Talking Treaties

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Talking Treaties is a participatory multi-arts project, with the goal of artfully sharing local Indigenous knowledge and awareness. Launched in Spring 2015, through a collaboration between Jumblies Theatre, Nagamo Collective and First Story Toronto, the project is moving into is culminating phase and outcome performance and installation: the Talking Treaties Spectacle.

In the research and development phase, Talking Treaties engaged over 300 participants in generating symbols, found poetry, and improvised response maps which have influenced and are now featured as content in the production. Further, The Talking Treaties quick creation workshops have allowed for more intensive engagement with the oral history interview content collaborating toward rapid collaborative performances.

In 2017, Talking Treaties moved into a production phase, bringing together the accumulated wealth of knowledge we have gathered through historical research, interviews, and community response, into a large-scale immersive performance and installation, bringing together professional and community performers.

Talking Treaties is created and directed by Ange Loft, in collaboration with historian and writer, Victoria Freeman, along with as many other artists and contributors.

Talking Treaties is part of Jumblies’ Touching Ground Festival, and will be presented at the 2017 Indigenous Arts Festival at Historic Fort York, with The Talking Treaties Spectacle (June 23 at 6:30 PM & June 25 at 5:00 PM) and Installation (June 24, 12:00 – 6:00 pm, during of the Na Me Res traditional Pow Wow). The Talking Treaties Spectacle will be followed by the premier performance of “Under the Concrete”, a choral reflection of the same themes, composed by Martin van de Ven, with original and traditional songs by Rosary Spence.

Activities and ways to get involved in Talking Treaties

You can become part of Talking Treaties as well as other components of our Touching Ground Festival, by joining in the following activities at The Ground Floor (132 Fort York Blvd.):

    • – with our Choir, every Wednesday 6:30 to 8:00pm – learn and rehearse new compositions for Talking Treaties by Melody McKiver and Rosary Spence, and Martin van de Ven’s Under The Concrete, and perform with us on June 23 and 25.
    • – with our Dance Troupe, Thursdays 7:00 to 8:30pm – explore, create and rehearse new choreography with lead choreographer Lilia Leon, and guest choreographer Brian Solomon. Participants 16+ are welcome to take part. No movement or dance experience required.
    • – at our Spring Production Drop-Ins, Thursdays from 2:00 to 5:00pm – help make costumes and props, and, starting in June, take part in rehearsals for community participants.
    • – Other activities, events and presentations will be taking place at The Ground Floor and Evergreen Brick Works and as part of The Touching Ground Festival of new works, starting on May 13.

Talking Treaties is part of the Touching Ground Festival in May & June 2017! Stay tuned for details about all activities and events related to the festival.

The first stage (March 2015 to June 2015) involved archival research, oral history interviews, intensive creative explorations with local residents and national community artists on the Train of Thought, a four-part interactive audio gallery, new music, and a culminating event – Talking Toronto Treaties – held at George Brown College’s Waterfront Campus, on June 26, 2015.

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The second stage (Sept. 2015 to June 2016) involved hands-on workshops with community groups and university classes to explore the historical and audio material; conference presentations; installation of the audio gallery at the Native Canadian Centre, York University and Evergreen Brickworks; creation and performance of a short interactive piece entitled ‘Territorial Delicacies’ performed beside the Humber River and on Tabour Hill. At the Ground Floor, Talking Treaties has become a regular feature at the weekly art making drop ins, exploring the research through found poetry, cardboard miniatures, and improvisational experiments with symbols, meaning and interpretation. Intensive creative explorations with a team of researchers and artists was held from June 3 to 19, bringing the work to the current production phase through movement and narrative work at The Ground Floor, Historic Fort York and the Evergreen Brick Works.

The production phase (February 2017 to June 2017) will bring together a diverse group of artists and community partners to develop distinct aspects of the Talking tretains Spectacle. Beginning in May, the thursday (2:00 – 5:00 PM) workshops will become performance rehearsals, involving diverse community participants in preparing and performing scripted text and audience interactivity. The workshops and rehearsals are open to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds interested in sharing Treaty awareness with a Toronto public. This project strives to expand meaning, knowledge, and personal relationships to encompass the historical and contemporary responsibilities we share.

Talking Treaties Artist Team

Ange Loft, Lead Creative Artist, Director
Victoria Freeman, Historical Researcher, Co-Writer
Jill Carter, Researcher and Performer
Lilia Leon, Lead Choreographer
Brian Solomon, Guest Choreographer
Julia Hune Brown, Dance Coordinator
Melody McKiver, Composer (Talking Treaties)
Rosary Spence, Singer – Songwriter
Brian Valdivia – Musician
Martin Van de Van, Composer
Marianne Alas, Costume Designer/Coordinator
Sonja Rainey, Set and Props Designer
Parker Dirks, Assistant Designer
Kelly King, Artist Researcher and Performer
Rosina Kazi – Contributing Musician and Performer
Jesse Wabegijig, Production Assistant and Performer
Laura-Lee Lewis, Production Assistant and Performer
Bianca Morgan, Production Assistant and Performer
Jackie Omstead, Community Programming Coordinator
Sasha Tate Howarth, Production Stage Manager
Iehente Foot, Assistant Stage Manager and Performer
Adrienne Marcus Raja, Documenter
Karis Jones Pard, Design and Making Assistant
Nikki Shaffeellah, Performer
Alaska B, Electronic Composition and Audio Engineer
Ruth Howard, Production Mentor
and many other artists and community members..
and others TBA


First Story Toronto, Historic Fort York, Nagamo Collective and others.

Canada Council for the Arts
Ontario Arts Council
Toronto Arts Council
Ontario 150
Toronto Foundation
Metcalf Foundation
J.P. Bickell Foundation
InSpirit Foundation
Ontario Trillium Foundation
First Story
Historic Fort York