ArtsCan Circle
  • 18 King St. East Suite 1400 Toronto, ON M5C 1C4
  • 905 836-9117
Mimi O’Bonsawin
Mimi O'Bonsawin is an award-winning, roots songstress. Although based in Toronto, you can find Mimi out on the road bringing songs and stories to diverse audiences all over this country and abroad. Her songs are heavily influenced by her Franco-Ontarian and Abenakis roots and flow through a centre of love and creativity. Her compositions are nurtured by the beauty of her home landscape, Northeastern Ontario and her performances honest and raw. With a recent award at the nationally recognized Indigenous Music Awards and songs placed in TV, Mimi is gaining momentum. Sandy Mowat, a CBC programmer has said: "Mimi may be the hardest working woman in the singer-songwriter biz!". In a time where you may feel like it has all been done before, Mimi is a rare find. She is one of a kind. When you meet her, you will know it. You can follow her journey at
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Cindy Paul
Northern Alberta songbird Cindy Paul is deeply connected to her Indigenous roots and it shines through in every breath and beat. An established songwriter, producer and visual artist. Cindy's original composition, He Can Fancy Dance is shared for educational purposes on the residential school system and for Indigenous cultural sensitivity and awareness in many conferences and workshops throughout North America and is currently the subject of an international documentary. Cindy has maintained her career working in the health & wellness field in northern Alberta as a nurse, natural health practitioner and educator, she has developed and facilitated visual & performing arts workshops which include song writing, metis cultural dance, music and art instruction. Cindy is an advocate for health & healing through natural therapies, traditional medicines, music, art, and cultural teachings incorporating her love for the arts and natural health into her work, her music and her life.
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Matthew Vukson
Matthew is a Tlicho Dene Bead Artist that specializes in the two-needle method and is the founder of @7thFireBeadingDesigns. He has always been around beading; the love of traditional culture and its rich legacy has been passed down to him through his mother and ancestors. Matthew likes to share stories that have been passed on to him from his family and he enjoys talking about his beading journey. He uses the healing power of art as a form of reclamation and reconciliation. The artistry, spirituality and empowerment of beading are his lifelong personal and research interests. He has taught beading workshops in the Art Gallery of Peterborough, House of Commons Vintage Store and the Gabriel Dumont Non-Profit Homes. Also, in Regina, SK, and Yellowknife, NT. Matthew is a Receipt of 2019 Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Art Projects.
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Mike Stevens
Mike is an award-winning harmonica player, innovator, author, composer and keynote speaker. Mike’s love and passion is working with Indigenous and Inuit youth in northern communities in Canada and Alaska. He has visited over 70 northern communities over the years. Almost 20 years ago, Mike had a chance encounter with youth in northern Labrador that altered the course of his harmonica virtuoso professional path. It led to an epiphany of why he plays music in the first play. In 2002, Mike founded ArtsCan Circle. Mike has built strong and life-long relationships with many of the communities. Mike has toured with the Canadian Peacekeepers and performed for the troops around the world. He has recorded, toured and performed in concert venues like the Grand Ole Opry. Mike has been awarded:
  • The CMMA Slaight Music Humanitarian Award
  • The Meritorious Service Medal
  • Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • YMCA Canada Peace Medal
  • Honorary Kentucky Colonel
  • Estelle Klien Award, Award of Excellence
  • Peter Gzowski Award – PGI Canada National Literacy
  • Innovator of the Year – Canada Folk Music Awards
  • The Recording of the Year and the Entertainer of the Year – Central Canadian Bluegrass Award.
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Twin Flames
Twin Flames band creates a sonic landscape that spans Canada and the Arctic. Honouring their ancestors, they sing songs in English, Inuktitut and French. Consecutive year winners 2016 and 2017 of The Canadian Folk Music Award; Aboriginal Songwriters of the year. This multi-award-winning husband and wife duo is made up of Chelsey June and Jaaji both of Indigenous Backgrounds. Jaaji is Inuk and Mohawk from Nunavik and Chelsey June métis (Algonquin Cree) from Ottawa. Twin Flames push the boundaries of “Contemporary Folk”, with songs that incorporate both Western and traditional instruments. Despite polar opposite backgrounds Twin Flames found a common musical language. Twin Flames has now played over 900 shows in their short five years with performances that have taken them across Canada, remote Arctic communities, Greenland, The United States and France. What started as small flame turned into a raging fire, staying lit in the hearts of fans and listeners. Chelsey June and Jaaji write with a passion that comes from their souls and transcends into their musical creations. Together they share a great ability to wrap Indigenous/Inuit stories in traditional and non-traditional styles. With thought-provoking songs, they gently educate audiences on the realities of Indigenous, Inuit and métis history as well as current issues. Twin Flames are always proud and honoured to represent their cultures and diversity through music.
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Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie is touring constantly, and coming off her critically acclaimed, award-winning 2015 album Power in the Blood, nobody could ever accuse the Academy Award-winning songwriter of taking it easy. Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964’s It’s My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate, an innovative artist, and a disruptor of the status quo. Sainte-Marie has spent her whole life creating, and her artistry, humanitarian efforts, and Indigenous leadership have made her a unique force in the music industry. In 1969, she made one of the world’s first electronic vocal albums; in 1982 she became the only Indigenous person to win an Oscar; she spent five years on Sesame Street where she became the first woman to breastfeed on national television. She’s been blacklisted and silenced. She’s written pop standards sung and recorded by the likes of Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Donovan, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes. She penned “Universal Soldier,” the definitive anti-war anthem of the 20th century. She is an icon who keeps one foot firmly planted on either side of the North American border, in the unsurrendered territories that comprise Canada and the USA.
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Susan Aglukark
Singer / songwriter Susan Aglukark is one of Canada’s most unique artists and a leading voice in Canadian music. She blends the Inuktitut and English languages with contemporary pop music arrangements to tell the stories of her people, the Inuit of Arctic Canada. The emotional depth and honesty of her lyrics; her pure, clear voice and themes of hope, spirit and encouragement have captivated and inspired listeners from all walks of life. Susan has held command performances for HRH Queen Elizabeth (twice), Canadian Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Brian Mulroney and the President of France, Jacques Chirac. She has performed for Nelson Mandela and Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson as well as several other dignitaries. Susan was invited into the Order of Canada and was presented her Officer of the Order of Canada award in September of 2005 for her contribution both musically and as a workshop facilitator and mentor in the aboriginal community and was awarded the Governor Generals Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award in June of 2016.
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Leela Gilday
Born and raised in the Northwest Territories, Leela writes about the people and the land that created her. The power in her voice conveys the depth of her feelings of love and life in a rugged environment and vibrant culture as if it comes straight from that earth. Leela’s family is from Délįne on the shore of Great Bear Lake and her rich vocals dance across the rhythmic beats of traditional Dene drumming as smoothly as a bass line onstage the largest venues in the country. And she has played them all. Leela has toured festivals and concert halls with her four-piece band through every province and territory in Canada. She has played in the United States, Greenland, Denmark and New Zealand. If you’re from the North, Leela Gilday’s music is home. If you’ve never been, it will take you there. Leela’s fifth album will be released in Fall 2019. It has been five years since her last studio album, a time of healing. Leela released her album, North Star Calling in Fall 2019. The album is more raw, more intimate and more Leela than anything you’ve heard from her before.
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Joseph Boyden

 Joseph Boyden, CM, is a novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and public speaker. His internationally bestselling work including Three Day Road, Through Black Spruce, The Orenda, and Wenjack has been published in 25 languages and won numerous awards such as the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, Amazon First Novel Award, and France’s Prix Literaire du Monde. In 2012, Boyden received the Queen Elizabeth II, Diamond Jubilee Medal, for his contributions to Canadian art and culture, and in 2016 he was made a member of The Order of Canada. Awarded five honorary doctorates to date, Joseph also sits on the board of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and helped create a charitable foundation named The Onakawana Education Fund, that helps bring Cree youth of James Bay out onto the land.

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Jules Koostachin

Born in Moose Factory Ontario, Jules was raised by her Cree speaking grandparents in Moosonee, and also with her mother in Ottawa, a warrior of the Canadian Residential school system.  Jules is a band member of Attawapiskat First Nation, the Ancestral lands of the MoshKeKo InNiNeWak. She currently resides in Vancouver where she is a PhD candidate with the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia, her research focus is Indigenous documentary and she aims to defend in early 2020. In 2010, she completed her masters at Ryerson University in Documentary Media where she was awarded the Award of Distinction for her thesis work, as well as the Graduate Ryerson Gold Medal for highest academic achievement.  

While in graduate school, she produced her first feature documentary Remembering Inninimowin regarding her journey of remembering InNiMoWin (Cree).  

Her research MooNaHaTihKaaSiWew: Unearthing Spirit is focused on Indigenous documentary and our relationship to stories. 

Through Jules’ arts practice, she involves the use of film, photography, documentary, creative writing and installation. Her practice is deeply influenced by her Ancestral ties to the MoshKeKo. InNiNiNeWak teachings in the form of a story, is an integral way to ensure our Ancestors are respected and heard.  

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Nelson Tagoona

Nelson Tagoona, a one-of-a-kind musician best known for his inspirational messages and his unique blend of vocal percussion and traditional Inuit throat singing called "throat boxing" a custom musical performance style that merges two techniques into one: beatboxing and throat singing. This unique performance has garnered Tagoona high praise throughout Canada, including being awarded at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and named one of the “Top 10 Canadian Artists under 20” by CBC Music. Tagoona performed during the opening of the Northern Scene Festival at the National Arts Centre, Pan Am Games, and at numerous other festivals and events Canada-wide.

Nelson Naittuq Tagoona began writing songs and performing when he was 15. “In a lot of my songs I’ve always talked a lot about believing in yourself, being courageous and not being afraid and having a lot of heart. No matter how dark your days have been, you’ll see that shining light once again.” Nelson Tagoona

As a member of the National Centre for the Arts’ Music Alive program, Tagoona is frequently invited to perform at public events and for youth. The Music Alive program sends teaching musicians to work with children and youth in northern communities, including Iqaluit, Igloolik, Rankin Inlet, Pangnirtung and Kugluktuk.

Fusing elements of traditional Inuit throat singing with live looping and standard beatboxing, Nunavut’s Nelson Tagoona has created a sound that honours his culture, embraces technology and resonates with audiences across the world.

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Roseanne Supernault
Roseanne Supernault is an Actress originally from East Prairie Metis Settlement, Canada. Born in northern Alberta to a Politician Father and Artist Mother, her eclectic upbringing included classical training in art, theatre, and dance; practising and sustaining her cultural hunting & land rights as an Indigenous Cree Metis; and being exposed to the politics and social justice movements of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Her life took a sharp turn into arts when she was discovered by a Los Angeles Casting Director at 13 and thereafter signed to a Talent Agency - she has worked steadily as a performer and has seen her profile rise steadily since.  Recognizable from the Netflix hit series, "Blackstone," where her haunting performance has garnered her several accolades to date; the historical, pre-contact epic, "Maina," where she plays the title character, for which she received the Best Actress Award at American Indian Film Festival; and the groundbreaking Feature, "Rhymes For Young Ghouls," by Jeff Barnaby, that premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and was named TIFF Top 10 and also acted in the film “Through Black Spruce.” 
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Dominique Daye Hunter

Dominique Daye Hunter aka DDaye (she/her/hers) is of Black/Sappony/Irish/Polish descent.  Dominique seeks to heal through the power of storytelling.  Using the mediums of poetry, hip hop, and wearable art, her goal is to empower femmes and people of colour by bringing awareness to social justice issues, environmental racism, womb wellness, and mental health.  

Dominique has a Bachelor of Science in Nonprofit Leadership Management with an emphasis in American Indian Studies from Arizona State University. She lives between the southwest and southeastern United States.

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The Northwest Kid
The Northwest Kid, aka NWK, has been actively performing as a serious poet/emcee within the Canadian music scene for the past decade. NWK's previous releases (Mixed-blood Mixtape, Mob Medicine, Dozy & NWK and Transformation) have provided him with the opportunity to share the same bill with artists such as July Talk, Jeremy Dutcher, A Tribe Called Red, Tanya Tagaq, and The Roots. He also has a new single called T.Y.T. (Take Your Time) on the Canadian Indigenous People’s Radio Station on SiriusXM.
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Marc Brown
Born into a family of musicians, Marc Brown of Marc Brown & The Blues Crew was raised in Huslia, Alaska. He learned to play the guitar starting at age four and eventually joined his grandfather’s band, gathering a country gospel influence. Marc later studied at Berklee College of Music. Throughout their more than 20-year career, Marc Brown & The Blues Crew opened for several big-name acts including ZZ Top and Jethro Tull. Their 10th album, Indian Rock’n’Roll, won them a 2011 Native American Music Award for Best Blues Recording and a nomination for Group Of The Year. Their latest album, “Still Got the Blues”, stays true to the band’s danceable blues sound." Words by: Frank Chythlook Posted On: June 25, 2017
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Ryan Ainsworth
For Canadian singer/songwriter Ryan Ainsworth, a continuous evolution describes the writing, recording and performing experience which has influenced his craft, now 15 years in the making. Ryan began his official music career in 1996 when he accepted the position of lead singer for ‘Bulbasket’ and shortly thereafter released a high intensity, self-titled debut album. The Newmarket, Ontario outfit, featuring a hard-driven energy provided a solid avenue for his early development and vocal styling. Originally a Haliburton native, he began singing as a youngster, and it was clear early on that music would be one of his passions in life. For the past 10 years, Ryan has called the Newmarket area his home where he currently lives with his wife in Mount Albert.
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Nicole Joy-Fraser
Nicole Joy-Fraser (Settler, Dene Zaa, Nehiyaw and Métis descent) is an award-winning Professional Performing Artist who has been storytelling across Turtle Island and beyond with her most recent engagement being in the acting company at the Stratford Festival. As a proud Bear clan member and Hand drum carrier, supporting each other through healing and the arts continues to be a passion of hers and she is grateful to be sharing and promoting Indigenous ways of knowing for generations to come.
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Phil Cote III
Logo Artist “The idea here is inspired by the Seven Fires prophecy where they speak of signs that will be seen letting us know we in the time of the Eighth Fire and the main sign is a white bear will come down from the north that will show itself to all and the other message was that a child will be born who will be gifted and this child will dream of the future and will see the road needed to be taken. This child will also dream of where the sacred scrolls were hidden and this child will know how to interpret the ancient pictographs bringing back the old knowledge helping the people to go in the right direction in this present time. The turtle is a reference to turtle island one of those stories of how our ancestors went through difficult times and had to change their ways and remember the original teachings that put the people in harmony with mother earth like the times we are in now and the end of a long battle with colonialism where we lost our ways and ancient knowledge that gave us a sense of identity and a sense of belonging.” Philip Cote, MFA, Moose Deer Point First Nation First Nations Affiliation: Shawnee, Lakota, Potawatomi, Ojibway and Algonquin. Young Elder. Phil is an Artist, Activist, Ancestral Knowledge Keeper & Historian. Cote is a Sundancer, Pipe Carrier and Sweat Ceremony leader recognized by Elder Vern Harper, Buffalo Chief - Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand. Mentors: Buffalo Chief James Dubrey, Verdell Red Cloud Jr. and Chief Oliver Red Cloud Sr. Cote received his Indigenous name Noodjmowin (The Healer) in 1979 from Joe Couture and was made a member of the Falseface Society at the Seneca longhouse in 1992.
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Jeremiah Otis

Jeremiah Otis started working with Feathers of Hope, a branch of the Ontario Child Advocate office, in 2014 after attending the Youth Justice Forum. Jeremiah was a representative for the Mushkegowuk Region, speaking on behalf of youth regarding the issues they face, eventually speaking at the Gladue Conference, directly confronting policymakers on the validity of the Gladue System. Jeremiah started working as a facilitator for several other forums working on music and storytelling development workshops. In 2017 Jeremiah developed a peer-to-peer support network to aid the community dealing with the previous year’s Suicide crisis in Fort Albany. In 2016 Jeremiah formally started doing music under the name J.Otis creating the first rap group, mad squad, an indigenous youth rap group based out of Fort Albany.

After moving to Timmins, Jeremiah formally developed the program “Healing through music” to aid children with their crisis through the power of music to give them a sense of community again. During this time, Jeremiah started working in a larger capacity doing vocal engineering for himself and numerous artists. In 2019 Jeremiah started working with Jordan Cheechoo to help him secure a production contract with Universal Music Group, all while producing 4 songs. Jeremiah did a touring circuit in Toronto, performing at several clubs and venues as an independent artist.

After moving back to Fort Albany, Jeremiah became a frontline community worker on the flood watch, transitioning to the pandemic support team. In 2020 Jeremiah enrolled in Algonquin college’s music engineering and business program with ambitions of taking his recording company 67 records worldwide.

Christopher Cottle

Christopher Cottle, from Toronto, Ontario, is a Youth advocate that has spent most of his life developing strategies to help amplify youth voices through his love of media and communication. Being a former youth, the care his work started working with the Child-welfare sector to help express the concerns of youth from south-western Ontario. After getting the chance to work directly with the former Ontario Child Advocates office, he worked alongside youth from across the province to develop regulatory policies for Bill 89, the updated child and family services act. After starting work with the OCA in a formal capacity as a Communication expert, Christopher developed events and interviews to highlight the struggles and ambitions of children in the office's Mandated areas. After meeting Jeremiah Otis at the OCA’s final Feathers of Hope forum, Christopher started working to lay the groundwork for his future projects and collaboration. Christopher became the producer of the CYC podcast network in 2019 and worked alongside Professor Wolfgang Vachon of Humber College social welfare program to produce interviews revolving around a professional in the social services sector, all while producing short films and music videos with the Bawaadan collective. After producing the well-received Midland Motel 77 short film with the collective, he has continued to work with various organizations as a content producer and advertising consultant for organizations like TechZenik, OSS Motorsports and TakingITGlobal, specifically on their #RisingYouth grant program.

Now Christopher has his sights set on developing a global presence for both 67 Records and Project Outsiders.