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Canku Ota

Canku Ota logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


August 23, 2003 - Issue 94


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Opportunities - Page Two


Here you will find listings of:


  • Positions Available - including Fellowships and Internships;
  • Scholarship, Award and Grant Information; and
  • Event Announcements.

We receive these announcements from various sources including Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP) and NativeShare


To view additional listing from previous issues, click here Opportunities Button



September 26 -28, 2003

The Gathering of the Good Minds Committee including: Wiiche Ke Yig, Museum London, Museum of Archeology, Nokee Kwe, N'Amerind Friendship Centre, Children's Museum and numerous community volunteers present...

The Gathering of the Good Minds: A Celebration of Native Arts, Wisdom and Culture

This three-day festival will feature First Nations Elders, traditional teachers, artists, dancers, singers, storytellers, filmmakers, writers and comedians to entertain and inform Native and non-Native audiences alike. The celebration begins the evening of Friday September 26th with opening ceremonies at Museum London and will continue through to Sunday September 28th with events at Museum London, Museum of Archeology (Sunday) and the Covent Garden Market.

In traditional Native culture the ‘Good Mind' describes the mind that is endowed with the intellect and intuition to survive in today's world along with the creativity to express its worldview through song, dance and the visual arts. The Gathering of the Good Minds will acknowledge this theme by assembling a circle of established First Nation artists, teachers, and Elders who represent both contemporary and traditional Aboriginal arts and wisdom. This is a rare opportunity for the entire family to experience Aboriginal Canadian film, visual arts and performance, and participate in workshops and teaching circles with Elders, as well as children's workshops and activities.

On Friday evening at 7:00pm opening ceremonies at Museum London will be hosted by Dan Smoke-Asayenes.. The festival will continue on Saturday and Sunday with the primary art exhibition, performances, and workshops in progress at Museum London, on Sunday there will be a series of events scheduled at the Museum of Archeology. A direct route bus will be made available for partons to attend at both locations. Vendors featuring Aboriginal crafts will be present in the Market for the duration of the festival.

The public is invited to Sunrise Ceremonies each morning on the Museum lawn Friday through Sunday at 6:00 AM, followed by breakfast and refreshments at approximately 8:00 AM. A Sacred Fire which celebrates Spirit and life will be kept burning throughout the weekend on the front lawn of the museum, next to the teepee. Everyone is Welcome and Admission to all events is free.

For more information on the festival, artists, elders, and performers visit our website at:

Media Contact people:

Dan Smoke - Asayenes
#61-1290 Sandford St.
LONDON, Ontario N5V 3Y2
5l9 659-4682
Amanda Eisen
137 Dundas St.
London, Ontario N5Y 3W5
Tel: (519) 667-7088
Fax: (519) 667-4872


Alanis Obomsawin
Distinguished filmmaker, singer, storyteller and author, Alanis Obomsawin is a member of the Abenaki Nation. In 1967 she directed her first film, Christmas at Moose Factory, for the Canadian National Film Board. Her latest film Rocks at Whiskey Trench is her fourth powerful documentary feature describing her impressions of the Oka crisis. Obomsawin has earned more than 30 awards for her films internationally, as well as being honored with the Order of Canada (1983), the federal government's highest honour, and a Governor General Award (2001) for her long-standing contribution and commitment to Aboriginal Canadian cultural heritage.

Robbie Antone
A local performer, originally from the Oneida Settlement by Lambeth, Ontario. Robbie has been singing the blues for several years. He has been a guest on the hit TV show Buffalo Tracks (APTN)

Ida Baptiste
Ojibway woman originally from the Berens River in Manitoba. She has lived in London, Ontario for several years, creating many fine oil paintings. Ida graduated with a Honours B.A. from Trent University and has received her Ontario Teacher Certificate. Ida also has some beautiful beadwork to share. She has learned the fine art of Petote stitching from Mary Lou Smoke and has gone on to create some beautiful patterns while applying beadwork to some Sacred items.

Danny Beaton
A Mohawk with roots in the Six Nations, now lives in Toronto. Danny has been active in the Native cultural and arts' scene for many years. He was the a principal organizer of "Project Indigenous Restoration" in 1992, which featured elders, artists and healers from across Canada, the USA and South America. Danny is also a portrait
photographer and now a documentary film-maker. His many movies have been shown on various T.V. programs for the past decade.

Dylan Campbell
An invited artist - was born Native but raised in a Scottish family in Southwestern Ontario. A self taught artist and sculptor, his first print "Spiritual Awakening" is worth five times its original price. His early work was in black and white but in more recent productions he uses shading and colour to achieve greater dimension. His sculptures use bone and copper, and won a juried exhibition for "Predominate Accession." He has won an Ontario Arts Council grant.

Philip Cote
An invited artist - is an Ojibway man who resides in Toronto. Phillip works with oils to create outstanding, legendary creations on canvas. He also works with soapstone and at present is traveling to reserves in Ontario demonstrating the fine art of Soap-stoning.

Sean Couchie
An invited artist - is Ojibway of the Nipissing First Nation and has been living in London for 26 years. He studied art and architecture in high school and advertising art at Fanshawe College. He won two prizes from the Peace Hills Trust Native Art Contest for "If I Had Wings" and "Vision Seeker". Oils, airbrush, pen and ink, scratch-board and wood-burning are used for creations for Ontario Native organizations, calendars, posters, books and magazines, always showing Natives in a positive perspective.

Tim Dillon
A Metis/Anishinabek from the Bruce Peninsula now living in London. He is a local entertainer writing and singing Rock and Country music with his guitar. He has performed with Jade Idols and other groups at various clubs. A graduate in computer programming at Fanshaawe College he founded London Cyber Studio providing recording and engineering services for London Musicians. He is currently producing his own solo CD.

Terry Dokis
An Ojibway originally from the Dokis First Nation. Terry resides in North Bay and teaches in the social work field at Canadore College. Terry is a Medicine Wheel facilitator and explains the application of the Medicine Wheel to health and intervention. Terry has offered to fly in from North Bay and teach a drumming and sonics workshop, traditional meditation workshop or something more closely related to social work.

Bruce Elijah
An Oneida Faith keeper of the Wolf Clan. He is a very respected Elder. He sits with the Elders Council of the Chiefs of Ontario organization and the Assembly of First Nations. He is widely sought for his traditional wisdom
workshops and teaches the Old Ways. He is very knowledgeable about the Great Law of Peace, the constitution of the Haudenosaunee People. He conducts sunrise ceremonies as well as Sweat Lodge Ceremonies in treatment centres and other residential care facilities for Native people.

Norma General
A clan mother from the Mohawk Nation who resides on the Grand River territory of the Six Nations Reserve. She has been raised in the Traditional manner of her ancestors, being the daughter of Onondaga Chief Oliver Jacobs, in the Onondaga Long house. She has worked extensively as a healing and wellness co-ordinator for Friendship Centres. She conducts workshops for all ages on Tradition l teachings. She also employs play therapy in her workshops.

Vern Harper
Resident Elder of the Toronto Community. Having walked the talk for the last three decades, Vern has helped many Native People find their way back onto the Red Road. Vern has a Sweat Lodge outside the city of Guelph where he holds Sweat Lodge Ceremonies on a weekly and as need basis. Vern is Cree, originally from Saskatchewan.

Dr. Dawn M. Hill
Mohawk, Wolf Clan living at Six Nations of the Grand River. Her doctoral thesis Spirit of Resistance: The Lubicon Lake Nation, is being published by the U of T press. She is the Academic Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster University. Her research has been supported by SSHRC, Canada Council, Fullbright and E.A.G.L.E... She has organized many conferences always focusing on Native Elders guiding scholars in indigenous knowledge.

Kanata Native Dance Theater
A group of professional artists from the Six Nations of the Grand. The Mohawk word means "community" and its acronym stands for Keeping American Native Arts and Traditions Alive. The dancers have performed at national and international festivals including Harbourfront, the Unity Ride Concert and the McMichael Canadian Gallery.

Janice Longboat
Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan now living at Six Nations. She is a Traditional Teacher, counselor and herbalist. Her vision is to support healthy Aboriginal families and communities by Traditional Aboriginal healing ways. She has taught at universities and colleges at Hamilton, Toronto and Brantford and grows and prepares traditional plant medicines

Larry McCleod-Shabogesic
An Elder and educator who resides in Nipissing with his wife Darlene and family. Larry constructs Traditional Birch Bark Canoes and is a keeper of the Medicines.

Nikki Manitowabi
A member of the Wikwemikong Unceded Nation on Manitoulin Island. She is of Pottawatomi/Odawa descent. Nikki derives many of the ideas in her paintings from observations and experiences with her children.

Shelley Niro
A Mohawk woman originally from Six Nations. She has been involved in the arts for a number of years and has earned a Masters Degree at the University of Western Ontario. Shelley works with oils. She is a film maker who has received accolades for her award winning film "Honey Moccasin"

Ogitchitaw Kwe Og (which means Warrior Women)
A group of mostly Anishinawbe singing women. They are quite a peace loving group and are here to share their strength and wisdom The creator has gifted each of the women in the singing group with a voice to share and sing with. Their songs have been passed on from generation to generation in the oral tradition. They hope that the songs they sing will help others who are on their own healing journeys. Mary Lou Smoke From Batchawana Bay, Ontario. Born to Ojibway parents, she is a writer, singer, guitarist, traditional drummer and shaker player as well as an actress having been featured in the Vagina Monologues as performed as a fund raiser for the Sexual Assault Center on March 8th, 2003. Mary Lou and her husband Dan often work together conducting opening and closing ceremonies as well as Sacred Sweat Lodge Ceremonies. They co-host a radio news magazine called Smoke Signals First Nations Radio and have been community commentators on the news for the "New PL" for the past three and a half years commentating on Native issues for CFPL television of London, owned by CITY TV.

Dan Smoke - Asayenes
From the Seneca Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy, Kildeer Clan. He grew up on the Grand River territory and now lives in London. He is a lifetime member of the Onondaga Long house traditional way of life and part of the Native Circle at the Museum London. Dan is a conductor and spiritual teacher at Sunrise Ceremonies marking special occasions. Dan and his wife, Mary Lou were honoured by London's Mayor for their work in Humanitarianism in the year 2000.

Drew Hayden Taylor
An award winning playwright, journalist and screenwriter from the Curve Lake First Nations (Ojibway). In his vast career, he has written eleven books, had over fifty productions of his plays seen around the world, directed,
written or worked on at least eighteen documentaries about Native culture, written for five television series, and is the author of a humourous column appearing in several Native News publications.

The Gathering of the Good Minds Committee was formed in the year 2000, initially motivated by a local Native Rights support group called Wiich Ke Yig. Wiich Ke Yig is an Ojibway word which translates into "Friends Who
Walk With Us". Wiich Ke Yig is a group of Native and non-Native volunteers working together for increased understanding and justice. Encouraging others to join in the work of healing our people, our spirit, and our Earth,
until peace, justice and respect are extended to all First Nations. With the desire to continue to organize a major cultural event in London Wiich Ke Yig formed the planning committee involving more Native and non-Native members. Individuals from many sectors of the community have come together to plan, organize and participate in a Festival to educate the Native and non-Native public about traditional arts, culture and wisdom of the Aboriginal peoples. In 2001, the committee was successful in the implementation of the first Festival. The Gathering of the Good Minds Festival is made possible as the result of many dedicated volunteers and several organizations providing support services and resources including Wiich Ke Yig, Museum London, Museum of Archeology, Nokee Kwe, N'Amerind Friendship Centre, At^loshsa Family Healing Centre and the Children's Museum

This event and the many groups and people involved in the non-Native community, want to promote a better understanding and co-operation with Native people. We believe that increased knowledge will bring peace and
just relationships between Native and non-Natives.

Through the activities of Wiich Ke Yig, small steps to education non-Native Canadians about traditional Native spirituality and culture, that is, the values and teachings that nurtured a healthy Earth and mankind's proper place with the Circle of Life. An important way to attain this goal is through the celebration of the arts and by demonstrating the vital role art has always played in all facets of Native life.

Beginning in 1990 - monthly meetings has been held to consider organization policy, plan special events, and to provide program activities and to promote our goals. Since 1991, approximately four events per year have been
organized by members to Wiich Ke Yig for the London area. A sample of these include:

  • a conversation on healing with Elder Art Solomon
  • participation in the Camp Ipperwash demonstration to serve the military with an eviction notice, followed by ongoing lobbying on behalf of the Stony Point people.
  • support of David Suzuki's book launch at the University of Western Ontario - the Wisdom of the Elders.
  • a protest at the London International Air Show in support of the Innu's problems with low flying planes.
  • the successful appeal to Correction Services Canada regarding inmate Randy Charboneau.
  • the organization of a Film Festival on four Saturdays culminating in a panel discussion on the "Gene Hunters".
  • A dinner/dance and fund raising benefit concert with Murray Porter
  • Native Prisoner's Justice Day: organized a seminar for prisoners, their relatives and other volunteers. As a result a committee has been formed to offer continuing assistance and visitations to prisoners.
  • Prayer circles for Dudley George on March 17th (1996-2002)
  • Hosting of the premiere of the movie "Smoke Signals"
  • A week-end workshop on "Aboriginal Awareness" facilitated by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition but organized by Wiich Ke Yig
  • Joint venture with London's N'Amerind Friendship Centre in organizing a large Native Art Show entitled "Listen to the Drums".

Since 1992 Wiich Ke Yig has supported and participated in National Aboriginal Solidarity Day, including a Sunrise Ceremony every June 21st, which is now attended by an almost equal number of Native and non- Native

Two special commemorative trees have been planted:

• In 1991, a White Pine Tree Planting Ceremony was held in the London Peace Garden in remembrance of those involved in Oka. Each year on July 11th, people gather at the Tree of Peace to lay down tobacco, pray, sing and awe at the size of the tree.

On September 6, 1996 a Tree of Peace was planted in the federal building courtyard, and included a permanent plaque in memory of Dudley George, followed by the bi-annual remembrance ceremonies from 1996 to present.

• Beginning in 1996, a sub-committee of Wiich Ke Yig has supported Native Justice and Spirituality with a monthly ceremony and information meetings at the Unitarian Fellowship.

Over the past few years members of Wiich Ke Yig have placed a heavy emphasis on justice issues and were very successful in the first presentation of The Gathering of the Good Minds - so now, we want to continue working together to do it again.

All My Relations

Dan Smoke-Asayenes & Mary Lou Smoke-Asayenes Kwe
Smoke Signals First Nations Radio, CHRW, 94.7 FM
Outstanding Multicultural Program for 2003
#1 Campus & Community Radio Station in Canada
Sundays 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.,
519 659-4682 fax: 5l9 453-3676

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