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Canada’s Indigenous Experience, Told Through Popular Music

Treaty: A Reconciliation Revelry comes to Brantford March 30.


Celeste Percy-Beauregard, March 15, 2023 // Brantford, OntarioIn performance. Photo credit Alex Heidbuechel.


The latest project from Tim Johnson of Six Nations of the Grand River, touches down in Brantford on March 30, as part of a four-city Ontario tour, which also stops in Ottawa, Kingston, and Oakville.  

Tim, who is a Board Director at Shaw Festival Theatre and a former Associate Director at Smithsonian Institution NMAI, says the multimedia production, which premiered at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in 2021, looks at “What has been the Indigenous experience within the country,” and was developed through a collaborative process.

“I came up with the general concept from a curatorial standpoint,” he says, “And then my music captain for the ensemble and co-curator, Joshua Miller [and I] had conversations early on about how to shape things. He layered in a number of songs he thought would work with each of the different sections. And then the 10 other members of the ensemble also gave recommendations.”

Tim says the resulting program of music is, “A really interesting and exciting mix,” of largely popular music songs that general audience members will recognize. “It's really a great mix of music if you're just to think about it musically,” he says.

“Using video interviews with Indigenous elders, historians, and community leaders interlaced with live performances of award-winning artists singing poignant lyrics to support hot-potato subjects, the audience is drawn into embracing the dark past inflicted onto Indigenous peoples and lifting up that awareness to the light into a celebratory event,” says Kenny Lee Lewis of the Steve Miller Band.


Photo credit Alex Heidbuechel.

“People might take a look at the topic and say, ‘I'm not too much into that,’” says Tim, “But it's one of those things that, if you actually go, you'll be surprised at how good it is, how great the music is – it’s a very unique experience.”

For folks unable to attend in the evening, there is a discounted matinee performance, which also means school groups can attend.

“I think it's one of those events that will surprise people,” says Tim, “And it ends on these uplifting notes of solidarity, and reconciliation and peace and understanding. So we take a very positive approach to it, even though throughout the concert, we're dealing with some difficult subject matter.”



Treaty: A Reconciliation Revelry performs at the Sanderson Centre on March 30. Click HERE to buy tickets, which are $15 for the 1pm matinee and $35 for the 7pm show.


Celeste Percy-Beauregard’s first form of storytelling was as an actor, and her eager curiosity and interest in a variety of subjects led her to writing. Her work has appeared in Toronto Star and Today’s Parent, and she is enjoying exploring Brantford and learning about the people and places that make it such a special city.

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