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2022 Expressions of Reclamation Artists

Olivia C. Davies

Olivia C. Davies is a Canadian Contemporary Indigenous dance artist who creates and collaborates across multiple platforms including choreography, curation, conversation, film, and sound design to share stories that open new ways to experience the world. Davies’ body of work spans three decades with creations and collaborations that explore the emotional and political relationships between people and places, often investigating the body’s dynamic ability to transmit narrative, blood memory, and a neo-traditional Indigenous perspective. In 2018, she founded O.Dela Arts and Matriarchs Uprising Festival. She honours her mixed-blood ancestry as an Algonquin Anishinaabe-Kwe with French-Canadian, Finnish and Welsh heritage.

Jeanette Kotowich 

Jeanette Kotowich is a multi-disciplinary iskwêw, independent dance artist, creator, choreographer and professional Auntie of Nêhiyaw Métis and mixed settler ancestry. Originally from Treaty 4 territory Saskatchewan, she creates work that reflects Nêhiyaw/Métis cosmology within the context of contemporary dance, Indigenous performance, and Indigenous futurism. Fusing interdisciplinary collaboration, de-colonial practices and embodied research methodologies; Jeanette’s work references protocol, ritual, relationship to the natural/spirit world and Ancestral knowledge. Her practice is intergenerational and vocational; it’s a living and lived experience. Jeanette resides as a guest on the Ancestral and unceded Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) əl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territories, colonially known as Vancouver.

Emily Solstice Tait

Emily Solstice Tait is a contemporary dance artist whose work often crosses into theatre and film. She is of mixed settlers and of Anishinabe descent ( an urban member of Berens River First Nation) living in Treaty 1 Territory (Winnipeg). Her dances have been performed at The Manitoba Museum, the traditional meeting place of The Forks National Historic Site, and along the shores of Lake Winnipeg.

Cheryl Wadhams

Cheryl (Kakaso’las) Wadhams is of the Maʼa̱mtagila Tribe with strong family ties to the ʼNa̱mǥis of Alert Bay (‘Yalis) and Mama̱liliḵa̱la Tribe of Village Island (ʼMimkwamlis) which are three of 19 tribes on the Mid-Northwest Coast of BC, all of which are located in the traditional territory known as the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. Growing up she watched her uncle Lloyd carve totem poles, masks, bowls and jewelry in his home based studio in Coquitlam. As a female native wood carver, Wadhams carved under the guidance of her mentors and late Uncles, Lloyd Wadhams Sr, Don Dawson and Dennis Matilpi. Not only Wadhams specializes in miniature feast bowls, rattles and masks depicted in animal, spiritual and human forms that are representative of the Kwakwaka’wakw style, but also she is working on other mediums like textiles and cedar bark, making traditional regalia like button blankets, aprons and cedar bark headdresses. Wadhams continues to mix family, culture and education into her life, which lends to continued growth and understanding of herself, her people and where she comes from.

The Spiritual Warriors

The internationally acclaimed music group, The Spiritual Warriors, create music inspired by the land and life in the coast mountains of the Lil’wat Nation. With their unique blend of indigenous chants and contemporary roots, rock, reggae, the Spiritual Warriors are distinctly west coast.

The band perform most of their songs in Ucwalmícwts and are passionate about preserving and promoting their language and culture. The uplifting reggae rhythm only underlines the beautiful harmonizing of the vocals sung bilingually in English and Ucwalmícwts the Lil’wat language. The Spiritual Warriors, formerly known as Kalan Wi, are led by father and daughter, Leroy(vocals, guitar) and Daisy Joe(vocals) and accompanied by Richard Doucet with his infectious djembe beats. The backbone is laid down by Mike Roe(bass) of Jamaican heritage. The band regularly collaborates with other first nation artist and musicians to write and perform live. Ancestors, their debut album was released in 2019 and has received 4 nominations at the Native American Music Awards in New York and won for Best World Recording. This truly unique band will take you on cultural journey to the natural heartbeat of the Indigenous drum and the St’at’imc people.

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