Stage Door News

St. Catharines: Celebration of Nations announces its seventh year

Friday, August 11, 2023

Downtown St. Catharines, Ontario will once again come alive with the rich history, wisdom and astounding beauty of Indigenous culture when the Celebration of Nations Indigenous Arts Gathering returns for its seventh year to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) Fri 8 Sept - Sun 10 Sept 2023.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to gather again as a community at the PAC to lift and support Indigenous artists and knowledge keepers,” shares Artistic Director Michele-Elise Burnett. “As we enter year 7, I am proud to see how this gathering continues to grow a path for the next generation. Youth are now emerging as the next leaders, and we celebrate the seeds we’ve sown. Celebration of Nations is our opportunity to harvest this good medicine together.”

“This year my curatorial focus deals with the theme of borders, physical, sociological, and personal,” says Artistic Producer Tim Johnson. “From Saturday night’s concert event that explores the history and impact upon Indigenous families of the international border between the United States and Canada, to the boundaries that define the UNESCO Niagara Escarpment Biosphere within which a grassroots movement has emerged to protect the environment, to the barriers of understanding that led to the Mohawk Institute and the legacy of Indian residential schools, to the Empathic Poetry Café where spoken word artists will address the complications of this theme, we once again seek to deepen the public’s awareness of the Indigenous experience.”

This year’s Celebration of Nations programming offers over 30 events over the three-day gathering and includes a wide range of free activities, as well as pay-what-you-can and ticketed events. There are multiple ways for participants to engage with Celebration of Nations programming and perspectives, including:

 • Reflect on an Elder’s shared wisdom by the Sacred Fire at Sunrise each day;

 • Enjoy marquee programs in Partridge Hall including Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s 2023 Dora Award-winning dance program Homelands, the Border Crossing / Blues concert featuring Digging Roots and The Ripcords produced by Celebration of Nations Artistic Producer Tim Johnson, and a closing concert by celebrated Kiowa, Comanche and Tuscarora artist, Tonemah;

 • Living Mino Bimaadiziwin: An Indigenous Journey through the Arts, a powerful exhibition that features original artworks by renowned Indigenous artists

 • Take part in workshops based on traditional making practices such as Medicine Wheel bracelets, baby moccasins, medicine pouches and more;

 • Discover the bustling Indigenous Interactive Discovery Zone and Vendor Market;

 • Plus music, poetry, dance performances, films and distinguished speakers and knowledge keepers throughout the weekend.

Celebration of Nations 2023 programming schedule is available at