Michelle Thrush has worked professionally in film, television and theatre for more than 35 years. Best known for her leading role as Gail Stoney in the television series Blackstone, for which she won a Gemini Award, she has also starred in series such as Moccasin Flats, Mixed Blessings, and North of 60. Her feature film credits include AKA:Jimmy P, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and Deadman, opposite Johnny Depp. Michelle continues to write, direct and produce theatre and is a founding member of Making Treaty 7.
Since graduating from Dawson College’s Professional Theatre Program in 2005, Kaniehtiio ‘Tiio’ Horn has established herself as a versatile actress on shows like the award-winning comedy Letterkenny, Man in the High Castle, Hemlock Grove, Defiance and the upcoming CBC legal drama, Diggstown. Tiio recently received critical acclaim in the action/thriller feature film Mohawk, directed by Ted Geoghegan. In 2018, she launched the podcast Coffee With My Ma, sharing the adventures and experiences of her activist mother, Kahentinetha.
Redbone is a Native American rock group originating in the 1970’s with brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas. They reached the Top 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974 with their No. 5 hit single, Come and Get Your Love. The single went certified Gold selling over a million copies. Redbone achieved hits with their singles We Were All Wounded At Wounded Knee, The Witch Queen of New Orleans, Wovoka, and Maggie in the United States, although these singles were more successful overseas. Redbone is known as the first Native American rock/Cajun group to have a No. 1 single in the United States and internationally.
PJ Vegas is an Indigenous R&B/hip hop artist and activist from Los Angeles, California. He’s a Native American Music Award and MTV VMA winner. He’s also the son of Pat Vegas, member of the legendary Native American rock band, Redbone. PJ’s latest release, TEARS, is an offering of awareness through music in PJ’s unique genre-bending style and is now available on iTunes, Spotify, and Apple Music.
In 1982, the Wood brothers of Saddle Lake, Alberta travelled to Idaho, to compete in a stick game tournament. They lost on the first night and found themselves unable to get home. To earn some money, they decided to sing at a Pow-Wow. When asked the name of their group, they looked down at the faded words “Northern Cree” written on a drum and gave that as their group name. Since then, they have become one of the most respected and influential groups on the Pow-Wow trail, with eight Grammy nominations.
Christine is a proficient resilient Indigenous storyteller. She began her career with In the Land of Spirits in 1992 and has maintained a professional dance career for over 25 years. She is deeply connected to the cultural wellness of her people and works hard to maintain cultural traditions and gifts of her Anishnaabe people. She recently launched her company: Friday Creeations, a film and stage production company. She also won the 2018 KM Hunter Award for dance through the Ontario Arts Council.
Classically trained operatic tenor and composer Jeremy Dutcher blends his Wolastoq First Nation roots into the music he creates, blending distinct aesthetics that shape-shift between classical, traditional and pop to form something entirely new. His debut LP, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, involves the rearrangement of early 1900’s wax cylinder field recordings from his community. “Many of the songs were lost because our musical tradition was suppressed by the Canadian government. I’m doing this work as there’s only about a hundred Wolastoqey speakers left. It’s crucial that we’re using our language because, if you lose the language, you’re losing an entire distinct way of experiencing the world.”
Métis multidisciplinary artist Moe Clark fuses vocal improvisation with multilingual lyricism to create meaning rooted in personal legacy and ancestral memory. In 2013, she directed the 10th annual Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Montreal, highlighting Indigenous languages. The following year, she was nominated Poet of Honour at the same festival in Victoria, British Columbia. To date, Moe has made two music albums, a bilingual book of poetry and multiple performance videos. Together with Cheryl L’Hirondelle and Joseph Naytowhow, her nêhiyawêwin lullaby, nitahkôtân, won best music video at ImagiNative Film Festival in 2015. Recently, Moe launched nistamîkwan, a transformational arts organization with an emphasis on intercultural collaboration.
Joey Stylez is a JUNO nominee and multi award-winning singer-songwriter, rapper, activist, visual artist and fashion designer from Moosomin First Nation. With four albums completed to date, he has collaborated with the likes of Ty Dolla $ign, Dragonette and Grammy award-winning producer Malay, and was described by The Weeknd as “a big inspiration.” Joey was featured in No Gimmicks, a documentary about his life and career. He brings themes of justice, environmental responsibility and reconciliation into his music.
Two-time JUNO winning singer, songwriter and guitarist Derek Miller has seventeen albums to his credit. Having recorded with the likes of Willie Nelson, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Daniel Lanois, he has also recorded for the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum and played the 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremonies in Vancouver. In 2015, he compiled an album titled Rumble: A Tribute to Native Music Icons. With his unique take on roots rock, and soul-stirring blues, Derek Miller is a force of musical nature. Derek continues to work as a touring performer/artist, producing music, making television, writing, making movies and racing cars.
Michel Bruyere has been involved in the mainstream Canadian music industry for over 30 years. He is a traditional Grass Dancer and a drummer who has played with Buffy Sainte- Marie for the past decade. He has received multiple Indigenous Music Awards, two JUNO nominations, and has collaborated with Red Sky Performance and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Since 2014, Michel has been teaching music and sharing his Anishnaabeg culture and knowledge through youth camps, Indigenous music retreats, and with schools across Canada.
Carsen Gray is a fresh artist that is stunning Canadians across the nation with her soulful lyrics, captivating voice and energetic sound. In 2017, Carsen released her debut self-titled album, which garnished her the Best New Artist Award at the Indigenous Music Awards. She also received 2 nominations for Best Pop Album and Best Radio Single for Supernatural at the 2017 IMAs. In 2018, Carsen Gray returned to the Indigenous Music Awards, winning the coveted “Best Radio Single” Award for Wanna See You featuring JUNO-nominated, DJ Shub.
Shakti Hayes is a bass player, singer, songwriter and performer from Regina, Saskatchewan. In 2006, Shakti released her debut album, Touchwood Hills, a blend of soulful blues, funky rhythms and traditional storytelling. She is both a solo artist and supporting musician with notable performances at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage as well as numerous television appearances. When Shakti plays, she bears her soul and people listen.
Beatrice is Cree from Treaty 8 and grew up in Valleyview Alberta. It was here where she honed her skills as a powerful singer-songwriter. Her exposure to music at a young age and the turbulence she faced as an adolescent and young adult were all contributing factors in creating Beatrice’s sound. As of late she has been working on her debut album with multi-platinum singer-songwriter producers, 80 Empire. Her story is like a Netflix series narrated in the form of song and like Netflix you’ll be sure to binge listen and won’t get enough of her powerful story tapestried with colorful melodies and infectious anthems.
Wolf Saga has been creating electro-pop music for years and performing synth driven melodies live is his favourite part. Charting many times on Indigenous Music Countdown, steady radio play across North America, and constant bookings to play keep this young artist hungry for the next opportunity.
Born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Inuk actor Tiffany Ayalik discovered her love for storytelling by listening to the stories of her elders in the North. After receiving her diploma in Theatre from Red Deer College, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Alberta. Known for her role as host of Wild Kitchen, a television show broadcast in 37 million homes across the United States, Tiffany travels across Canada and internationally, as an actor, dancer and singer. She often collaborates with Greyson Gritt and Kayley Mackay in their JUNO-award winning band, Quantum Tangle.
Cherie Dimaline’s best-selling novel, The Marrow Thieves, won the 2017 Governor General’s Award, the One Book-One Brampton competition, and the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers. Selected to compete for CBC’s 2018 Canada Reads, it was a finalist for the White Pine Award, the Trillium Prize and The Swartz Award.
A member of the Georgian Bay Métis community, Cherie lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she coordinates the annual Indigenous Writers’ Gathering. She recently signed a four book deal with Penguin Random House and has joined the MFA faculty at the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Best known for his role as the Chief in Wonder Woman (2017), Eugene Brave Rock grew up near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in southern Alberta on the Kainai (Blood) reserve. He began his career as a stunt performer which led to greater opportunities in film and television. His stunt work includes the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at Euro-Disney France, the television shows Hell on Wheels, Blackstone, Heartland, and the Oscar award-winning film, The Revenant. The Blood Tribe recently honored his success with a ceremony and headdress presentation, their nation’s highest honour.
Holly Bernier is a radio and tv news host with CBC Manitoba, and a performer who specializes in acting and voice artistry for feature films and tv series. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Holly has spent her life pursuing her passion for the arts, which includes theatre, music and dance. Her broadcasting career, which has spanned almost two decades, includes hosting and producing programs for CBC, CTV and APTN, along with numerous independent productions. She has been involved with Indspire since 2007.