The Indigenous Arts Festival announces 2019 program lineup

The 7th annual Indigenous Arts Festival has announced its 2019 program lineup. The festival, which will take place at Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Blvd., from June 18 to 23, is a celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous music, dance, theatre, storytelling, film, crafts and culinary experiences of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. 

The City of Toronto produces The Indigenous Arts Festival, in partnership with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and The Friends of Fort York. The festival is presented by Tim Hortons, with financial support from the Government of Canada and sponsorships from CN, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), and Stantec. 

The festival offers Indigenous cultural education programming for students from across the Greater Toronto Area from June 18 to June 21, culminating with a weekend of free celebrations including the Na-Me-Res Annual Traditional Pow Wow and evening musical performances on the Garrison Common Main Stage. For information on the festival and its artists, visit

Highlights of the festival weekend include the following performances/events on June 21:

Project of Heart Collaborative Arts Mural
Youth are invited to paint wood tiles in memory of a residential school student. The tiles will become part of a larger mural that will develop over the course of the festival. 

Okitchitaw Indigenous Weapons Experience with George Lepine
Okitchitaw is a unique, powerful, practical martial art system that uses basic, but aggressive combat movements that were employed specifically throughout Plains Indigenous Warfare. 

Biidaaban: First Light Interactive VR Project 
Rooted in the realm of Indigenous futurism, Biidaaban: First Light, presented by the National Film Board of Canada and House of VR, is an interactive, virtual reality time-jump into a highly realistic and radically different future for Toronto. 

The Moccasin Identifier Project with Carolyn King 
Carolyn King, former elected Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, will discuss the context, aim, and activities of the “Moccasin Identifier Project”, an educational and public intervention project to promote the ongoing presence of First Nations in cities throughout Ontario. 

Performances on the Tim Hortons Festival Stage will include:
– Toronto Métis Jiggers, Toronto’s most recognized Métis dance collective
– Fawn Big Canoe, First Nations DJ 
– Brendt Thomas Diabo & the Ramblers, Classic country and Rockabilly band
– Dave Mowat and the Curbside Shuffle, Blues band
– Beatrice Deer, Traditional Inuit throat singer 
– Quantum Tangle, JUNO award-winning group 

Highlighted performances/events on June 22 include:
The Pow Wow Experience with Indigenize Our Minds
Participants will learn the origin of the Pow Wow and the significance of various dance and regalia styles. The workshop will be at the Visitor Centre Orientation Theatre – 10:45 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. 

Na-Me-Res Annual Traditional Pow Wow 
Every year, thousands of people attend the celebration to enjoy traditional food and watch more than 100 drummers and dancers from across the province perform. 12 p.m. – Grand Entry.

Performances on the Tim Hortons Festival Stage will include:
– Amanda Rheaume, Singer/songwriter 
– Jah’kota, Rap/Hip Hop performer 
– Midnight Shine, Northern rock band 

On June 23, The Indigenous Arts Festival Market Day will take place with more than 30 Indigenous vendors showcasing authentic Indigenous artistry including jewellery, clothing, leather goods, beadwork and more. 

Social media updates can be found on at, and The event hashtag is #IAF2019.


“The Indigenous Arts Festival provides an opportunity to recognize the historic and present-day contributions of Indigenous peoples. I encourage all residents to join in the celebrations at Fort York National Historic Site.” 
– Mayor John Tory

“The festival highlights the diverse talent in Toronto’s Indigenous communities and gives visitors an insightful look into the Indigenous perspective and experience. I am sure Torontonians will enjoy the extensive mix of performances and events scheduled for the weekend.” 
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Councillor for Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

“The Indigenous Arts Festival is a powerful celebration of Indigenous people and culture. Being a welcoming place that celebrates diversity is at the heart of our culture at Tim Hortons – one that we live each and every day. As a presenting sponsor, Tim Hortons is proud to play a part in bringing this important celebration of Indigenous culture to Torontonians.”
– Mike Hancock, Chief Operating Officer, Tim Hortons

“Art is a universal language that brings people together bridging the gaps, connecting people on an emotional and spiritual level and transcends boundaries of culture and language.”
– Kim Wheatley, Artistic Curator, The Indigenous Arts Festival 

“The City of Toronto’s Indigenous Affairs Office is excited to support The Indigenous Arts Festival in celebrating vibrant and diverse Indigenous communities in and around Toronto.” 
– Selina Young, Manager, Indigenous Affairs Office, City of Toronto

“The Mississaugas are proud to work with our partners on bringing you this festival not only for the joy and entertainment it brings. I personally believe the arts have a far greater purpose. It will not be the politicians or warriors who decide the fate of this world – it will be the singers, the dancers, the musicians. The arts bridge gaps in communication, allow for a deeper connection and understanding. The arts are not simply beautiful and entertaining they are the ultimate in communication.”
– Chief Stacey Laforme, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation 

Fort York National Historic Site is one of 10 Toronto History Museums operated by the City. Since 1793, Fort York has been an important military location and is where Toronto was founded as an urban place. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, this 43-acre site is home to Canada’s largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. Fort York offers permanent and temporary exhibits, ongoing programming and events, site tours and more. More information is available at

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.9 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at or on Facebook at

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