Stage Door News

St. Catharines: Celebration of Nations Indigenous Arts Gathering announces theme for fifth marquee year

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Celebration of Nations, the Niagara region’s highly regarded gathering of Indigenous Arts, Culture and Tradition prepares for a milestone year five with a special hybrid edition of in-person activities at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre as well as virtual offerings from 10 – 12 September 2021

This year, the theme of On Seeking Wisdom guides the curation of teachings, panels, workshops and musical performances that reflect on Indigenous survival, vigilance and vision that has been made possible by the application of Indigenous cultural, technical, and ecological knowledge. 

“Wisdom, one of the Seven Anishinaabek Grandfather Teachings, is the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement,” shares Artistic Director Michele Elise Burnett. “It is an aspirational attribute desired of Elders and Leaders to embrace evidence-based insight with unbiased analysis, compassion, ethics and benevolence with an aim of securing a viable future for the seventh generation to come.”

This year’s theme will be punctuated by a special series of conversations that bring forward the voices of Youth with On Preserving Wisdom as well as the Matriarchs with On Nurturing Wisdom.  Culminating on Sunday afternoon the anchor event will feature a moderated fireside discussion focused on the year’s theme, On Seeking Wisdom, that will reflect on the perspectives and wisdom of cultural and academic intellectuals who search for insight to understanding how things got to be the way they are and what decisions, drawn from wisdom, need to be made for the future.

Signature offerings will be punctuated by a suite of other programs including the 2021 Celebration of Nations Outstanding Achievement Awards, the Empathic Poetry Café, the Procession of Nations, Indigenous craft and youth workshops, Discovery Zone Installations, and more.

Throughout the weekend, safe activities will be planned in the backyard of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, where our Sacred Fire will also burn, officiated by Indigenous Elders and cared for by faithful Firekeepers.
In its fifth year, Celebration of Nations is more important than ever and perhaps its most significant achievement is the establishment of an innovative annual Indigenous cultural arts event held in an important and seminal region of the country.
“It is apropos that the front doors of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre open onto St. Paul Street, which follows the historic and ancient route known as the Iroquois Trail, the thoroughfare that channeled Indigenous leaders to and from this region for centuries,” said Artistic Producer Tim Johnson. “This year we seek to carry on the tradition of applying wisdom to the many challenges society faces while advancing the arts and humanities for the betterment of future generations.”
Celebration of Nations is an opportunity for local, national, and international visitors to actively participate in an inclusive and engaging community gathering that fosters a greater sense of belonging, support of meaningful reconciliation, and that engenders a lasting legacy of goodwill. The 2020 virtual edition attracted more than 36,000 viewers from across the globe.
Stay tuned for the 2021 Celebration of Nations Schedule, to be released this summer.