Indigenous identity explored at conference

By Costa Maragos Posted: September 15, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Performing Turtle Island takes place at the University of Regina and First Nations University of Canada Sept 17 – 19.
Performing Turtle Island takes place at the University of Regina and First Nations University of Canada Sept 17 – 19. (Photo courtesy of Eagleclaw Thom. The Graphic Art is courtesy of Katherine Boyer)

Indigenous theatre and performance will be the focus of a national symposium that is being held jointly by the University of Regina and First Nations University of Canada with strong support from Saskatchewan arts organizations including Common Weal Community Arts, Sâkêwêwak Artists' Collective and Curtain Razors and Sakatchewan Native Theatre Company among many others.

Performing Turtle Island will bring together established and emerging scholars to examine how Indigenous theatre and performance are connected to Indigenous identity and community health. The conference is being held from Sept. 17 to 19.

“Performing Turtle Island is about bridging communities, across the U of R campus, the province, Canada, and the world,” says Dr. Jesse-Archibald Barber, an assistant professor of Indigenous Literature at First Nations University and Co-Director and Curator of the event.

The director of Performing Turtle Island is Dr. Kathleen Irwin, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the U of R and head of the Theatre Department.
 
“In the face of growing international mobility and a radically changing Canadian demographic, it is important to take another look at how identity is constructed on Turtle Island within the ideational borders that designate Canada,” says Dr.Irwin.

The sessions will include a mix of readings, film screenings and performances, as well as open discussions held on the U of R and First Nations University campuses.

All sessions and performances are open to the public, free of charge.

“We hope to engage Indigenous theatre and performing arts through a multidisciplinary perspective that helps promote Indigenous cultures as valuable sources of knowledge and identity inclusiveness,” says Dr. Barber.

Performing Turtle Island has received funding from numerous sources within and outside the campus community including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, SaskCulture, the University of Regina President’s Fund, University of Regina Fine Arts, First Nations University of Canada and Campion College.

For a full list of organizations that have kindly helped make this event a reality please visit here.