Upriise Sharing Circle – Preparations for Drums Across Canada
Sunday 12 September 3:30pm // LIVE in the Backyard at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre + Virtual Livestream
Join Celebration of Nations Artistic Director Michele Elise Burnett and her collaborators Angela DeMontigny, Audra Sewell Malone and Erin Moraghan as they talk about the vision and the mission for Drums Across Canada.
Michele-Elise Burnett, a proud Métis with Algonquin roots from Kitigan Zibi Bear Clan, is President of Kakekalanicks (family name meaning Forever Always), an Indigenous arts and consultancy company which helps promote Indigenous art and artists to a broad audience. The company was developed to embrace and honour the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples within Canada through the medium of the arts. Ms. Burnett also serves as Vice President of Ignite the Spirit of Education Foundation, Inc. This initiative helps support the awareness, appreciation, and use of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit books in public libraries, on-reserve libraries, and Friendship Centres, and, through a variety of programs, works to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners.
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.
Angela DeMontigny is an internationally renowned designer and artist of Cree/Metis heritage, who has been a pioneer of the Indigenous Luxury movement for over 2 decades. Through the creation of beautiful, authentic Indigenous fashion, lifestyle & wellness products, she has not only been a trailblazer for Aboriginal fashion but an example of reclaiming her identity as an indigenous woman by utilizing her gifts as an entrepreneur.
Angela started the first Indigenous owned apparel factory/Industrial sewing training program on Six Nations, ON in 1995. Her stunning designs have been shown on international runways and fashion weeks from the U.S. and New Zealand, to South Africa and the U.K. and she has dressed some of North America’s most noted celebrities and entertainers for nationally televised performances and red carpet events. She has been an avid advocate and supporter of Aboriginal designers, artisans, women, and youth entrepreneurs throughout her career and has worked as an industry mentor with Indigenous women in Guyana, Suriname and with Indigenous/Inuit designers through the EntrepreNorth program. She was appointed as the first Indigenous Designer-in-Residence at FCAD’S School of Fashion in 2018 and is currently the Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Ryerson’s Fashion Zone IFS program.
Angela opened her namesake boutique/gallery in the art district of Hamilton, ON in 2014 where she offered custom leather fashion, accessories, jewelry, art and lifestyle products including her LODGE Soy Candle collection. By creating natural soy candles infused with essential oils derived from Indigenous plant medicines such as sage, cedar and sweetgrass, she has been providing people with spiritually intelligent products that have helped many dealing with anxiety, fear and stress especially throughout this pandemic. Angela decided to close her brick & mortar boutique during the first lockdown in 2020 and focus her attention on expanding the LODGE Soy Candle collection online. Her most recent project to date is a large- scale, public art installation titled ‘All Our Relations’ which will be installed at the end of James St. North in Hamilton, ON in 2022.
Audra is She Who Sees Far Like the Eagle or Eagle Vision Woman and is a Traditional Healer, or Puoin (Boo In) from the Mi’kmaw First Nation. Eagle Vision Woman comes from a lineage of Puoin in her family in addition to having been trained from Master Shamans in Peru, Ecuador, Spain and Canada. She was the Indigenous Healer at the World Indigenous Forum in New Zealand in 2018 and again in 2021. Eagle Vision Woman was also the healer to facilitate healing circles at the Indigenous Health Conference held through the University of Toronto in 2020 and had the honour of bringing Indigenous Healers from across Canada and Turtle Island together on multiple occasions. She offers healing sessions, workshops and coaching through the Indigenous Diabetes Health Centre, Ancestral Voices on Six Nations Reserve and her home practice for the community. Eagle Vision Woman’s sessions include working with the client on a holistic level to address balance in our Medicine Wheels, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Audra was the recipient of the Peace Medal from the YMCA 2020 for the work that she has done in the community.
Erin Moraghan has had a dynamic career in healthcare and wellness, both as a business developer and facilitator. Best known for her holistic, mindset-first philosophies, she believes that the health and wellness systems in place are fundamentally broken, and that we must completely reinvent strategies to build a healthier nation and global community. She believes Indigenous Peoples hold many of the answers we seek, and strives to bridge conversations that can lead to collective, healing change.
After years of consulting and owning brick-and-mortar fitness locations, Erin closed up shop during COVID 19 and built a platform to help ignite mass wellness empowerment. In July 2020, Litethriive™ Wellness was launched – a virtual space for mindset, breath work, and movement coaching, as well as community-changing conversation and connection.
She believes Truth and Reconciliation plays a vital role when it comes to building a healthier nation and world. She’s linked arms with Indigenous women who’ve become friends and sisters, on a collective mission to help revolutionize health and unleash strategies for a world-changing, matriarchal future.
Audra Sewell Malone, Erin Moraghan, Angela DeMontigny, Michele-Elise Burnett