Performers, Speakers & others in Attendance – The 2021 Aboriginal Awareness Week Opening Ceremonies

ELDER PABLO RUSSELL

Photo credit | StrathmoreNow

Camille Pablo Russell also called “Shooting In The Air”

Native to the Blackfoot Kainai/ Blood Tribe in Southern Alberta, Pablo was chosen to grow-up in the old ways with his grandparents who lived true to traditional life, where the oral tradition of sharing stories was vital education, belonging and cultural preservation. Pablo has pledged his life in service to theses ways, spreading deep and simple truths that cut through the modern haze for people all over the world. Pablo has a remarkably broad historical and practical knowledge concerning the Prairie Indians’ original way of life, and like his grandparents he is an excellent storyteller.

As a young man Pablo sundanced 11 years on “The Poor Man’s Sundance” lead by Morris Crow, Last Tail Feathers. He continued his apprenticeship in the sundance ways with his teacher and later received the rights to run his own Sun Dance, “Path of the Buffalo Sundance” which is still held every summer in Southern Alberta.

In 1991, after a 76 year ceremonial ban, Pablo was the first to return to vision quest at Writing-On-Stone. It was there that the Buffalo came to Pablo in a powerful way and said to him “Go and teach my children to be like me.” This purpose in life has taken Pablo across many oceans to people far and wide as he honours his sacred commitment to the buffalo and its medicine of strength, perseverance, ownership and walking head-on into life’s challenges.

Following the guidance from his vision quests, Pablo spent 18 years teaching in Europe before he came back home to help his people in a variety of roles including support worker for the Indian Residential School, IRS Elder with Treaty 7 Management Corp., spiritual counsellor at the Elbow River Healing Lodge, a unique Alberta Health Services facility dedicated to Indigenous people and a Native coordinator at the Calgary Remand Centre. “All healing, all thanks goes to the Creator. He doctors.” says Pablo.

Pablo has published a book titled “Path of the Buffalo Medicine Wheel”, in its 6th edition and translated into three languages. He lectures on many platforms in Canada, USA and Europe on the topics of Mental Health, Personal Development, Community Wellness, Traditional Medicines, Healthy Family Systems and Leadership Management using indigenous wisdom. He serves on the board of directors for the Historical Society of Alberta, and yearly as an Elder to the International Healers Congress in Munich, Germany. He has been awarded the David Crowchild Award for language and cultural preservation, amongst others, as well as several grants to preserve and forward his work for the Creator.

INUIT THROAT SINGERS ABIGAIL CARLETON & ANEEKA ANDERSON

Abigail Carleton is a throatsinger of almost 14 years, taught by her older sister. Abigail loves any opportunity to share her culture with those who are willing to listen, especially if accompanied by her sisters, Aneeka and Charlotte. Abigail has her BSW, and would love to use it to help Indigenous people.

Aneeka Anderson is Inuk from Pangnirtung, Nunavut, though she was born and raised on Algonquin territory in Ottawa, Ontario. She has been throat singing since her birth sister Charlotte taught her as a young girl. She is currently in her fourth year of her undergrad at McGill University where she studies Political Science and Anthropology.”

EVANS YELLOW OLD WOMAN

Evans Yellow Old Woman is from Siksika Nation, Alberta. His Blackfoot name is Apsipistoo, which means White Owl. He is a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy and the Running Away Buffalo Clan. He is a Two-Spirit man living and working in Mohkinstsis (Calgary). He co-parents his 10 year old niece, Teshay and is engaged to his partner Shilo Clark.

His favourite things include spending time with family, camping, cooking and playing his ukulele. He is joined by his good friend on guitar, Jaqueline Aquines.

SANDRA SUTTER

Sandra Sutter is an award winning Cree Métis recording artist, songwriter and musician who writes, records and performs in multiple genres encompassing roots music; including Native Americana, folk, country, pop, jazz and rock.

Raised in a loving non-Indigenous family, Sandra affirmed and embraced her ancestral and cultural roots later in life. Like many displaced Indigenous people, honouring her proud cultural roots is important to a woman whose birth heritage was lost through time and circumstance. Ms Sutter’s culture influences her every step through life and she has grown into an active and passionate advocate for Indigenous traditions and rights. Her life journey in both the non-Indigenous and Indigenous worlds has given her a unique perspective and opportunity to bring people together through her songs of reconciliation.

Sandra’s 2020 Christmas Release, Aurora 12 Songs for the Season, builds on the theme of her truth and reconciliation focused 2017 release, Cluster Stars; sharing stories about the culture, history, challenges, strength, beauty and resilience of Indigenous Peoples. Aurora 12 is a mix of 8 original songs; 6 new pieces and 2 originals previously released with the Fireside A/B release in 2019, along with a few traditional Christmas songs presented in a way that only the award-winning singer-song writer can deliver.

17 Industry nominations in the last three years include a 2018 NAMA (Best Americana) and 2019 IMA award (Best Producer/Engineer). Additional nominations include three YYC Music Awards, 1 additional IMA, a CFMA, three additional NAMA’s, two Blues and Roots radio nods, four ISMA’s and a SSIMA. Ms. Sutter also received an Esquao Award (Arts) from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, an Aboriginal Role Model of Alberta (Arts) Award and a WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada Award.

One of the songs from Cluster Stars, Song of Heaven, is featured in a short film by Tito Gomez and Barb Briggs called ‘The Healing’ that Sandra is also a featured actor in. Indian in the Child, another Cluster Stars piece, is featured in a theatre production, ‘New Blood, the Dance Show’. One of Ms. Sutter’s reconciliation focused poems, She Is, is published in Sheri-D Wilson’s 2020 legacy Poetry book, YYC Pop.

Sandra is the Aboriginal Partnerships Manager for PTW Energy and sits on several Indigenous serving boards and committees across Canada. She lives and breathes the concepts that she thinks, speaks and sings about every day.

Sandra Sutter is Cree Métis, tracing her lineage back to the 1800s. Her family of origin is from the Red River area in Manitoba and settled in Île-à-la-Crosse, Big River and Muskeg Lake in Saskatchewan, as well as various points across the Prairies. 

CURT YOUNG & THE HEALERS

Curt Young is an international entertainer, singer/songwriter, grass dancer and actor from the Cowesses First Nation in Saskatchewan. Curt’s music embraces storytelling as a solo artist, and high energy performances with band and CY &B the Healers captivates audiences!

Curt uses traditional and modern styles of music and dance to share his life experiences and culture with various audiences. Topics include Bullying, Women’s Rights, Empowerment, Equality, Youth Leadership, Role Modelling, Believing in You and Self-Esteem.

Elder Clarence Wolfleg, Veteran


Photo credit | Calgary Public Library

Clarence traditional name Miiksika’am “Red Crane”, former ten-term Councillor for Siksika Chief and Council and former Chief of Police Siksika Nation. He is a member of the Traditional Blackfoot Societies the Sacred Horns’ Society and the Brave Dog Society. Clarence is a Veteran of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery stationed in France and Germany serving in international Peace Keeping initiatives. In 2016 he was also presented with an Honorary Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology for his longstanding affinity with Mount Royal University and his exemplary leadership in Calgary, Alberta and Canada. On Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 Clarence received an Honourary Doctorate of Laws degree from Mount Royal University, to acknowledge decades of contribution and ongoing affinity. 

His Worship Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Naheed Nensh, A’paistootsiipsii “Clan Leader or He who moves camp and the others follow”, a Blackfoot name transferred in 2014 by late Elder Pete Standing Alone, Kainai First Nation, as well as also being honoured with the Tsuu T’ina name, Iitiya “Always Ready” by Elder Bruce Starlight. Naheed Nenshi was sworn in as Calgary’s 36th mayor on October 25, 2010 and was re-elected in 2013 and 2017. This will be his last term in the Mayor’s Office.

Marilyn North Peigan, Veteran


Photo credit | Toronto Star

Marilyn North Peigan is a specialist in the field of corporate, event, and private security, bringing a background in military training and customer service.  She has extensive experience in VIP security with a focus on the Aboriginal entertainment community. 

She served with the military medical corps of the Canadian Armed Forces. After an honourable discharge, she earned a BA in psychology and an MA from Athabasca University.  Her thesis is one of the first to academically draw out the historical issues leading up to Canada’s current situation with missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

Her contributions to the community include having served as vice-chair of the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee, which produced the White Goose Flying Report in 2016, Calgary’s local version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. Marilyn is currently the longest appointed member of the Calgary Police Commission. In 2012 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal.