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Artist, Elder, and Speaker Bios

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Cliff Cardinal is a polarizing writer and performer known for his black humour and compassionate poeticism. William Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT, A Radical Retelling by Cliff Cardinal received its world premiere in a Crow’s Theatre on September 30, 2021, and enjoyed a sold-out run at PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in February 2022. 

Cliff Cardinal’s multi-award-winning one-man play Huff, which he has performed over 200 times, is a harrowing yet hilarious show about youth who abuse solvents to the risk of suicide. Huff won the Buddies in Bad Times’ Vanguard Award for Risk and Innovation; Outstanding Performance and Outstanding New Play Dora Mavor Moore Awards; RBC’s Emerging Playwright Award; The Edinburgh Fringe Festival Lustrum Award (which recognizes the greatest moments at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival); was shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award; and received a five-star review in The Guardian Observer titled, “a hard-hitting tour de force.” The play has been published, translated into French, continues to tour, and was released as a podcast by the CBC Radio.


Cliff Cardinal’s CBC Special, his eagerly anticipated follow-up to Huff,

won the Jon Kaplan Spotlight Award for the top performance at Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival and toured Canada’s north beginning in Yellowknife.Cardinal’s first multi-character play, Too Good To Be True, which opened VideoCabaret’s 2019 season at the Busy Street theatre in Toronto, with Cardinal directing, “...solidifies Cardinal as one of the most talented and intriguing writers in the country.” NOW Magazine. 


Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Cliff studied playwriting at the National Theatre School of Canada, and is an associate artist at VideoCabaret where he develops his new work. Cliff also fronts the hilarious and nefarious Cliff Cardinal and The Skylarks, who have released two albums; and is the son of iconic Canadian actress Tantoo Cardinal. Cliff lives in Toronto with his wife Sage Paul, Artistic Director of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, their dog Frodo, and their cat Tiga. 



Pura Fé (Tuscarora/Taino) is an Indigenous activist, singer-songwriter, and storyteller known for her distinct, soulful vocals and for breathing life into several musical genres. As the founding member of the internationally renowned Native Women’s a cappella trio Ulali, Pura Fé helped to create a movement throughout Indian Country, which not only empowered Native Women’s hand drum and harmony, but also built a bridge for Native music into the mainstream music scene. 

More recently, deep cultural roots have brought her to the world of Native Blues, where she is known for her lap-steel slide guitar recordings. Her body of work is extensive, including six solo albums, one of which won her a Grand Prix du Disque from L'Académie Charls Cros (French Grammy) for Best World Album in 2006 for Tuscarora Nation Blues, and a Native American
Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist for Follow Your Heart’s Desire. 


Pura Fé’s music has been featured on many movie soundtracks, documentaries, and television commercials. She tours world festivals, has earned platinum album sales in Italy. She supports many social injustice gatherings as a presenter and musician; she leads musical workshops and college courses, performs for

benefits, and was featured in the award-winning 2017 documentary, RUMBLE: The Indians that Rocked the World.



Rick Hill is currently the Indigenous Innovations Specialist at Mohawk College, developing strategies for sustainable agriculture for the future in light of climate change.  He is also an advisor with First Nations Technical Institute on issues of Indigenous sustainability.   Rick has worked (often alongside Alan Corbiere) for many years to recover history and meaning of treaties and wampum belts, in particular the Dish With One Spoon between the Haudenosaunee and the Anishinaabe.


Missy Knott (Singing Wild Rice Girl) is a Mother, Business Owner, Educational Assistant, active Curve Lake First Nation Community member and Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter. Her most recent release, “Our Song Acoustic” (2021), made it to #3 on the Indigenous Music Countdown playing widely on Sirius XM. 


In 2018, Missy launched her Wild Rice Records which was founded in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough), but soon after, accepted jobs as an Afternoon Drive and Weekend Live Radio Personality at both ELMNT FM in Ottawa and Toronto. 


She’s returned home and back to running her full-service independent record label, focusing mainly on Indigenous artists, and working with them through every stage of your creative journey. From concept and development to recording and distribution, Wild Rice Records is your musical partner, connection and champion cheerleader. 



Sarah Lewis is an Anishnaabe Kwe (Ojibwe/Cree) spoken word artist, activist, and mother from Curve Lake First Nation, Ontario. She is currently Peterborough’s first Poet Laureate. She was also a national semi-finalist at the 2019 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and a finalist at Toronto’s International Festival of Authors Slam Poetry Coalkan. 


She has been featured on Global News, CBC radio, CBC Arts’ ongoing video series: Poetic License and more recently published in the poetry anthology: The Condor and the Eagle Meet. 


Her poetry uncovers the ongoing effects of colonization but more importantly, how Indigenous communities are reclaiming their identities, culture, strength and sovereignty. She also explores love, women empowerment, friendship and her connection to Mother Earth.



Chandra F. Maracle is mother of four daughters and founder of Kakhwa’on:we/Real People Eat Real Food, exploring links between people, food, mothering, art, language, technology and land. She is co-Founder of Skaronhyase’ko:wa /the Everlasting Tree School and creator of the school’s Tyonnhehkwen Onkwaya’takenha:tshera Nutrition Program. Chandra was meal planner, food educator and developer of the Haudenosaunee Food Guide for the Six Nations Healthy Roots community food challenge. She is a graduate of the Onkwawen:na Kentyohkwa adult Mohawk language immersion program, and is currently a PhD student at York University in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change.  She is a collaborator on The Earth to Tables Legacies Project, a group of intergenerational and intercultural folks transforming the food system.



Jean Marshall (b. 1976) is of Ahnishnaabe/English descent, born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She is a band member of Kitchenuhmaykoosib, also known as Big Trout Lake, Treaty 9. She currently lives along the shore of Lake Superior.  Jean Marshall has been practicing professionally as a visual artist for the past 20 years. She is primarily known for her work with beads and textiles. As a child, she was surrounded by beadwork. The value of craftsmanship, quality and the importance of using her hands was instilled at a young age. Unknowingly, she absorbed skill, colour, design, pattern and techniques to be used later in life. This lasting admiration grew into her present day practice, becoming a beadwork & leatherworker. She does this full time now and works for herself & community.  She is an aspiring hide tanner.



Dr. Fred Metallic is a Listuguj (Qc.) resident and a lifetime citizen of Gespe’gewa’gi, Mi’gma’gi. Fred currently works for the Listuguj Mi'gmaq Government as the Director of Natural Resources and lead fisheries negotiator. Fred completed his Ph.D. Environmental studies program at York University (in Toronto). To fulfill the requirements for his Ph.D. Fred had to write a dissertation. The dissertation written in Mi’gmaw and defended in Listuguj was a landmark achievement. This was the first time a dissertation was written solely without translation in an indigenous language.  He has written and presented numerously to Mi’gmaq and non-Mi’gmaq communities, on topics related to Mi’gmaq history, Mi’gmaq political philosophy, culture, spirituality, and governance. Fred also sits on the Mi'gmaq Grand Council as a Ge’ptin and works closely with the leadership to advance our rights and responsibilities as a nation.



Aanii Kina Wii yaa,


Respect Hope n Generosity was a traditional balance of nutrition medicine. Wild Rice was a bundle blanket substance which  historically was a Anishnabek natural dietary style.


It is a similar echo honor to be a part of such a beautiful spirit  education circle for all guests and Knowledge Keeper's at this year's 2022 wild rice gathering. 


On the road we braid.





Keith Secola (Anishinabe), writer of the anthemic "ndn kars (indian car)" song, is a highly skilled guitar, flute, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, and piano player who has taken stages at the top of New York City, the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and everywhere in between.

Once referred to as the native version of Neil Young and Bruce Springstein, the native music icon was inducted into the Native Music Hall of Fame alongside the ranks of Jimmy Hendrix, Hank Williams, Crystal Gale, and Richie Valens in 2011.

Secola has seven Native American Music Awards under his belts and counts the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hard, academic Dr. Tom Venum, and Elder Karen Drift as some of his most notable collaborators. As an activist he has worked with Irene Bedard on environmental and Native American rights concerns.

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Wes Whetung was born and raised in the Anishinabe Mississauga community of Curve Lake Ontario. His name is Nowakwegeesis and he is of the Moose clan family. He is a father to 3, Grandfather to 9, and Great grandfather to 3 with a 4th on the way. Wes is currently lives in his Wife's community of Mississauga # 8 First Nation, near Blind River, ON.


Wes has pursued a career in social work, providing support services to Indigenous peoples. Although his professional training is extensive he openly acknowledges that his most effective skills are derived from the sacred teachings, ceremonies, and Healing practices of the Three Fires Midewin Society. Wes has actively participated and supported the Midewin Society for the past 40+ years. He is a well respected Ceremony maker, knowledge keeper, and teacher.

At present, Wes provides cultural healing services for Indigenous men incarcerated in the federal institution of Beaver Creek in Ontario. Wes also provides cultural based Healing services for a number of First Nation communities and urban Indigenous organizations. Wes is dedicated to and continues to work for the embetterment of First Nations people.

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Alice Olsen Williams is renowned for her unique quilted textile works that blend expressions of Anishinaabe  beliefs and ideology with reflections on contemporary social issues. Her distinctive style is grounded in the traditional skills of beadwork and sewing of the Anishinaabe people, and the unique symbols and themes of her culture. Alice's creative vision in quilt design focuses on the central placement of animals and birds, which figure prominently in the lives of the Anishinaabeg.  She also uses the beautiful floral motifs that Anishinaabe-Kwewag continue to use in their beadwork, quillwork, embroidery and other creative media.   Surrounding her central designs are the conventional North American quilting blocks which were introduced by the first European Settlers, and continue to be developed by contemporary quilt artisans. Alice combines the knowledge and appreciation of both her Norwegian and Anishinaabe

ancestry with new materials, to syncretize wonderful expressions in cultural meaning, the healing arts and indigenous activism. 


Alice was born in Trout Lake, 150 miles north of Kenora Ontario, Canada, in the traditional Anishinaabe territory of her mother's people for millennia, long before Euro-colonization.  Even as a child Alice had a delight for fabrics, creating small sewing projects that would later become her passion.  She received her teaching certificate from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and taught there and at Pic Mobert First Nation before moving to Curve Lake First Nation. Alice completed her B.A. at Trent University in Peterborough, and with her discovery of the quilting process in 1980, went on to formulate the concepts which would be the basis for her distinctive style, and to master the beadwork and sewing techniques which allow her to create her meticulous hand-quilted designs. She also keeps extremely busy with her beautiful family of four children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandson!

Artists and Speakers: Team
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