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Indigenous Arts Festival coming to Fort York as Toronto celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Month

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Mayor John Tory announces programming for National Indigenous Peoples Month and other City of Toronto events for National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21)

TORONTO, June 1, 2022 – Today, Mayor John Tory proclaimed June as National Indigenous Peoples Month and announced programming for the Indigenous Arts Festival and other City of Toronto events for National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21). The proclamation is available to be read in full on the City’s Proclamation 2022 webpage.

The Indigenous Arts Festival will take place on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 at Fort York National Historic Site; 250 Fort York Blvd. The festival is a free, community-focused event in celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous music and dance, along with artisan and culinary experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples living across Turtle Island and Indigenous communities around the world. More information on the festival and its artists is available at Toronto.ca/IAF.

“The City of Toronto acknowledges National Indigenous Peoples Month as a time to learn, reflect and celebrate the diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples across Tkaronto and all of Turtle Island.,” said Mayor John Tory. “Residents are encouraged to take this time to learn more about Indigenous histories, communities and the contributions Indigenous peoples have made, their vibrant and distinct culture, and their beautiful languages,” said Tory.

The Indigenous Arts Festival is presented by the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Na-Me-Res, Dashmaawaan Bemaadzinjin (They Feed the People) and the City. The Program is made possible in part by the Government of Canada and sponsorships from Bell and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) and media partner ELMNT FM.

Indigenous Arts Festival program lineup

  • Grand Entry and annual Na-Me-Res traditional Pow Wow with drummers and dancers – noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 18 only
  • Live music performances on the ELMNT FM stage, including 2022 JUNO Award nominees Beny Esguerra and New Tradition Music and Manitou Mkwa Singers
    Indigenous Artisans Market featuring a variety of Indigenous artisans curated by Dashmaawaan Bemaadzinjin (They Feed the People) in collaboration with Barb Nahwegahbow from Blue Dawn Consulting Inc.
  • Indigenous Food Market for a curated selection of Indigenous and Indigenous-fusion foods that will challenge the idea of festival foods – Sunday, June 19 only

An exciting selection of food vendors will be available on both days of the Indigenous Arts Festival, offering a wide range of nutritious and delicious options with connections to Indigenous foodways, food sovereignty and Elder and community wellness.

Beginning Wednesday, July 13, the Indigenous Food Market will continue weekly on Wednesdays at Fort York National Historic Site with music, talks and performances.

Art installations on extended display

  • Experience the poignant new video installation DISH DANCES by Ange Loft and Jumblies Theatre & Arts as part of Toronto Biennial of Art. DISH DANCES combines music, song and movement to expand ideas about the governance and sustainability of the land.
  • Queering Place Earth Art Installation is a project of SKETCH Working Arts that engages 2SQTBIPOC artists in residence to plant and tend a medicine wheel garden that connects to planter installations in the four directions, with city-wide partners to nurture healing gathering spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ young people.
  • Created by Ogimaa Mikana Project (Susan Blight and Hayden King), Weweni Bizindan (Listen Carefully) is a large-scale public art installation that contributes to discussions of the animate nature of our language and the world around us. Weweni Bizindan was commissioned by The Bentway Conservancy and hosted by Fort York National Historic Site.

Additional National Indigenous Peoples Day events and commemorations

  • Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with the City’s annual Sunrise Ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square on Tuesday, June 21 at 5:30 a.m.
  • On the evening of June 21, the Toronto Sign will be illuminated red for National Indigenous Peoples Day
  • Through the Toronto History Museums’ Awakenings program, two Indigenous-focused films are available: A Portrait in Red, filmed at Todmorden Mills, and Acknowledgment, filmed at Fort York. Both films are part of the project We Were Always Here, and are available to be viewed on the Toronto History Museums’ webpage.

More information and resources about National Indigenous Peoples Month and the traditional National Indigenous Peoples Day Sunrise Ceremony can be found on the City’s Indigenous Events, Commemoration & Awards webpage.

The City remains committed to advancing truth, justice and reconciliation and is working closely with Indigenous partners to implement its first Reconciliation Action Plan. The plan can be read in full at Toronto.ca/Reconciliation.

More than 80,000 residents in Toronto are from Indigenous communities. Toronto has the largest Indigenous population in Ontario and the fourth largest in Canada. The City’s Indigenous Affairs Office (IAO) is focused on supporting City divisions in their work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and all urban Indigenous communities. The office also strives to strengthen the City’s relationship with Indigenous communities and advance reconciliation. More information about the IAO is available on the City’s Indigenous Affairs Office webpage.

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