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
Gathering of the Good Minds: A Celebration of Native Arts,
Wisdom and Culture
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
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
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.
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
more information on the festival, artists, elders, and performers
visit our website at: www.thegatheringofgoodminds.netfirms.com
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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"
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
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.
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
OF THE ORGANIZATION
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
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.
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.
SOME PAST ACTIVITIES INITIATED AND ORGANIZED BY WIICH KE YIG:
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:
conversation on healing with Elder Art Solomon
in the Camp Ipperwash demonstration to serve the military
with an eviction notice, followed by ongoing lobbying
on behalf of the Stony Point people.
of David Suzuki's book launch at the University of Western
Ontario - the Wisdom of the Elders.
protest at the London International Air Show in support
of the Innu's problems with low flying planes.
successful appeal to Correction Services Canada regarding
inmate Randy Charboneau.
organization of a Film Festival on four Saturdays culminating
in a panel discussion on the "Gene Hunters".
dinner/dance and fund raising benefit concert with Murray
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
circles for Dudley George on March 17th (1996-2002)
of the premiere of the movie "Smoke Signals"
week-end workshop on "Aboriginal Awareness"
facilitated by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition but organized
by Wiich Ke Yig
venture with London's N'Amerind Friendship Centre in organizing
a large Native Art Show entitled "Listen to the Drums".
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
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
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.
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.
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., www.chrwradio.com
519 659-4682 fax: 5l9 453-3676