National Indigenous People’s Day: Indigenous Creative Spaces in Ontario

Today we celebrate National Indigenous People’s Day and honour the different languages, cultures and ceremonies that take place in communities across the country. 

We are reflecting on the history, resilience, diversity, and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada. 

ArtsBuild Ontario continues to work towards creating an equitable and inclusive sector in which all communities can thrive. Today is an opportunity for Canadians to come together and learn how to be an ally in the journey forward. 

Three years ago, in hopes of finding a way to serve Indigenous communities in Ontario, the vision for the Indigenous Creative Spaces Project began to take shape. The project emerged out of a need to connect an ecology of artists, spaces and knowledge for Indigenous spaces in Ontario. To celebrate National Indigenous People’s Day, here are some of the organizations and spaces participating in the project! 

Debajehmujig Theatre Group

Debajehmujig was the first – and remains the only – professional theatre company located on a Reserve in Canada. They create original work based on an Anishnaabag/Chippewa Nation worldview and builds bridges between cultures, generations, and territories. They also support the development of Aboriginal artists in remote rural areas as well as cities. Since 2009, they have operated a purpose-built multi-arts centre in downtown Manitowaning.

Learn more about Debajehmujig Theatre Group.

Nozhem: First Peoples Performance Space

Nozhem is located in Peterborough on the campus of Trent University. Nozhem is unique to other performing venues in that their theatre is intended to be used “for ceremony, as a vessel to pour forth and nurture Aboriginal oral tradition, language, and knowledge.” Through this intimate setting, audience members are invited to develop an up-close and personal relationship with the many artists, singers, dancers, and performers.

Learn more about Nozhem First Peoples Performance Space.

Woodland Cultural Centre

Woodland is a multidisciplinary space which preserves, documents, educates and promotes the values, practices, language, national treasures and articles of both the past and contemporary First Nations of the Eastern Woodland area peoples. They offer a many programs and resources related to their museum, art gallery, and and library. 

Learn more about the Woodland Cultural Centre here. 

Aanmitaagzi/ Big Medicine Studio

Aanmitaagzi began through the convergence of the personal and professional histories of its core members, with the initiating vision of its co-founders. They determined tha Nipissing could be a home for research, development and creation of new works in dance, theatre and cross-disciplinary arts with both professional and community artists. Aanmitaagzi Collective was officially formed in 2008, and in 2010 it was incorporated as a provincial, not-for-profit organization.

Learn about Anamitaagzi here

Centre for Indigenous Theatre (CIT)

CIT is an institution offering a unique Indigenous cultural, theatre and performance training program. CIT contributes to the advancement of an Indigenous cultural economy and the arts, helping to mould young talent and professionals, organizing community presentations and workshops. They also work closely with alumni to share their learnings and their craft in a culturally appropriate and inviting setting.

Learn more about CIT here

Native Earth

Founded in 1982, Native Earth is Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous theatre company. For the first time in their history Native Earth is managing and operating their own vibrant venue: Aki Studio. The 120 seat black box theatre is situated in Daniels Spectrum, the revitalized arts and cultural centre in Regent Park. 

Learn about Native Earth here.