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2nd Annual New Sun Conference on Aboriginal Arts:
Reflections and New Directions
Carleton University, March 1, 2003

F e e d b a c k

Booshoo Allan, Thanks again for inviting me to take part in the New Sun Symposium. The event I believe was a great success. It brought together so many perspectives and provided an excellent forum for students and attendees to ask questions. It never fails to fascinate me that in spite of all our different backgrounds as Aboriginal people, we all have this sense of connection and community. Forums like the New Sun Symposium provide the "kindling to the fire," meaning, as Aboriginal people we can come together and share with others.
 
I also returned to Manitoba with an understanding that "The Winnipeg Aboriginal Writers Collective" is a creative gem in terms of the group existing and the quality of work we produce. I also made connections with people who were seeking advice on how to start an Aboriginal writers group in Ottawa. The REVOLUTION now begins!
 
I would like to also note my respect for you Allan...your drive, curiosity and dedication to the Aboriginal arts community has always been a source of inspiration. Your work brings an understanding of Aboriginal people to the mainstream that might not otherwise exist. Again, thank-you for the invitation.
In the Spirit of Communication,
David McLeod

Native Communications Inc. (NCI), Winnipeg

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for having me speak at the New Sun Symposium this year, it was a pleasure and an honour. I would also like to mention that I found the symposium very well organized, well paced and seamless. The presenters were amazing and there was a great turnout. I think what you have done is truely incredible and I look forward to participating in the future. I have received positive feedback regarding my presentation and I am in touch with a number of the participants via email, so it is safe to say that the symposium has affected peoples lives and has given some a renewed sense of self and future. I really had a great time and hope that next year you might consider bringing me back! If I can be of any assistance in the future please feel free to give me a call anytime. Once again, thank you for giving us all something to remember! In Peace,
Jennifer Podemski
Partner/Executive Producer, Big Soul Productions

 

The New Sun Symposium was a very uplifting experience. It was entertaining and educational, filled with open-minded and open-hearted participants all interested in the healing powers the arts have to contribute to the aboriginal community. Allan Ryan and the New Sun Committee have outdone themselves and I sincerely hope this kind of symposium and gathering of people will continue to exist. Not only for the benefit of healing in the aboriginal community but to also encourage people to participate in their own healing arts and practices.  Thank you for everything, this was truly a wonderful experience. I wish you and your family all the best. Gitchie Cheechoo (aka SYLABIX)

 

Thanks for a very enjoyable and well organized day! It was great to meet everyone, some for the first time but definitely not the last. I look forward to seeing everyone again. Best, and thanks for your inspiration! More, more, more!
Greg Hill
Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada

 

I really enjoyed the symposium Allan, thanks again.  I would just like some feedback on our presentation please.  If there is anyone interested in contacting me please forward my address. Thanks again,
Dan Clark
(Participant & subject of the film, ‘Almost Home: a Sayisi Dene Journey’)

 

I found that the Symposium was exceedingly well-planned and orchestrated and that you deserve much credit for co-ordinating it in such a successful way. Having worked on similar endeavours over the past few years, I am very much aware of how much work is involved in preparing for it and in seeing it to a successful conclusion. From all of the comments I heard that day, everyone was enjoying the experience and there was a great deal of personal interaction between the speakers and the audience (both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) at lunch and between the sessions which is very useful. I made a number of important contacts for myself during the event, notably with Jennifer Podemski and David McLeod whom I had not met before, which will have positive results over the next few years. It was great to see Joane Cardinal-Schubert once again and I very much enjoyed her performance. McLeod, Podemski and Cardinal-Schubert were my personal favourites but that reflects my interests and is certainly not a slight on the others who participated. I particularly enjoyed the theme of Aboriginal Healing and the Arts and the Seventh Sense which the participants brought to the Symposium in a highly diverse and extremely humorous fashion.
The food at lunch was great! I hope that you will be able to put on another such event next year. You are an imprezario extraordinaire! Chi Meegwetch,
David T. McNab
Hudson’s Bay Company Visiting Professor, School of Canadian Studies, Carleton University

 

Just a few words to say how much I enjoyed and learned from the Symposium on March 1. I found my eyes being opened by the presentations. The issues related to healing, to coping with the complex personal and communal challenges of integrating a difficult past into coherent and endurable visions for the future, touched me in ways I would never have expected. Particularly moving for me was the presentation by Sheila Petzold and Dan Clark about the difficulties of "going home." It has made me reflect on how difficult it is for so many of us in Canada to feel "at home," and to acknowledge how much our parents were compelled to make difficult choices. The wealth of information about experiments in writing, in the visual media, and in music was also a revelation. I had been aware of the need for a revision of the history of the visual arts in Canada as displayed in the National Gallery, and will be following the developments indicated by Greg Hill with closer interest. Joane Cardinal-Schubert's talk was a delight. Congratulations on a very successful symposium. The hard work and dedication of everyone involved in broadening our horizons deserve the thanks of the entire community. Arnd Bohm
Department of English, Carleton University

 

This note is to thank you for the 2nd Annual New Sun Symposium. I enjoyed the day, hearing from each of the presenters. I took with me many words, ideas and experiences. I was very inspired by the youth for their voices of commitment to their art, to their families and communities, and for their promises of other possibilities. I would like to comment on the spirit of generosity that was shared by all of the artists. I would like to specially note Dave McLeod who took the opportunity to share his stage with his fellow writers. I was so touched not only by this gesture but also by the emotions that he evoked with his poetry. It was wonderful to experience the trickster in some of the art that was presented. The presentation by Greg Hill was refreshing and as one member of the audience voiced, it was lots of fun. Jennifer Podemski's story and messages were inspiring. The singers, Chris Creealias Sutherland and Gitchie Cheechoo's music was a nice surprise. Joane Cardinal-Shubert's voice from a woman's experieces and thoughts will be a source of reflection. I enjoyed her presentation of herself in her work... her inspirations... her connections! At the end of a full day we were left with much to ponder with the story of the Sayisi Dene, Dan Clark and Sheila Petzold. I look forward to the film in the fall. I know it is important to the community that their story is heard... as they wanted this film produced! Gchi miigwech!
LG

 

I wanted to let you know how much we all enjoyed the day -- I thought that the variety of speakers as well as the themes were relevant and very interesting. If you hear more about when David McLeod is releasing his CD, please let us know. Also, I'm looking forward to the program about the Dene on the "Nature of Things." Please register us for next year. Many thanks,
Beth Hughes
Centre for Initiatives in Education, Carleton University

 

I enjoyed the morning session. Jennifer Podemski was a strong, passionate, and thoughtful speaker. Unfortunately, I had to leave as I was preparing to go to Toronto. You deserve great credit for a most interesting and well organized event. Regards,
Lin Moody
Media Relations, Carleton University

 

I was unable to attend the morning sessions so arrived at lunch (which was excellent!) and attended two of the afternoon sessions (which were also excellent!) I very much enjoyed hearing the music combining hip hop and pow-wow - wonderful. I enjoyed the events I attended as well as seeing such a diverse group of people getting together to celebrate Aboriginal culture.  I thought it was a lovely day - congratulations on the success of this initiative. Thanks again,
CM

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the symposium, especially the Powwow singers. The meal was impressive considering Carleton took care of it. Jennifer Podemski had an amazing message and so did Mr. McLeod. Overall it was great. In terms of additions for following years, dancers would be nice and perhaps a focus for those interested in learning about the culture. CR

 

I enjoyed the symposium enormously - thank you so much for bringing such exciting/innovative artists to Carleton.  I can't stop talking about them to my friends/colleagues here at Trent. Thanks again,
MB

 

Congratulations on a well organized and exciting symposium! I thoroughly enjoyed hearing all of the engaging and interesting morning speakers. Your selection of artists/speakers working in a range of genres -- writer, filmmaker, actor, visual artist -- combined with the visual and audio materials they used in their presentations made for an inspiring day. I was particularly impressed by the friendly atmosphere at the symposium; it facilitated people's ability to network with people both locally and working across the country. Many thanks for an excellent event.  I look forward to the New Sun Symposium 2004! Virginia Caputo
Pauline Jewett Institute of Women's Studies, Carleton University

 

I've been meaning to thank you for organizing this excellent symposium since Saturday so please excuse my lateness. It was a wonderful day, and surpassed my expectations which were quite high already, based on glowing reports from last year's event. As a non-Native person I felt very comfortable, although it was also a good experience to be a member of a visible minority in Canada. Or I should say Kanata. I loved the use of humour and creativity that was demonstrated by so many wonderful artists with such dignity and positive energies as well. I believe that once one's basic needs are met that it is possible to be happy if we have creative outlets and a sense of real social connection and also with the natural world. So I look to the First Nations peoples of the world to teach us how, and this symposium inspired hope that all three are possible. Thank you,
PL

 

It was absolutely wonderful!! I have been meaning to write to tell you so. Thanks so much. It was fabulous and I can't wait until next year! JG

 

Thanks for another terrific intercultural learning opportunity through the New Sun Symposium. Please ensure my name and email address are on your invitation list for next year. Thanks again,
DC

 

Fantastic speakers - just a great day on Saturday, Allan - thank you! Best,
JY

 

I really enjoyed the afternoon. The Aboriginal rap singers were a very interesting addition, putting the traditional and the new together. Can you let us know the name of the CD they have produced? Joane Cardinal-Schubert was very entertaining, although it was difficult to get an appreciation of her work from the slides. The extracts from the film that Sheila is making were impressive, a valuable contribution to the day. Allan Moscovitch
Professor, School of Social Work, Carleton University

 

Well organized, varied and interesting. Attending the afternoon session I was particularly interested in the film maker Sheila Petzold. A well crafted 'rough cut' of her new film. Dan Clark added a personal element to the talk. Hip-hop/Powwow musical duo was enormously entertaining.  Kudos to you Allan for a successful day. Mike Jackson
Instructional Media Services, Carleton University

 

Thanks for connecting re my reactions to the second New Sun Symposium.  I loved it for the honesty of the presenters and the wealth of discussion about  'creative action' as it relates to 'the people' - as opposed to art history. Well, you know my interests in the role of arts in [a healthy] society, and my penchant for searching across disciplines and methods of knowledge formation in order to more clearly, and carefully, unleash my own creative energy ... so the New Sun symposium was a total gift, which I have already talked about to a number of creators and educators. I was extremely thankful for the way your approach encompassed such a variety of creative forms and styles of delivery and sharing. The personal story as it relates to the larger scheme, the disdain for some of the established "industry" and the faith in attempting to rework it, as well as the eye to unfolding a deep blanket of care were all rich conversations that I feel honoured to have heard. It truly saddened me that more people from the local contemporary visual arts scene did not attend, for I do believe there was a special quality revealed as to the healing capacity of artistic action that could have been most enlightening for many artists working today. You must know too that the concept of healing [at least when spoken audibly] is a seemingly taboo subject in the contemporary arts world ... While I do have some thoughts in this area, not being a specialist, I won't continue in this direction right now. I just hope you keep doing what you are doing.

So, Allan, thank you for the time and work to make the symposium happen. Please keep me in the loop. It has been great to meet you. Good luck with your work.
cj in deep white Wakefield

 

Great job, Allan! On the strength of your enthusiasm, four of my students, or 25% of my journalism class, chose your symposium as their reporter's choice story. They all said that they gained some powerful insights into aboriginal realities and values. Thanks for assisting their growth! Cheers,
John Medicine Horse Kelly
School of Journalism/Centre for Aboriginal Education, Research and Culture
Carleton University

 

The Symposium was a great success and I cannot wait for the next one. I was impressed by Greg Hill's presentation and the sense of humour he brought to the crowd. The humour that is so prevalent in Aboriginal culture and tradition was clearly displayed by Greg. He has a way of drawing the listeners to the bigger issue through the common theme of humour that we all possess, but never losing sight of the important topic he is attempting to teach us. My grandfather has often taught me that humour is a powerful tool, it can help bring people together to discuss and find solutions to difficult and sensitive issues in a way that is not threatening to both parties involved. I am willing to forward my resume to Greg for future employment at the Kanatian Embassy in the Philippines... In addition, the Hip Hop/Pow Wow musical duo was outstanding. They are hip, fresh, loud, poetic and real. They bring so much talent to the table...they are paving the way for a whole new breed of Aboriginal "story tellers". See you soon,
Paul Lorilla
Policy and Research Analyst

Aboriginal Affairs Branch, Canadian Heritage Department

 

As to be expected from last year's very successful inaugural, this year's symposium was stimulating in its varied presentations of Canada's Aboriginal scene. While all the presentations had their merits, I found Jennifer Podemski's to be a highlight, expressing, as it did so well, the importance of television and radio in getting across the importance of the Aboriginal factor for Canada today. In combining this with observations on the practicalities of working in Aboriginal broadcasting, her message hit home on two levels. On the lighter side, Greg Hill's take-off on Aboriginality illustrated the role of humor in inter-racial relations. That was a point that you made so well in your book, "The Trickster Shift". All in all, it was a most successful day. On a personal note, I enjoyed making contact with Joane Cardinal-Schubert again, whom I knew back in my Edmonton days. As she demonstrated in her presentation, Aboriginal visual arts are in full vigor. I look forward to next year's event. With the very best of wishes,
Olive Dickason
Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta
Adjunct Professor of History, University of Ottawa

 

It was fun helping out. While I was at the registration table in the morning, Jennifer Podemski came up and asked me for directions - was I thrilled! Her presentation actually interested me the most. However, David McLeod's performance was equally fascinating. His poem on the theme "Can't Wait to Get My Cheque" seemed so poignantly realistic. He made me wish I belonged to a writer's group. In fact, all the presentations were inspiring. Although the hip-hop group was a bit disorganized, they were making history before our eyes. I was in the lobby after their presentation and saw that they all posed for a photo together - that will remind them of a memorable moment a few years hence. An interesting detail: watching the photo session with obvious admiration were a few wives with babes-in-arms. Yikes - in a few years, they'll be learning the same genre - pow-wow and hip-hop - from their dads, who seem so young themselves. Over the tasty lunch I met some grad students and enjoyed the chat.  What Joane Cardinal-Schubert said about genetic memory struck me as innovative and intriguing. I sometimes wonder if my interest in Aboriginal issues has anything to do with the fact that some Miami blood runs in my veins. Congratulations on a successful second New Sun Symposium. HM

 

I was impressed by the attendance and enthusiasm of the presenters and the audience. It is an invaluable opportunity to share experiences and learn about aboriginal arts and healing. It was also good to get a broader perspective on aboriginal arts beyond the Ontario experience. Personally I was able to make quite a few contacts that will help me in my own research. I would like to thank you for all your work and effort that you put into the organization of this conference. Ute Lischke
Department of Languages and Literatures, Wilfrid Laurier University

 

It was another wonderful event with thoughtful, down to earth and insightful presenters. Greg Hill was superb! The dry, subtle humour mixed with the various media were key to spreading his message. He is very talented and very normal (human); this is important when teaching people. When someone communicates themself as they are, not false, the message is softened and all the more powerful because it is not viewed as threatening. Same with Jennifer Podemski. She was an inspiration - not only for Aboriginal women/people but for all people in general. Where there is a will, there is a way and she exemplified this. I enjoyed her very much. It was very well organized from the signs indicating the symposium (all over, very nice), to the reception table, to the large venue, to the lunch.  MMMM good! This is something that I think is beneficial for all involved in order to spread awareness and create interest in Aboriginal culture. Hats off to you and your helpers! Keep it up. JS

 

This year was as enlightening as last year. I made a very good contact with Greg Hill for my First Year Seminar next year. I come for professional reasons - I continue to teach in First Nations communities and like to be aware of what's going on. But I also came again this year for personal reasons. I start to feel winter dragging on in late February, early March, and found the symposium a breath of fresh air. A harbinger of spring. You seem to showcase the positive aspects of communities rather than just dwelling on everything that's gone wrong. I really appreciate seeing how people are transforming things in Native communities, improving life for all of us. As usual, there was humour, irony, and I particularly liked the youth input this year. Thanks for bringing us together, Allan. Take care,
Fran Cherry
Department of Psychology, Carleton University

 

First of all, I enjoyed the event. Good presentations, good food, and good opportunity to meet with people during lunch. I must admit when I saw the agenda, I was reluctant to sit through some parts but had to in order to hear the ones I wanted to hear and then I figured I could skip out before the last presentation. However as it turned out I stayed for the whole event. I was pleasantly surprised by the hip hop/pow wow artists. They bring great messages to the youth and they come from the community which is where we want to reach many of the youth. (I work for Health Canada First Nations and Inuit Health Branch).  I took messages from each of the presenters for myself. MT

 

I thought the symposium was a success overall; of course I had my favourites. I liked David McLeod the best mainly because his kind of writing benefits so much from oral presentation, and he did that very well. I did like Greg Hill's presentation, although he paced it a bit slowly. But it injected a welcome humour into the events. The Cree singers were good; I wanted to hear something about the call and response structure of the singing and drumming they did at lunch. However, there was a good question from the audience regarding the group serving as a role model for young people that was very pertinent and I was glad to hear that they had worked with youth. Sheila Petzold and Dan Clark did well (he was a bit shy but I had the chance to talk to him over lunch and learned more than he said before all of us). She approached the material sensitively, I thought, and although the film clips were not of high quality technically, the subject was moving.  I learned quite a bit, since the presenters went well beyond the visual arts field I am more familiar with. Congratulations for your vision and energy in putting it together! Oh, I forgot: the food was excellent, everyone remarked on it. DN

 

My overall impression of the rhythm of the day was one of peacefulness - that there was an
agenda, but that there was no sense of rushing, but rather of calm. I had heard about, but not seen, the opening prayer, and I was moved by the idea that the day was being offered to a spirit within and without. Perhaps that lent to my mood. As a musician, I especially liked watching the interplay between the singing and (musical) resting, and the movement of the arms and body in the drumming.  It must be tiring!
Out of all the presenters, I enjoyed Greg Hill the most, as his sense of wit and irony were well
juxtaposed with the "seriousness" of the message that he was conveying. Before I began my M.A. course work, I had never considered nationality and sense of place and space in such a way before, and his presentation brought a lot of my readings into focus and relevancy.
 
Throughout the day Aboriginal society was presented as a holistic and less boundary driven society than its opposite, and it left me feeling that there is much more that I would like to learn and understand.
LB

 
 

 

 
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 .