Indigenous art practices and uses printmaking as a tool for resistance, refusal, and inherent Bets’ı̨nę́ (spirit). They hold a BFA from NSCADU (K'jipuktuk) and most recently exhibited at Harcourt House, DC3 Art Projects, SNAP Gallery, and ArtsPlace in Alberta. Laura received grants and awards for their work, including an Indigenous project grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and was the 2018 RISE Emerging Artist recipient. They are currently finishing their MFA at OCADU (Tkaronto).
Jules Koostachin - Filmmaker
Born in Moose Factory Ontario, Jules was raised by her Cree speaking grandparents in Moosonee, and also with her mother in Ottawa, a warrior of the Canadian Residential school system. Jules is a band member of Attawapiskat First Nation, the Ancestral lands of the MoshKeKo InNiNeWak. She currently resides in Vancouver where she is a PhD candidate with the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia, her research focus is Indigenous documentary. She is defending her thesis/dissertation in the summer of 2020.
In 2010, she completed her masters at Ryerson University in Documentary Media where she was awarded the Award of Distinction for her thesis work, as well as the Graduate Ryerson Gold Medal for highest academic achievement. While in graduate school, she produced her first feature documentary film Remembering Inninimowin regarding her journey of remembering Cree. After graduation, Jules was one of six women selected for the Women in the Directors Chair program at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, where she directed a scene from her feature script Broken Angel. Her script recently went was selected for the TIFF's filmmaker lab, as well as the Whistler's Screenwriting lab.
Jules’ company VisJuelles Productions Inc. has a number of films and other media works in development. Her television series AskiBOYZ (2016) co-produced with Big Soul Production is now being aired on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in both Cree and English. In 2017, she released her short documentary NiiSoTeWak: Two Bodies, One Heart and her second CBC short OshKiKiShiKaw: A New Day was released in the spring of 2019. She is in post-production with her third documentary KaYaMenTa: Sharing Truths about Menopause, which will be released in the summer of 2020. Over the years, she has released a number of other films/projects: Butterfly Monument (2017) about her relation, the late Shannen Koostachin with co-director/producer Rick Miller. In the fall of 2018, Jules latest narrative film OChiSkwaCho (MATRIX Award) premiered at ImagineNative Film Festival, and she is also in development with two (2) APTN television series Threshold with Jules Koostachin and SacRED.
Jules was the Aboriginal Storyteller in Residence with the Vancouver Public Library where she further developed her poetry. Her first book of poetry Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths (2018) was published with Kegedonce Press, and Jules is currently writing her first novel Moccasin Souls to be launched in the fall of 2020. Jules is currently represented by The Characters in Vancouver, and she commonly known as the voice of Layla (Mom) on the new PBS Kids/CBC Kids (2020) animated series Molly of Denali. She carries extensive knowledge working in Indigenous community in several different capacities and these community experiences continue to feed her advocacy and her arts practice.
Alberta Rose W/Ingnuk - Artist
Alberta Rose W. worked her way through college as a cook, then in politics before she obtained her BFA with distinction from the Alberta University of the Arts (formerly ACAD). Of mixed settler/Inuvialuit heritage, Alberta often creates work that reflects, in some way, both aspects of her cultural identity as well as broader social issues related to Indigenous people today.
While in College, Alberta also acted as the president of the Indigenous Student’s club during fourth year as a way to create a supportive, inclusive environment within the Institution. During that time, she was also a member of Next Up, a Canada-wide leadership group for progressive young people.
Alberta’s field of practice is interdisciplinary, and she often bounces between mediums as a way of working through different concepts and ideas as a way of subverting the idea of what Inuit Art can be or is. Part of this reclamation of identity is reflected through use of material, as she often utilizes things that would become waste. This includes canvas, wood, vinyl letters, paint, and anything else she can get her hands on.
The Stoney Nakoda AV Club
The Stoney Nakoda AV Club believes in the power of story and the potential of youth. We started with a zombie movie, made in an afterschool program at Morley Community School. Before long, we knew that telling stories really mattered to us.
Our Club has around 100 youth members from Morley. When we make a film, or do an activity together, we call out to everyone on our Facebook page and through our families. There are about 15 members of our Club who usually organize the events, and who we think of as the “storyteller society.” For Nakoda people, a society is a small group that has a particular responsibility to the community at large. We have been on a journey to learn what this means, and each of us have made a commitment to fulfilling this role for life.
Daryl Kootenay is a Traditional singer, dancer, artist, speaker, youth leader.
After graduating high school Daryl travelled globally to volunteer his time in countries such as Peru, Nicaragua and Africa working with Canada World Youth first as a participant, then an intern and then employee. He has been a part of CWYs Provisional Aboriginal Youth Committee where he participated in the “Aboriginal Youth and Confederation: Learning from the past, building for the future conference” in 2014, an event cohosted by CWY and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, as part of the PEI 2014 Charlottetown Conference sesquicentennial celebration. He was also a delegate for his nation and CWY at the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples, The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Rights, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City (Sept 2014).
Daryl has actively volunteered in his community of Morley, Alberta in a variety of roles. This includes being a group leader for the Project Nakoda Outdoor Wilderness Experience (NOWE), in developing “youth hang-outs” for a week through the Canada Bridges organization and in co-founding the Stoney Nakoda Youth Council in 2014 which has travelled to a number of significant United Nations and North American Indian Youth Caucus events. He has the tremendous honour of being awarded the Governor General’s “Sovereignty’s Medal for Volunteers” in June 2017 for his work.
Daryl is a father to his 2-year old daughter from the Stoney Nakoda Nation of Treaty 7 in southern Alberta and a member of the Dine (Navajo) Nation in New Mexico from his father’s heritage.