Winnipeg Folk Fest takes place at Birds Hill Provincial Park, Manitoba, Canada on Treaty 1 territory and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.
The Winnipeg Folk Festival respects the Treaties that were made on this territory. In a spirit of reconciliation, we work with an Indigenous Advisory Circle and Indigenous partners to further develop relationships and opportunities to share Indigenous culture at and through our Festival and year-round activities.
Born and raised in the Ojibway community of Onigaming in Northwestern Ontario, Sherry Copenace is proud of being Anishinaabe and all that she has learned from her greatest teacher, her grandmother Shawon. Her experience in social work has led her to work with young women, teaching Anishinaabe traditions and ceremonies, including Indigenous childbirth practices that bring “birth back to the community.”
She is currently employed at the University of Manitoba as part of their Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges Program. Sherry speaks her original Ojibway language and has a great love for the Land, Waters and Peoples.
- To work with members of the Indigenous community as part of our Indigenous Advisory Circle, to create an ongoing dialogue regarding programming and the sharing of Indigenous culture as it relates to the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
- To program Indigenous artists whose voices and perspectives are heard as part of the folk music and storytelling traditions at the Festival.
- To open our Festival and welcome all attendees to our Festival with a blessing from a Knowledge Keeper from the Indigenous community.
- To welcome artists from all over the world to our Festival with a traditional welcoming ceremony including prayer, song and a tribute to the land we are on.
- To bring projects from Indigenous visual artists to our Prairie Outdoor Exhibition to create interactive artistic experiences.
- To present Indigenous artisans in our Hand-Made Village where Festival attendees can interact with the artisans and purchase their hand-crafted works.
Indigenous Canada - University of Alberta
As part of our ongoing commitment to education in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion the Winnipeg Folk Festival staff completed the 12-week Indigenous Canada course provided by the University of Alberta. This online course includes lessons on the fur trade, land claims, legal systems, political conflicts, Indigenous political activism, contemporary Indigenous life and art. Indigenous Canada is a free online course that anyone can sign up for at any time through Coursera.