Planet IndigenUS Cultural Festival

From August 10-19, celebrate indigenous culture through various art forms with Planet IndigenUS, the largest contemporary indigenous festival in the world. Co-produced by Harbourfront Centre and Woodland Cultural Centre, the festival offers ten days of theatre, dance, film, food and visual art. With over 300 performers from seven countries – and almost all performances absolutely free – this is a must-experience summer event!

The Harbourfront Centre features a stellar line-up of events and activities that one can experience during the festival. Celebrating the Crossroads is the opening night spectacle at the West Jet Stage, one that truly defines the coming together of cultures. Hosted by CBC’s Wab Kinew and Sarah Podemski, the no-cost event features performances by Fara PalmerLeemaiPacific Curls, George Leach, Plex and in partnership with Toronto’s Consulate General of China, Hanggai. Prior to the opening night spectacle, you can also catch other performances & activities including Eddy Robinson, Tulali, Dallas Arcand, Jennifer Kreisberg and James Jones. Other music offerings include Australian music group OKA, Fort Albany born Rosary Spence, cross-genre music group A Tribe Called Red, blue’s and beats tri-lingual musician Kinnie Starr and Manitoba upcoming artist Ali Fontaine.

Theatre & dance is plentiful at the festival. The 2012 Dora Award nominated Kaha:wi Dance Theatre collaborates with Japanese Ainu musician OKI to bring us Susuriwka – Willow Bridge; a piece that brings together Canadian and Japanese culture through the exploration of  Iroquois and Ainu song and dance. Digging deeper into the roots of Native culture, Paddle Song is a one woman show that explores the life of beloved Canadian poet & performer Pauline Johnson, who was born in 1861 to a Mohawk chief and his English wife. Playing the role of Johnson is Cheri Maracle. Staying contemporary is Lara Kramer’s Fragments which, in poetic form, gives a personal interpretation of the residential school’s in Canada and the silent emotions and experiences of the young girls who attended them.

If neither music, theatre or dance is your taste, then food or visual art offerings are available too. Curated by Melanie Egan, Material Wealth: Revealing Landscape is a showcase of elemental materials by 8 artists who bring together the worlds of geography and culture. Lisa Myers curates NOT SO FAST, an exhibition featuring work by seven artists who address the many products and by-products of consumer society, taking a stab at everything from fast food to stereotypes. Chefs Rich Francis, Aaron Joseph Bear Robe and David Wolfman bring to the festival their experience in cultural cooking, their modern take on traditional methods and of course, their bold flavors.

The Harbourfront Centre is not the only place where you can experience the Planet IndigenUS magic. Many events take place at the Woodland Cultural Centre (WCC) including performances by Mongolian folk/punk ensemble Hanggai, Goombine – descendant of the Wadi Wadi people and many more. Click HERE for a complete list of events. 

In addition to WCC, there are many other events taking place throughout the city organized by various partners. See the list below for some of the highlights. The full list can be seen HERE.

  1. Toronto International Film Festival – First Peoples Cinema: 1500 Nations, One Tradition
  2. Museum of Inuit Art – Complimentary Guided Tours
  3. Bata Shoe Museum – Red Runners Exhibition
  4. The Japanese Paper Place –  Celebrating: Washi & Two Cultures
  5. Textile Museum of Canada – Dreamland: Textiles and the Canadian Landscape
  6. Toronto Public Library – Spadina Road

To book tickets for the Harbourfront Centre events or for more information on Planet IndigenUS events, visit harbourfrontcentre.com/planetindigenus or call Harbourfront Centre at 416-973-4000.

Patrons can take advantage of Harbourfront Centre’s packaged deals when purchasing tickets to the following ticketed performances: Susuriwka – Willow Bridge; Paddle Song; and I, George NepiaBuy two tickets to any of the three Planet IndigenUS shows for $50 (savings of $10) and receive a discount off parking, food and more. Buy three tickets to any of the three Planet Indigenous shows for $75 (savings of $15) and receive a discount off parking, food, The Centre Shop, Textile Museum and more. These packages can only be purchased by phone or in person. Please call the Harbourfront Centre box office at 416-973-4000 for information.