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View Points Pulls Together Aboriginal Artists to Take Aim at Indigenous Stereotypes
More Than Bows and Arrows - November 12, 2008 at Harbourfront Centre

The View Points discussion series event More Than Bows and Arrows explores historical Indigenous misconceptions and stereotypes through Aboriginal artist responses to these false identities. Panelists include internationally known musician and event producer John Kim Bell, who established the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and National Aboriginal Achievement Awards; Kent Monkman, whose paintings, film/videos and performances bend both sexual and historical perceptions and are currently touring in a large solo show to galleries across the nation and Marc Nadjiwan; whose four albums with the group Nadjiwan have resulted in touring and critical acclaim across the U.S. and Canada and nominations for Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and Native American Music Awards. Additional panelists include Gemini and Dora Award winning dancer/choreographer Santee Smith and accomplished theatre and film actor Falen Johnson. This View Points discussion is moderated by Toronto curator/producer Kerry Swanson (imagineNATIVE Film Media Arts Festival, LIFT).

For decades many historians and non-Indigenous artists have portrayed Indigenous people as the noble primitive wearing feathers and beads while carrying bows and arrows. These misrepresentations have encouraged the stereotypes placed on the First Peoples in this country. Over the years, many Indigenous artists have tried to break down these stereotypes as part of exploring what it means to be Indigenous. More Than Bows and Arrows (a prelude event to the 2009 Planet IndigenUs festival) takes place at Harbourfront Centre on Wednesday November 12 at 7 p.m. ($5 at the door, tickets also available in advance online).

View Points is a contemporary culture discussion series focusing on cultural issues and local, national and international current affairs. For public information call 416-973-4000 or visit Harbourfront Centre is located 235 Queen's Quay West, Toronto, Ontario.

Planet IndigenUs is a free 10-day, international arts festival from August 14 to 23, 2009 at Harbourfront Centre, the Woodland Cultural Centre and at respected Arts organizations throughout the city. It is co-produced by Brantford's Woodland Cultural Centre and Harbourfront Centre. This multi-disciplinary festival will present Canadian professional Aboriginal artists in an international context.and in 2009 will present two weekends of music, dance, visual art, craft design, theatre, literary art, performance art, film and an international Indigenous art and food market. Weekday activities will include artistic residencies, master classes, workshops and screenings, literary readings, receptions, panel discussions and debates. For more information visit

View Points' Biographies:

John Kim Bell has been making music and history since he was a child. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada. Born on the Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve in Quebec, Bell was conducting broadway musicals for such luminaries as Gene Kelly and Vincent Price in New York City at the young age of 18. He was the first Aboriginal person to ever conduct a symphony orchestra (the Toronto Symphony) and also served as Apprentice Conductor to Zubin Mehta at the New York Philharmonic where he met and studied with the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein. Impassioned by the deplorable living conditions in reserves, Mr. Bell built the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and established the nationally televised National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. Now in its 21st year, the Foundation has awarded more than $20 million in scholarships to students. For more information visit

Falen Johnson is a Mohawk from Six Nations Reserve. She is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School and has been involved with many festivals in Toronto including Nightwood Theatre's Groundswell Festival, Factory Theatre's CrossCurrents, and Native Earth Performing Arts' Weesageechak Begins To Dance. Falen can be seen in the short film 133 Skyway and last spring was seen in The Place Between, a co-production between Cheyikwe Performance and Native Earth Performing Arts. She has recently had the pleasure of joining Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble as Associate Artist.

Kent Monkman is an artist of Cree ancestry who works with a variety of mediums like painting, film/video, performance and installation. A solo exhibition of his work was mounted by the Art Gallery of Hamilton in 2007 and is now touring museums across Canada including the Art Gallery of Victoria, Toronto's Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. He has participated in various international group exhibitions and his award-winning short film and video works have been screened at international festivals including Sundance, Berlin, and the Toronto International Film Festival. His work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Museum London, The Mackenzie Art Gallery, the Woodland Cultural Centre, the Indian Art Centre, and the Canada Council Art Bank. For more information visit:

Marc Nadjiwan was born in northern Manitoba, raised in Northwestern Ontario and now lives in Toronto. After graduating from the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College he created the group Nadjiwan to reflect his collaborations with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists. The first Nadjiwan 1995 release Brother achieved success in Canada and the U.S. and was nominated for a Native American Music Award for Best Pop/Rock Album when it was re-released. In 2000, Marc released Awake, featuring guest musicians such as Andy Stochansky. The album was nominated for a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award and a Native American Music Award. In 2005, Marc released Begin which resulted in a Best Male Artist nomination from the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. His latest release Philosophy For The Masses features Juno award winner Donné Roberts and George Koller. For more information visit

Santee Smith is from the Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan and lives on the Six Nations Reserve. She is the founding Artistic Director and choreographer for Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. She attended the National Ballet School for six years and holds a Masters Degree in Dance from York University. From 1996 she began creating her own choreography and developing a style that reflects who she is as an Indigenous artist. This has resulted in her productions being performed nationally and internationally and being acknowledged with Gemini and Dora Awards. For more information visit:

Kerry Swanson has been with the imagineNATIVE Film Media Arts Festival in Toronto since 2004, where she has worked in many capacities including Executive Director and a member of the programming team. Last year, she co-curated (with Candice Hopkins) the group exhibition Shapeshifters, Time Travellers and Storytellers at the Royal Ontario Museum’s Institute for Contemporary Culture. She sat on the Board of Directors of the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) from 2005-07 and has sat on a number of juries that include the 2007 Gemini Awards and the 2008 Worldwide Short Film Festival. She is currently completing a Masters in Communication and Culture at Ryerson University. Kerry is a member of the Michipicoten First Nation in northern Ontario

Media Contact: Shane Gerard (416-973-4518 or
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