Errol "C'-Weed" Ranville
With almost four decades of music under his belt, including 19 albums and counting, Errol "C-Weed" Ranville has been a stalwart figure in Canada's country music scene. After spending the 70's perfecting his craft in small clubs, Ranville slid onto the nation's music scene in 1980 with his cover of The Band's "Evangeline." The song would hit number one on the Canadian Music Charts, and Ranville and his ever-evolving C-Weed Band have shown no signs of slowing since.
A string of albums in the 80's, highlighted by tracks like "Bringing Home the Good Times" and Magic in the Music" would lead to back-to-back Juno nods for Country Group of the Year and several Manitoba Country Music Awards. But Ranville has never really played for the accolades. C-Weed's brand of country music has always been flush with honesty, with lyrics indicative of his proud Aboriginal heritage.
On occasion, he'll share the stage with the young Ali Fontaine, who bright career Ranville has helped showcased, including co-producing her award-winning album alongside the multi-talented Marc Arnould. It has always been Ranville's mission to bring Aboriginal music to the mainstream, and today that future looks brighter than ever.
Sakoieta Wakathahionni originally comes from the Adirondack Mountains of Upper State, New York, but currently resides at Six Nations of the Grand River Iroquois Territory in Ontario with his partner D. "Tewentahawitha" Antone, Oneida Natoin of the Thames, Turtle Clan. He is of Mohawk ancestry and his clan is Okwaho (Wolf).
Wakathahionni is a singer, dancer, educator, craftsperson, teacher of Onkwehonwe culture, language, protocols and customs and a member of the Kanienkehá:ka Kanónh:ses Mohawk Longhouse at Six Nations Reserve.
Wakathahionni's work has taken him across the United States and Canada and is focused on living and teaching a lifestyle that is drug, alcohol, substance and gambling free. He is devoted to family life, the pursuit of peace and recognizing the strength of prayer. Wakathahionni follows the traditional Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) lifestyle. He is an artist, craft worker, ritualist, singer, dancer, flutist, educator, healer, counsellor, active gardener and recognized writer.
Linda St. Cyr-Saric
Linda St. Cyr-Saric is a proud Métis woman, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She lives in Stonewall with her husband Vinko Saric.
St. Cyr-Saric is a retired school teacher. She received her Bachelor of Teaching degree from Brandon University and held a teaching position with the Interlake School division for several years. She then received her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba and was hired by the Winnipeg School Division to teach at R.B. Russell Vocational High School. She taught there for 18 years and during that time was involved in many Indigenous activities. St. Cyr-Saric was one of the key organizers of the Gathering of Generations for example, with the focus being on the history and culture of the Métis nation.
St. Cyr-Saric is also a member of the St. Norbert Parish-La Barriere Métis Council, and served two terms as their Chair. She is now the Elder for the council. She also participated in the Manitoba Metis Federation Elders Gathering last summer at Grant's Old Mill in Winnipeg.
On top of her teaching experience, St. Cyr-Saric is currently a marriage commissioner with the Province of Manitoba. She has officiated many marriages including her granddaughter's five years ago.
Alo White lives on Naotkamegwanning First Nation in Treaty 3 territory. He's been a singer since age six and is one of the original Whitefish Bay Singers. He is also a sixth doorway Midewin and Lynx is his clan. Additionally, he is the head conductor of the Lake of the Woods Midewin.
White lives in his ancestral homeland of "Ki'Eskitabanning" with his beautiful wife and partner Carla. Together, they operate a guide service on Lake of the Woods. White also owns a recording studio and has recorded and produced 12 Elder CD's from Treaty 3. He also conducts workshops in traditional hand drum making, and has been teaching people how to sing since 1980. Additionally, he facilitates traditional medicine and healing workshops.
Jason Lepine is a Manitoba Métis fiddling champion and recording artist originally from Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, who now resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Lepine started playing fiddle at age seven, and was influenced by his dad, Garry Lepine, who is also Métis, and is a member of the Manitoba Fiddle Association Hall of Fame.
Lepine has two recordings out. The most recent, called "Drivin' Force," won "Best Fiddle CD Album of the Year" in 2014 at The Aboriginal People's Choice Music Awards in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has played for numerous Métis and Aboriginal functions, and has also performed and headlined many different festivals and special events, such as Back to Batoche Days in Saskatchewan, Keplin Fest in North Dakota and the International Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton. Additionally, Lepine has opened up for great performers such as Natalie McMaster, Leahy, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Michelle Wright and Patricia Conroy.
Whether it's on jazz piano, drums with a big band, country lead guitar, bluegrass mandolin or accordion, Jeremy Rusu is right at home on a stage as long as he's making music. Blind since birth, Rusu's entire life has revolved around music. He is in great demand in several bands around Winnipeg and is also busy working as a studio musician. Most recently, he debuted his first solo recording, titled "The Accordion Album."
As a child, Hall lived in Brandon and would get up and get ready for school, but would not leave until making breakfast for his grandmother. He started Sundance when he was around 11 years old with his grandfather and father guiding him both in the teachings of Sundance and Sweat lodge ceremonies and their protocols where he facilitates both ceremonies to this day.
Hall has been a mentor to others who walk in the Daokta ways and helps others out in the Sweat lodge and other ceremonies, and others Sundances as well. Hall has volunteered his services to many organizations. He is a counsellor for Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, Manitoba and has assisted the community in gaining self-governance. He also does presentations on culture and spirituality on request and has done so for many other organizations and community groups.
Nikki Komaksiutiksak is an Inuit woman from Chesterfield, Nunavut. She is now a mother of four and currently works for the Department of Manitoba Justice. Komaksiutiksak is an active member of the Inuit community in Winnipeg, and uses her knowledge and understanding of the south to assist other Inuit moving to the big city.
Komaksiutiksak is an inspiration to the young and old everywhere, and truly demonstrates a passion for her cultural identity. She is an experienced throat singer, teacher of Inuit history and culture and a heartfelt musical performer. Komaksiutiksak has participated in a number of international events, representing Manitoba and Inuit at such prestigious venues as the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Summer Games and more current, the 2015 Indigenous Music Awards in Winnipeg. She has recorded music with local Canadian talent, including such names as The Weakerthans, Demetra Penner and Moses Mayes.
Komaksiutiksak has been featured in many events around the world, always sharing her identity and teaching about her Canadian Inuit culture. She is often asked to attend universities and schools throughout Manitoba to teach and showcase Inuit culture to both students and staff. The Inuit of Canada are an integral part of Canadian history and culture, but sadly are often excluded, overlooked and forgotten. Komaksiutiksak truly believes that it is critical that Inuit culture is remembered, recognized and celebrated throughout all of Canada.
Marilyn Dumont grew up in logging camps in the foothills of Alberta. She is the youngest of nine children to Métis parents Mary Vaness and Ambrose Dumont, both Cree-speaking Métis from Onion Lake, Saskatchewan and Kikino Métis Settlement, Alberta. She is an Indigenous feminist who believes in Indigenous sovereignty and the need for Indigenous peoples to gather and support one another in the relearning of their languages. She celebrates and promotes Indigenous women's artistic expression and has published four collections of poetry, all of which have won awards provincially or nationally, and one, A Really Good Brown Girl, is in its 15th printing.
Dumont has been writer-in-residence at five universities (Alberta, Windsor, Toronto -- Massey College, Brandon, MacEwan) and at the Edmonton Public Library. She served as a board member for the Public Lending Rights Commission for eight years and has a MFA in creative writing from UBC. She has worked in Indigenous student services, filmmaking and is presently an Associate Professor in English/Film Studies & the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.
Dumont's visit a special partnership event with the University of Manitoba Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering, Prairie Fire Magazine and the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Cultures at the University of Manitoba.
Sheldon & Angie Cote
Sheldon & Angie Cote are Sundance leaders in Fisher River First Nation. They do many ceremonies together, including naming and healing ceremonies, and workshops on the Seven Sacred Ways of Healing.
Angie Cote is a certified professional trainer and cultural worker for University College of the North. She has a Bachelors Degree and an Aboriginal Community Development Certificate. She has been employed as a coordinator both on and off reserve in social settings and has various Aboriginal cultural trainings. Angie also conducts Full Moon Ceremonies for women.
Sheldon Cote is an Elder, a Knowledge Keeper and a spiritual teacher. He is a helper in many ceremonies, and travels to various communities to facilitate healing ceremonies. He is a musician and tells stories with guitars and songs.