Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

Queen's University Queen's University
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Tue, Mar 28, 20177:30 pm
Doors open
Lobby doors open 6:30pm, House Doors open 7:00pm
Performance Hall at The Isabel
Student $10 - Faculty/Staff $19 - General Public $24
The Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival
  • [Photo of Jeremy Dutcher]
  • [Photo of Marion Newman]
    Photo of Marion Newman
  • [Photo of Cheryl L'Hirondelle]
    Photo of Cheryl L'Hirondelle
  • [Photo of Dylan Robinson]
    Photo of Dylan Robinson

Songs of Sovereignty

Concert features Marion Newman, Jeremy Dutcher and Cheryl L’Hirondelle, and is hosted by Dylan Robinson.  Indigenous artists reclaim their musical heritage and showcase the vibrancy of Indigenous music today.

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