Meet 4 artists from the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival
Digital video series features a sneak peek with people behind the programming
The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival has gone virtual this year and is working with Indigenous artists, performers, educators and community members to provide family-centric experiences throughout the month of June.
Coinciding with National Indigenous History Month, the festival provides opportunities to learn more about Indigenous cultures, connect with the Indigenous community and traditional knowledge keepers, and get to know talented Indigenous craft makers and artists.
- 5 highlights on the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival schedule
- 'Indigenous voice matters:' What to watch this June
Starting Wednesday, June 10, CBC Ottawa will profile four artists participating in the festival. You can read about them below and follow @cbcottawa on Instagram for our IGTV series to learn more.
CBC Ottawa is a proud partner of the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival.
Emily Brascoupe-Hoefler: Visual artist
Emily Brascoupe-Hoefler, 39, was born into a family of artists.
"I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be an artist and loved being creative," she said in an email interview.
"My dad started taking me with him to powwows, festivals and to workshops designed to help people learn how to express themselves through art and to learn about stories from our culture."
The Algonquin Anishinaabe artist lives in Ottawa with her family, including two children of her own who are now starting to discover their own love for creativity and crafting.
"We also do a lot of arts and crafts at home. I think it's an important part of our family history and a great way to share our culture as well as helping my boys express their creativity."
Her sons, Christian and Viktor, will also play a part in her online art workshop using objects found in nature on June 11.
"I hope that festivals like this one will bring people together and remind us that we need to continue to heal, reclaim our culture and traditions and create a better world for the future generations," she said.
Aurora Jade: Singer/songwriter
Aurora Jade was only about 9 years old when she first performed at the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival as part of the "We Got Talent" youth competition.
She won first place and made her first album.
Growing up on Tyendinaga Mohawk territory, Jade moved to Ottawa for school and then to Victoria, B.C. when she was 16. She recently returned to Ottawa to further pursue her career in music and has put together a virtual performance for the festival on June 13.
It's a slightly different experience for the now 21-year-old singer/songwriter.
"I love bands and I love to belt it out on stage, run around and interact with the audience," she said. "It was a bit strange for me [to do a virtual performance] as I love to MC and be very interactive at my shows. It was nice for this show to relax a bit, play solo and focus on performing originals."
Aurora Jade is currently working on her second album, which is made up of original music and will include her own artwork.
"All of my fashion looks, music videos, photo shoots, album art/design and songs are from out of my brain. This album is a big project for me, I'm putting a lot of soul into it."
You'll be able to see a preview of her performance on @cbcottawa on Instagram on June 13.
Carissa Metcalfe-Coe: Artist, craft maker
Carissa Metcalfe-Coe's family is from Nunatsiavut, Northern Labrador but she is located in Ottawa and has been involved in the festival for many years thanks to her mom, Trudy, who is one of the featured chefs.
This year, Metcalfe-Coe, 25, designed colouring sheets for the festival as part of its weekly online drawing competition. The example below shows traditional tattoos on each side with an ulu—a knife traditionally used by Inuit women—in the middle, reflecting the layout of a Canadian flag.
"Each tattoo has a different meaning and different regions have different things. It really speaks to the woman's individual story and what is important to her," she said.
When she's not studying for university or working with the Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families, Metcalfe-Coe enjoys creating art in her free time, including beading and working with sealskin.
She also recently started learning the art of traditional tattooing.
"I wanted to tattoo myself and then fortunately I've been honoured to do a few tattoos for other people as well," she said.
"It's been a really healing journey being able to share those moments with those people and learning different peoples experiences, everybody's struggles and seeing how strong and resilient Indigenous people of Canada and the world are, I think it's really important for us to continue connecting on things like that."
Metcalfe-Coe said that one of the reasons National Indigenous History Month is important is that it "gives us a moment to come together as Indigenous and non-Indigenous to both give and receive education."
"As an Indigenous person, there are still things I learn almost every day from elders, from other Indigenous cultures...and it's awesome that Summer Solstice gives us this opportunity."
Theland Kicknosway: Hoop dancer
Theland Kicknosway first fell in love with hoop dancing when he saw world champion Dallas Arcand perform in Gatineau, Que.
"Ever since then, I've continued with my hoop dance journey and I look forward to the years of hoop dancing that I have ahead of myself."
For the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival, the 17-year-old from Walpole Island First Nation in southwestern Ontario will be performing a glow-in-the-dark virtual hoop dance for viewers online.
WATCH: Theland Kicknosway shares how the traditional art of hoop dancing has taken him around the world
"I think it's really awesome that I'm still able to share a little bit about my culture, about the hoops and to show you my story through the art of dance and also [online]."
Kicknosway, who is Potawatami and Cree and lives in Ottawa, also shared his story with CBC Arts as part of a series on CBC Gem, The Move 3: Kids. If you can't make it to his virtual performance on June 20, check out the episode to learn about what the dance means to him.
Click here for more information about the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival.
Follow @cbcottawa on Instagram for more on these stories.