Teachings at this year’s Celebration of Nations to focus on the importance of water

FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre press release – With thoughts about the powerful life-giving quality and energy of water, and the need to practice responsible stewardship of the region’s environment, Celebration of Nations presents a series of teachings to illuminate the Mighty Niagara and the Great Lakes Watershed.

Many of this year’s virtual programs focus on this theme through music, dance, poetry, song lyrics, seminars and symposia, and a variety of interactive sessions between September 11 – 13, 2020.

“We’re beyond excited to be able to present this level of expert instruction and guidance in our intellectually-based teaching programs,” said Artistic Producer Tim Johnson.” This is made possible only due to the eager and generous contributions of our allies and partners who share our values and who seek to preserve the water systems that support and sustain biological diversity in the region.”

This year’s gathering welcomes Mother of Nations, the esteemed Mohawk Elder and Midwife Katsi Cook.

As co-founder of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives and a community health researcher, she will share teachings from an Indigenous perspective that the mother’s womb is the First Environment. Katsi will situate women in environments of meaning, where concepts of reproduction of body, culture, and ecosystem health intersect.

Her presentation on Saturday, September 12, 2020, at 2 p.m. will deliver essential insights and information.

On Saturday at 3 p.m., Archaeologists Rob MacDonald and Martin Cooper draw upon repositories of evidence to locate and map Indigenous settlement sites along with the network of tributaries and bodies of water that constitute the Niagara region’s watershed.

The locations of settlements and the tools and technology that make up the archaeological record demonstrate superb adaptation to an environment that changed significantly and continually for thousands of years.

Stepping up to highlight environmental stewardship, two-valued Celebration of Nations partners, the Niagara Parks Commission and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority present a program on Environmental and Cultural Stewardship on Sunday, September 13, at 2 p.m.

This highly visual presentation will provide attendees with a stunning view of the ecosystems, events, and circumstances that have led these agencies to establish priorities for effective stewardship.

A panel of experts including Steve Barnhart, Natalie Green, Kim Viney, Travis Hill, Ellen Savoia, and Corey Burant will provide a range of knowledge and experiences while reviewing several projects that include Indigenous connections through the Landscape of Nations Commemorative Memorial, the pollinator corridor, shoreline habitat program, and heritage sites to illustrate how the Niagara Parks Commission and its partners deliver on this mandate.

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority will also host a virtual Pollinator Garden Workshop on Saturday, September 12, at 10:30 a.m.

In our returning Her Moccasins Talk Speaker Series, a panel of prominent women will discuss The State of Our Waters on Sunday, September 13, at 4 p.m. Grandmother Renee will guide panelists Christi Belcourt, Nancy Rowe, Santee Smith and Angela DeMontigny in a discussion about the health and well-being of our waters.

Topics of concern will focus on environmental challenges, including climate change and species extinction. The panel, composed of strong, inspirational, and visionary women will share traditional insights of the relationships and bonds humans have with the living earth and the inescapable consequences of natural law.

“When we engaged the truth and reconciliation process, we endeavored to bridge the cultural divide and bring Niagara citizens together in dialogue and mutual understanding,” said Artistic Director Michele-Elise Burnett. “For several years now, Her Moccasins Talk Speaker Series has facilitated enlightening conversations that have illuminated numerous aspects of the Indigenous experience for a broad audience. And this year’s session on the health and well-being of our waters continues that tradition.”

Celebration of Nations 2020 will provide a rewarding experience designed to connect us more deeply with the Niagara region, a peninsula bordered by the waters of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and Lake Ontario.

For the full program and to watch the livestreams, please visit: www.celebrationofnations.ca/

All livestreams are FREE to watch on our websiteFacebook or YouTube – no registration necessary. All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST).