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The Art of Reconciliation

June 20, 2016- 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

In celebration of her time as VPL’s 2016 Aboriginal Storyteller in Residence, Renae Morriseau brings together a group of writers and artists to consider what reconciliation means to artists.

Artists are the backbone of philosophical discussions within societies, challenging communities to think forward, backward, and in the present. When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission put forward the 94 recommendations to federal government and to Canadians, artists were left to wonder how that affects them within their communities. What does reconciliation mean to an artist living in unceded territories of the Salish peoples? Join us for an evening with the Aboriginal Writers Collective and special guests to discover “The Art of Reconciliation.”

Writer and Artist Showcase

Gregory Coyes Gregory Coyes, filmmaker and musician
Gregory Coyes is widely recognized around the world for his animations with Norval Morrisseau and his award-winning documentary films. Coyes is also a guitar player and songwriter steeped in Métis tradition, and has been writing and playing his own tunes since 2000.
Monica Benson Monica Mabel Benson, dancer
Monica Mabel Benson is from the Wikwemikong unceded territory on Manitoulin Island. Benson has more than four decades of experience as a traditional dancer and will draw on this in her performance of UNYA.
Gloria Eshkibok Gloria May Eshkibok, actor, singer, writer and producer
Gloria May Eshkibok is from the Wikwemikong unceded territory on Manitoulin Island. Currently residing on the Capilano unceded territory of the Squamish Nation, Eshkibok has been an actress, singer, writer and producer for more than 30 years.
Mimi Gellman Mimi Gellman, visual artist and educator
Mimi Gellman is an Anishinaabe-Ashkenazi visual artist and educator with a multi-streamed practice in architectural glass and conceptual installation. She is currently an associate professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and is completing her research praxis PhD in cultural studies on the metaphysics of indigenous mapping.
Hiromi Goto Hiromi Goto, writer
Hiromi Goto is a Japanese-Canadian writer who lives on the traditional unceded territories of the Coast Salish, the Musqueam, Squamish and the Tsleil Waututh peoples. She has published numerous books for both adults and youth and was the 2007 Vancouver Public Library writer in residence. Goto is currently working on graphic novels, short stories and essays.
Garry Gottfriedson Garry Gottfriedson, author
A nationally and internationally renowned author, Garry Gottfriedson has published nine books and toured across North America, Europe and Asia. A local author from Kamloops, B.C., Gottfriedson is also a self-employed rancher from the Secwepemc Nation.
Heather Hay Heather Hay, cellist
Heather has played an active part in Vancouver’s music scene. She is currently an assistant principal cellist with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, and was a member of the CBC Radio Orchestra. Hay’s musical talents have been featured with the West Coast Chamber Music, Turning Point Ensemble and Vancouver New Music, and  is also frequently heard on CBC Radio 2.
Jonina Kirton Jónína Kirton, poet
A prairie-born Métis-Icelandic poet and facilitator,  Jónína Kirton currently lives in the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people. Her first collection of poetry, page as bone ~ ink as blood, has been described by Canadian Métis writer Joanne Arnott as “restorative, intimate poetry, drawing down ancestral ideas into the current moment’s breath.”
Jules Koostachin Jules Koostachin, writer, producer and actor
Jules Koostachin is from the Mushkegowok territory of the Attawapiskat First Nation and currently resides in Vancouver, where her company, VisJuelles Productions Inc., has a number of television and film projects in development. Over the years, she has worked in the indigenous community in several capacities, providing support to indigenous women and children who face barriers. These community experiences continue to feed her art.
M'Girl M’Girl, music group
M’Girl is a ensemble of indigenous women with a collective of stories and song about water ways, the strength of the four-legged, the winged ones and the gifts received from Mother Earth. Their percussive-based aboriginal hand drum songs blend harmonies into a contemporary, gospel style that reflects both their expertise of voice and their personal story of home.
Tannis Nielsen Tannis Nielsen, artist
Tannis Nielsen is a Métis woman, artist, mother and lecturer in the visual arts program at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Her artistic and academic interests include anti-colonial theory, decolonization methodologies, natural law, indigenous governance, indigenous arts activism and the relative visual investigations of indigenous science and quantum physics.
Larry Nicholson Larry Nicholson, poet
Larry Nicholson is Nehiyaw (Cree) and has made the Coast Salish territory his home for 18 years. It is his deep wish that all people use their hearts and minds to work toward healing and authentic reconciliation for everybody. Nicholson is glad to be joining others in breathing new life into the poetry and words spoken at this special event.
Kat Norris Kat Norris, writer
Kat Norris is Coast Salish from the Lyackson First Nation on her mother’s side, and Nez Perce-Hawaiian Filipina on her father’s side. Norris is a residential school survivor of the Kuper Island residential school, and finds solace in putting thoughts to paper by writing and drawing. Published work include “Crow Bones” in the Salish Seas Anthology.
Kelly Roulette Kelly Roulette, writer and artist
Kelly Roulette is an Ojibway writer and artist from Manitoba. A former lawyer and graduate of The SFU Writer’s Studio, Roulette is a member of the West Coast Aboriginal Writers Collective and Ink Tank writing group, and has participated in a number of public group readings in Vancouver.
Sherryl Sewepagaham Sherryl Sewepagaham, musician
Sherryl Sewepagaham is a Cree-Dene traditional hand drummer and singer-songwriter from Alberta. She released a solo album, Splashing the Water Loudly, of Cree drum songs infused with jazz piano and Cuban percussion, and was nominated for a 2015 Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Award for best indigenous language or francophone album.
Michelle Sylliboy Michelle Sylliboy, poet and photographer
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Michelle Sylliboy is a Mi’kmaq artist who was raised in her traditional Mi’kmaq territory of We’koqmaq First Nation in Cape Breton. She is currently completing her doctorate degree in philosophy, with a focus on curriculum and implementation. Her educational pursuits are aimed at creating language revitalization dialogues and shifting perceptions of what language represents.
Russell Wallace Russell Wallace, composer, producer and traditional Lil’wat singer
Russell Wallace’s music has been part of a number of film, video and television soundtracks, and theatre and dance productions. He was the composer in residence for the Chinook Winds Aboriginal Dance Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts from 1996 to 2003. He has also produced albums that have been nominated for awards at the Juno Awards and the Native American Music Awards in the U.S. Wallace is currently a teacher at the Native Education College in Vancouver.
Rita Wong Rita Wong, poet
Rita Wong is the author of several published works such as monkeypuzzle,forage, sybil unrest (with Larissa Lai) and undercurrent. Her book forage was the winner of the 2008 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and Canada Reads Poetry in 2011. Wong is also an associate professor at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design on the unceded Coast Salish territories also known as Vancouver.
Cease Wyss Cease Wyss, inter-disciplinary artist
Cease is a media artist with almost 25 years experience. She has produced various formats of media art and is a mentor in her field. Wyss is an ethno-botanist, traditionally trained by indigenous elders. Her work involves site-specific and culturally focused teaching with storytelling as her means to share knowledge.



June 20, 2016
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Vancouver Public Library Central Branch
350 W Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC Canada


Aboriginal Storyteller in Residence, Renae Morriseau
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