St. Catharines is preparing to welcome guests from across Turtle Island this weekend for Celebration of Nations, a gathering of Indigenous arts, culture and tradition in downtown St. Catharines from Sept. 8 to 10.
Hosted by the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and Kakekalanicks Indigenous Arts & Consultancy, the three-day festival begins on Friday evening with the Procession of Nations. The Procession will include a veteran honouring and Kinship, a new dance choreographed by Santee Smith of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, performed by 25 local youth. The Procession of Nationswill bring together many special guests including the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
“We’re proud to welcome distinguished guests, several Chiefs, Clan Mothers and Veterans from communities across Ontario to our hometown and to welcome Her Honour Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor, to the Celebration of Nations this weekend,” said Mayor Walter Sendzik. “The festival is about celebrating the rich and diverse cultures of our First Nations and learning together as we forge our shared future. I’d like to invite the entire community to join us for this special occassion.”
The Procession of Nations begins on Friday at 5 p.m. at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. The festival weekend includes many free and ticketed events with for all ages. Highlights include:
- Headlining performances from Buffy Sainte-Marie, DJ Shub Pow Wow Step Dance Party, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s Re-Quickening and a special RUMBLE Unity Jam Session.
- The Backyard (Mann Raceway Plaza + Lancaster, Brooks & Welch Pathway) – a free space behind the PAC featuring a Métis Encampment, workshops, Indigenous food and music.
- A free workshop series that includes opportunities to learn about and make Métis dot art on rocks, a hand-held drum, Unity bracelets and tiny moccasins to be donated locally.
- The Film Series includes Niagara premiere of the Sundance award-winning RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World (2016), Moose River Crossing (2013) by Shirley Cheechoo, FREE screenings of imagineNATIVE Shorts and Gord Downie’s The Secret Path, and more.
The full Celebration of Nations schedule is available at www.celebrationofnations.ca