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8th Annual New Sun Conference on Aboriginal Arts:
 Inspiring Resilience
Carleton University, February 28, 2009


The theme of the 8th Annual New Sun Conference, Inspiring Resilience, is informed by the comments and feedback of previous conference participants, who frequently describe both presenters and presentations as “inspiring.” It is an apt description. The creative cultural spirit that infuses the work of contemporary Aboriginal artists is inspiring in several ways: on the most basic level, it affirms the power of the arts to touch  us deeply, articulating the human experience in the most profound and joyful ways. Inspiring too are the diverse personal narratives of challenge and discovery, of struggle and achievement that command our admiration and respect. There is also inspiration in the celebration of Aboriginal voices – from seasoned elders to activist youth, in formats ranging from traditional teachings to novels and popular song. There is no shortage of role models in the Aboriginal community; moreover, the influence of such role models extends far beyond its borders. In the end, it is the resilience of Aboriginal culture itself that is inspiring, though not entirely surprising. In a well known and widespread trickster tale, Coyote (or Nanabush), refuses to be killed or contained, repeatedly springing back to life with increased determination, and creative drive. It is this creative cultural rejuvenation that we are here today to once again affirm and share.

All my relations.

Allan J. Ryan




Writer Joseph Boyden (2006), whose book Through Black Spruce won the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Best Canadian Novel.

Ottawa sculptor Ron Noganosh (2005), awarded the 2008 prize for individual artist, in the annual Ontario Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

Photographer Jeff Thomas (2002), recipient of the 2008 Karsh Award for outstanding work in a photo-based medium. It is presented every two years by the City of Ottawa.

Film maker Tracey Deer (2008), whose film, Club Native won the 2008 Kodak-Vision Globe Award for Best Canadian Film at the First People’s Festival (Land Insights), Montreal; and the 2008 Collin Low Award for Best Canadian Documentary at DOXA, Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver.

Actor/choreographer Michael Greyeyes, whose film, Triptych, was nominated for a 2008 Gemini Award for Best Direction in a Performing Arts Program or Series.

Dancer/choreographer, Santee Smith (2008), nominated for a 2008 Gemini Award for Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program or Series, for Here on Earth.


A presentation of the New Sun Chair in Aboriginal Art and Culture
with the support of the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences and the New Sun Fund
administered by the Community Foundation of Ottawa .