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Songs of Sovereignty

Tuesday, March 28th @ 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM


Schedule of Performances

  • Welcome and Thanksgiving Address – Janice Hill, Director of the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre
  • Introduction – Dylan Robinson, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts at Queen’s University
  • Part 1 – Cheryl L’Hirondelle with Adam Saifer on guitar.
    Selections from Cheryl L’Hirondelle’s Why the Caged Bird Sings and Singing Land projects.
  • Part 2 – Marion Newman, mezzo-soprano and Gregory Oh, Piano
    Works by Ian Cusson, Barbara Croall, and Marion Newman.
  • Part 3 – Jeremy Dutcher
    Lintuwakon ciw Mehcinut
    Pomok naka Poktoinskwes
    Honour Song
    Lintuwakon ‘ciw Oqiton


For over 70 years from 1880-1951 the Government of Canada, under the Indian Act, prohibited Indigenous people from performing their traditional dances and songs. Under Section 3 of the Act, the presentation of songs associated with the sun dance and potlatch were a criminal offence: “Every Indian or other person who engages in or assists in celebrating the Indian festival known as the ‘Potlach’ or in the Indian dance known as the ‘Tamanawas’ is guilty of a misdemeanour, and shall be liable to imprisonment.”

Given the role of potlatch in documenting the history of First Nations across the Pacific northwest, and the status of

Indigenous songs as the medium of law, healing and teachings, the censorship of Indigenous cultural practices was a significant infringement of human rights. At the same time as this censorship was taking place, ethnographers were working with Indigenous people to record their songs and preserve them. Yet in many cases this safe-keeping of songs in museum collections has also made them inaccessible to Indigenous people today.

In the face of this history, Indigenous people have been working to reconnect songs held by museums with their communities, as well as use songs to help strengthen the overall health of Indigenous communities. This concert presents three artists from across Canada who are leading the way in this resurgence of Indigenous music. We are excited to present their work that demonstrates the vibrancy of Indigenous music today.

*Seating for this event is General Admission

Student $10 – Faculty/Staff $19 – General Public $24



Tuesday, March 28th
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Event Category:


Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts
390 King Street West
Kingston, Ontario Canada
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