Canada announces 33 indigenous artists and 18 cultural performances

DUBAI, 14 November 2021 – More than 30 indigenous artists from Canada are set to take to the stage this week, with 18 performances as part of Expo 2020’s Tolerance and Inclusivity Week, which runs from 14-20 November.

First to kick off on Sunday are the masked Dancers of Damelahamid, an indigenous performing arts company with strong cultural traditions from their Gitxsan and Cree cultural background, and Digging Roots, an award-winning husband-and-wife duo that mix traditional and contemporary music.

Other acts appearing later in the week include musician Celeigh Cardinal with her band; Zoey Roy, a spoken-word artist and poet from Saskatchewan in Canada; Kevin Loring, an award-winning playwright and actor; and Sarain Fox, an activist, host and film actor. The list of performers was announced by Heather Gibson, Executive Producer, National Arts Centre, Canada, at a launch event at Expo.

Margaret Grenier, Executive and Artistic Director for the Dancers of Damelahamid, who was also present, talked about making traditions relevant to contemporary audiences, while Kevin Loring, the Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre, detailed his own work with indigenous artists. He said: “It’s wonderful that we have a vast territory and country to pull from in terms of the talent base, working with them on local, regional, national and international levels.”

Performers will also feature at the Te Aratini Festival – a collaborative festival of indigenous and tribal ideas, with performances from dancers, musicians, poets and speakers from across the world. Led by New Zealand and delivered in collaboration with Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Panama, Paraguay, the UAE and the United States, the festival runs from 17-19 November at Dubai Exhibition Centre.

Speaking on why this festival in particular was so important to Canada, Marie-Geneviève Mounier, Commissioner General of Canada for Global Affairs and Assistant Deputy Minister Canadian Heritage, also present at the launch event, said: “Canada is committed to advancing reconciliation and renewing the relationships with indigenous people, based on respect, cooperation and partnership. Supporting this delegation of indigenous artists and performers during this coming week is an opportunity to raise awareness of the cultures, lived experiences and histories of indigenous peoples from Canada and around the world.