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Gathering festival returns to Orillia, Rama First Nation in June

Award-winning authors and storytellers will get together at the Gathering from June 1 to 4 for cultural events, readings and performances
Tom Wilson, shown performing at the 2022 Mariposa Folk Festival, will be performing at Gathering: Festival of First Nations Stories in Orillia on June 2.

The very best award-winning authors and storytellers from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia are coming to Rama First Nation and Orillia as Gathering: Festival of First Nations Stories returns on June 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Events kick off with a Story Welcome Circle at Rama Community Hall on June 1 at 7 p.m. You can expect a warm welcome from (Gimaa) Chief Ted Williams. Festivities include JP Longboat’s Canoe Story curation featuring Story Lodge: a multimedia site-specific installation created in collaboration with local youth, and Four Directions Painted Story Canoe: a visual art narrative project made with Chief Lady Bird, Elders and Language Keepers. Coffee and tea will be served.

On June 2, see Tom Wilson, a concert made possible by St. Paul’s Centre and Seeds of Hope, at St. Paul’s Centre at 8 p.m. Wilson will be joined by Jesse O'Brien and Thompson Wilson and local elder and storyteller Jeff Monague.

Next, join in on June 3 at 5:30 a.m. for a traditional Sunrise Ceremony at the Multi-Purpose Grounds at Rama First Nation. A community breakfast will follow at 7 a.m. at the Rama Community Hall.

Readings and presentations by recognized First Nations speakers and authors, including Armand Garnet Ruffo, Drew Hayden Taylor, and Michelle Good, will take place throughout the day starting at 9 a.m.

June 3 concludes at St. Paul’s Centre with an 8 p.m. musical performance by award-winning artist and pianist Tomson Highway. This event is possible with generous support from the Mariposa Folk Festival. Review the entire program and ticket information here. While on the information site, don’t forget to reserve your spot for these unique and exciting performances.

Gathering Festival guests will also work with hundreds of local school children as part of Arts Orillia’s collaborative work with the Gojijing Truth and Reconciliation Round Table, Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle, Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin, Mnjikaning Kendaaswin Elementary School, Simcoe County District School Board, St. Paul’s Centre, and Reconciliation Canada.

As part of our work together, an outdoor permanent digital educational portal is being created that offers Indigenous stories and historic learning for audiences.

All festival activities are generously supported by Canada Arts Presenters Fund, Canada Council for the the Arts, and the City of Orillia.



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