Celebration of Nations
A partnership and gathering of Indigenous arts, culture and tradition in downtown St. Catharines.
Part of a long-term vision of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, Kakekalanicks and the City of St. Catharines to build on the Two Row Wampum ideology that promotes all Nations walking together, in parallel, with respect, compassion and understanding to cultivate an inclusive community for our shared future.
ARTISTIC LEADERS AND ADVISORY COUNCIL
Ms. Burnett recently served as Co-director of Advancement for Landscape of Nations: The Six Nations and Native Allies commemorative Memorial unveiled in Queenston Heights Park on October 2, 2016. Her efforts were instrumental in helping raise $1.4 million toward the design and construction of this living memorial dedicated to the contributions and sacrifices made by Six Nations and Native Allies during the War of 1812. As a compelling destination for visitors from Canada and around the world, the memorial inspires citizens to learn and acknowledge the crucial role Native peoples played in the defense and defining of Canada. Ms. Burnett also served on the Landscape of Nations Inaugural Committee where she provided leadership in the development of meaningful, educational, and entertaining opening ceremonies.
Michele-Elise was raised with an ambition and passion for broadcasting. After graduating from Ryerson University’s esteemed School of Radio and Television Arts, she became a third generation business owner in a Canadian industry pioneered by her father and grandfather. Later, partnering with her mother, she owned and operated the most powerful signal in the Niagara Region, Spirit 91.7 FM Radio, serving Southern Ontario and Western New York. The accomplished mother and daughter team were the first Aboriginal women to be granted a private broadcasting license in Canada.
With 25 years in civic leadership, business development and fundraising, Michele-Elise fuses her business acumen with a personal allegiance to higher education through her Aboriginal network within Canada and the U.S. At her alma mater, Ridley College, she served as a member of the Board of Governors for more than a decade, is a previous Vice President of the Ridley College Fund USA, and created the Women of Ridley Network. In the U.S., Michele-Elise is the previous Chairwoman of Kaleida Health’s Josephine Goodyear Committee, the founder of the “Kick For Life” initiative, and a past Coordinator of Kaleida Health’s “Beautiful Women” Program, all of which raised significant funds for Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. At Brock University, she currently serves on the Boards of Trustees, is the Aboriginal Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Educational Council, and is on the Board of Directors for Weengusk Film Institute. Ms. Burnett stewards the Suzanne Rochon Burnett C.M., Ont. Scholarship that gifts coveted education opportunities to Aboriginal students at Brock University.
Fiercely proud of her heritage, Ms. Burnett has shown that an individual who is inspired can wake up every day and follow and achieve their dreams. A strong proponent of Indigenous aspirations, she fosters a dream to unite, share, and respect each other’s Nations and to build a stronger Indigenous future filled with pride, dignity, and honour that will carry on for seven generations.
Among many highly successful programs, on July 7, 2007, in conjunction with Al Gore’s Live Earth global initiative, he launched the museum’s Mother Earth Festival to diffuse American Indian knowledge and scientific evidence concerning environmental sustainability to thousands in attendance and millions watching around the world. Designed to enhance public education about human-induced climate change, it stands as one of the Smithsonian Institution’s most widely viewed public programs. Now an annual event renamed the Living Earth Festival, it brings together scientists, renewable energy technologists, tribal resource managers, educators, and cultural performers and exhibitors. A leading figure who brought the reality and ramifications of climate change to the forefront in America’s capital, Mr. Johnson also served on the executive committee of the Smithsonian’s “Living in the Anthropocene Initiative” a pan-institutional committee formed to advance public education about climate change and the implications of human conduct on the planet.
Over a period of ten years, Mr. Johnson’s executive leadership at the National Museum of the American Indian produced a long list of critically acclaimed exhibits, influential programs, award-winning books and films, lectures, events, and periodicals, creating an era that significantly advanced the institution’s museology and reputation.
He is the recipient of the Dreamcatcher Foundation Award for Art and Culture for his significant contributions to Native arts, media, and heritage programs over a distinguished career.
Gary is a Faithkeeper (a title holder) in the Aboriginal community where he was raised (Tonawanda Seneca Territory). He has a strong cultural knowledge as well as the necessary requirements for working with the mainstream. This combined balance provides him with the strong cultural standing. He implements this balance with the many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities he works with.
Mr. Parker’s academic background is in Aboriginal Education as well as Business Management. He has been formally educated about the uniqueness of Aboriginal Epistemologies as well as holistic approaches to Aboriginal Education in which he incorporates into his work today. Gary carries an extensive background in management by his past experiences as a leader of a mainstream senior management team for a variety of profiled construction projects throughout the United States and Canada.
Gary has had the opportunity to work with many First Nations Communities across Turtle Island as well as he works with many Urban Aboriginal/Native communities. Gary has worked with On-Reserve communities such as: Cape Croker First Nations, Six Nations, New Credit, Big River Band of Sask., Tonawanda Seneca, Seneca Nation of Indians at Cattaraugus and Allegany, etc…. Urban Communities: Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre, Niagara Regional Native Centre, SOADI, Abbey House (Women’s Transitional Shelter), Hamilton Native Friendship Centre, Chiefs of Ontario, etc…Mainstream: City of Toronto, Niagara Region, Niagara Training and Adjustment Board, Service Canada, AFN, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, Public Health of Canada, etc…
Gary has also sat and continues to sit on many Aboriginal Boards and committees within the Province and New York State. He provides guidance and structure to boards and committees throughout Ontario and New York State. Gary brings a variety of skills and experiences which he incorporates into work so that consumers are provided with the best possible results.
LEAD SPONSOR AND COLLABORATOR
FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
250 St. Paul Street
St. Catharines, Ontario
On-site parking is not available at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre; however, there are more than 1,000 spots available in nearby parking garages, surface lots and on city streets within a five-minute walk to the PAC. Please visit St. Catharines Parking for a complete list of parking locations.