From powerful pow wow performances to hand‑made moose hide moccasins, Indigenous art is as diverse and dynamic as the many Indigenous communities across Canada. Inspiration for the beautiful songs, stories, and sculptures are as unique as the artists who create them.

by Bianca Bujan

 

Warrior Women

Hear the heartbeat of Mother Earth through the haunting stories and songs shared by the dynamic mother-daughter duo that makes up Warrior Women. “My work is a reflection of my life story, and my inspiration is to share Indigenous legends, stories, and songs with the world—one drum beat at a time,” shares co-founder, Matricia Brown. Based in Jasper, Warrior Women offer performances, workshops, and experiences that connect visitors with Cree Culture. — warrriorwomen.ca

 

I-Hos Gallery

Owned and operated by the K’ómoks First Nation, the I-Hos Gallery offers a window into their Culture through a collection of Traditional and contemporary artwork under the watchful eye of Queneesh, the great whale and i-Hos, a double-headed sea serpent. “We are all different and have unique legends to share with those who stop to listen,” says gallery manager, Ramona Johnson.ihosgallery.com

 

Aurora Heat 

For warmth in the Arctic, Dene people don furs made of sheared beaver harvested in the wilds of Northern Canada. “I dream of a world where humans are thoughtful about meeting basic needs using natural reusable products, living in harmony with nature,” says Aurora Heat president, Brenda Dragon who takes inspiration through the Cultural value of the beaver to produce silky-soft fur products such as hand warmers and blankets, handmade by Indigenous artisans. — auroraheat.ca

 

Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors

Watch Traditional legends unfold before your eyes through a multimedia experience like no other, performed by Atlantic Canada’s premier Indigenous theatre group, Mi’kmaq Legends. The six-strong Mi’kmaq troupe transforms the stage to leave a lasting impression on their audience. “We all find joy in learning, developing and sharing our stories, and watching everyone who comes to see us appreciate it,” shares performer, Julie Pellissier-Lush. — mikmaqlegends.com

 

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art

Created in honour of celebrated Haida master artist Bill Reid, this downtown Vancouver must-see aims to spark connections through creative journeys, exhibits, and collections. Inspired by the goal of promoting a greater awareness of Indigenous Cultures and values, the gallery is both an homage to a great artist, and a reflection of the Traditional and contemporary aspects of the Haida Gwaii Cultures and Traditions. — billreidgallery.ca

 

Transformation Fine Art

“Inuit art is an extractive process, where the artist captures a freeze-frame of reality in a beautiful form. It’s not just rock; it’s thoughts in rock. Culture is connection—the greatest teacher, and what better way to understand a Culture than through art,” says gallery owner Sophia Lebessis. At Transformation’s downtown Calgary space, immerse yourself in stories of Culture, Tradition, and artistic motivation from an Inuit perspective. —transformationfineart.com

 

Moonstone Creation

This family-run gallery in Calgary showcases three generations of talented Cree artists. After growing up under the tutelage of her mother, Yvonne Jovin, artist and Moonstone Creation co-owner, Amy Willier finds inspiration sharing her Cree Culture with visitors to the gallery. Jovin’s considerable knowledge of Traditional Cree Culture and spirituality is reflected in the pieces displayed throughout the gallery from beadwork, leatherwork, and painting to Traditional fish scale art. — moonstonecreation.ca

Innucadie Stories and Legends Festival

Against a backdrop of the boreal forest, rivers, and beaches in Natashquan, Québec, the Innucadie Stories and Legends spoken word festival celebrate Innu oral Traditions, and Acadian Culture. Inspired by the works of Gilles Vigneault, festival performers showcase the creativity of the Innu and participate in the age-old practice of sharing and passing down Traditional Knowledge. — innucadie.com

 

Adäka Cultural Festival

Immerse in the Yukon’s diverse and distinctive First Nations arts and Culture at the Adäka Cultural Festival. Adäka means “coming into the light” in the Southern Tutchone language, and organizers of the festival are committed to shining a light on the creative spirit of Yukon First Nations People. Showcasing a rich mixture of traditional and contemporary visual and performing artists from across Canada and the North, music, dance, storytelling, traditional arts and crafts, and workshops are interwoven with the warmth of the Yukon spirit! — adakafestival.ca

 

Pow Wow Wendake

Inspired by creating community, sharing Culture and Traditions and the chance to meet old friends and make new ones, travel to Wendake, perched at the edge of the canyon of the Akiawenrahk’ River (Saint-Charles River) to experience their annual pow wow. See and feel the history and living Culture of the Huron-Wendat Nation through powerful performances, as their Cultural heritage comes to life through Traditional dancing and drums. — powwowwendake.ca

 

Montréal First Peoples’ Festival 

From gastronomy to film and poetry recitals to electro concerts, the Montréal First Peoples’ Festival aims to create visibility for Indigenous People and Culture in the city and connect youth with Indigenous Cultures. “Artists are our best ambassadors because they speak directly to the soul,” shares Director of Cultural Activities, André Dudemaine. “There’s no filter when you’re taken by a song, a dance, a film—it’s another way of feeling and seeing.” — presenceautochtone.ca

 

Manito Ahbee Festival 

Inspired by the desire to bring Traditional Métis and Inuit arts, Culture and music to a wider community, Lisa Meeches, executive director of the Manito Ahbee Festival says that the annual event in downtown Winnipeg goes beyond just being a festival. “It’s a prophecy that unveils itself; when you honour all the gifts of all our Indigenous Nations that come together, you’re fulfilling a prophecy.” Named after one of the most sacred Indigenous sites in Manitoba, feel the spirit of Manito Ahbee come alive through songs, films, art, performance and dance. — manitoahbee.com

Bianca Bujan

Bianca is an award-winning travel writer with bylines in Lonely Planet, Food & Wine, The Globe & Mail, Canadian Geographic, Chatelaine, WestJet Magazine, and others. She was recently featured in Forbes as one of the 15 Black travel writers to follow and is an active member of the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC). www.bitsofbee.com