Impressions of the Day

It was another wonderful day. I have put the 2009 date in my book so I hope to be there.
–Jim Albert (Elder)

It was a privilege to be asked to participate [in the conference]. I have already had some e-mail correspondence from persons present about the websites, so it was a wonderful opportunity to showcase what Clealls and I have been trying to do. Many thanks to you and your wife for the efficiency with which the whole conference was organized.
–Elaine Keillor, presenter

I wanted to write you to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH. That really was one of the best events I’ve been to in a long time. It’s short and sweet. I really enjoyed the presentations from the other participants. I’m going to recommend that book you gave me too for our library here at work, it’s beautiful. [About Face: Self-Portraits by Native American, First Nations and Inuit Artists, catalogue to an exhibition curated by Zena Pearlstone and Allan J. Ryan at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2005–06.] I was wondering if you could put me in touch with Clealls, or if you could direct me to the report on that study he mentioned on cultural empowerment and suicide rates in aboriginal communities. Avataq is in the process of building an arts council for Nunavik, and I know that study would really help in our discussion with potential funders for arts projects. Please tell your wife I say a big thank you for her help too. My children really enjoyed the trip.
–Taqralik Partridge, presenter

Hi Allan,
We both had a great time and think that your conference is fantastic! It’s fun to celebrate art for its own sake and to hear “behind-the-scenes” thoughts from the artists. I would love to come back! Thanks again.
–Tracey Deer, presenter

Thank you so much for inviting us [Tracey Deer and myself] to the New Sun Conference! We had a great time! Both “The Eastern Door” and “Windspeaker” are taking an article on the conference. Great job once again!
–Steve Bonspeil, Beesum Communications

It was a true pleasure for me to have taken part in the excellent day. Thank you again.
–CC, Health Canada

Thank you very much for this inspiring day. When I woke up Saturday morning I did not want to spend the day at a conference but I am so glad that I did. It was a wonderful experience! … Thank you for the experience I had including the great meal!
–BW, Canada Dance Festival

First of all I want to thank you for the great New Sun Conference. I enjoyed it as much as last year and I really hope I will be around next year too. This year I took a friend with me, a girl who is teaching German for one year at Carleton, and she enjoyed it just as much as I did. The talks by Tracey Deer and Taqralik Partridge were absolutely amazing!

I just wanted to write to say how much I enjoyed the conference this year. I really liked how you incorporated music and it got me thinking about Inuit music, especially drumming, traditional songs and its use in the revitalization, promotion and maintenance of the Inuit language… It would be great if we could highlight the great work being done by our youth in the multimedia realm as well as the prevalence of hip hop culture in Inuit, Metis, and First Nations youth culture. … Thank you again for including contemporary Inuit cultural and artistic expression in the New Sun Conference.
–HC, Language and Culture Coordinator, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

[My wife] and I really enjoyed the day, meeting everyone and participating in such a fascinating program. We were very moved by the presentations and sharing of experience. A very successful format. Congratulations to you and your team. Having worked with Joy [Maclaren, “New Sun”] for over 20 years I know how passionate she is about encouraging dialogue and the sharing of wisdom and how effective she is as a quiet activist. I truly admire her resolve and commitment. Joy has made a significant difference for many people across the country. Very best wishes to you and I look forward to hearing about some of your future endeavours.
–GW, McGill University

Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoyed the 7th Annual New Sun Conference last Saturday. We did not get to chat over the course of the day, but I wanted to tell you that all the presenters were inspiring. Please express my thanks in particular to Elaine Keillor and Clealls, who, with their work on the web sites related to drums and dance have given access to a treasure trove and a locus for learning by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. I have asked one of the project officers and a former colleague at Library and Archives Canada to consult these sites as he and his team proceed with their project called Our Stories.
–M-LP, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages/Commissariat aux langues officielles

Just a quick note to say “thanks” and “congratulations.” I enjoyed the New Sun Conference on Saturday hugely—and clearly I was not alone in that! Once again you did an absolutely superb job of organization.
–John Osborne, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Carleton University

I want to echo John [Osborne’s] congratulations on the New Sun Conference. I had to leave at lunch, but the part I saw was wonderful. Especially Tracey Deer. Wow! Those are powerful little documentaries. Thanks for introducing me to her work.
–André Loiselle, Director, School of Canadian Studies, Carleton University

This was my first experience with the New Sun Conference and it was very positive. Two of the presenters stood out for me: Tracey Deer and Taqralik Partridge. What I liked most about these ladies was their honesty and candidness demonstrated in their work. It was very inspiring to listen to these women speak about their journey to becoming who they are today. I appreciate having had the opportunity of being able to attend.
–MK, First Nation and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada

Congratulations on another successful and very enjoyable New Sun Conference. I was able to attend the morning this year. I was most pleased to be able to attend the presentations by Tracey Deer, Taqralik Partridge and the joint presentation by Elaine Keillor and Clealls. I was disappointed to miss the feast and afternoon presentations. At the same time, the sample of the day made the event more special, I left wanting more while very satisfied. The artists that you invited for the morning brought voices of the youth. I was most impressed in the care they took in how the voices we heard were respectful yet meaningful. I was very encouraged by their courage and visions. The importance of this work was echoed and grounded by Clealls. I would also like to express much gratitude to the work by Elaine Keillor. I would like to send thanks to all those who help make this possible. To you, I want to send a special thank you. I appreciate the enthusiasm, generosity, and respect in your approach to supporting Aboriginal artists.

Addendum: I really meant to acknowledge the voices of two elders at the New Sun Conference. Both Tracey and Taqralik confided that they are most concerned, somewhat nervous, unsure on how their communities respond to their works. That was such a powerful message. I was most touched by the elders in the room who both affirmed and encouraged Tracey and Taqralik. They modeled what we as adults need to do for our youth. Listen to them, encourage them and celebrate their gifts and achievements. Thanks for providing such a safe and nurturing forum.

–LG, Health Canada

All was wonderful—as you will read in greater detail in an upcoming “Windspeaker” issue. The meal was superb, as usual. Chi megwech, Allan, for organizing such a wonderfully inspiring and uplifting event.
In unity and spirit,

This is just a quick note to thank you very much for putting the conference together. To be quite honest, I did not know what to expect and decided to go only because a friend of mine had asked me to. I ended up having a wonderful time and was truly inspired. It reminded me of just how disconnected I’ve been to the “art world.” Thanks sooooooo much! Have a wonderful week!

I would first like to thank you for your invitation—I absolutely enjoyed the conference. You were right; it was a highlight of my first year at Carleton! I was just so happy to attend and learn new things and meet new people, thank you so much for that. … The websites and are great educational/fun tools that Indigenous groups can tap into. It is very inspiring and engages all…. Ms. Partridge was just stunning! She was so powerful with her spoken poetry that I was just in tears. It was so nice to see a confident, Inuk woman perform contemporary pieces with those resilient traditions and teachings. I adore her. The choreographers Michael Greyeyes and Santee Smith were so creative! I enjoyed watching Santee perform and Michael’s [film] Triptych. They both did a wonderful job of interpreting thoughts, memories and forgotten events through the art of dance and music. Perfect way to engage today’s audience. The food was just delicious. Thank you again for working hard to bring such beauty to us, it was greatly appreciated by all. I am looking forward to the many New Sun conferences to come.

That was a fabulous conference. The poet really caught my attention in her transformation from being shy to performance. Very well done.

The conference was superb. Trent University has Tracey Deer’s Mohawk Girls so I have ordered it to show to my post-colonial group next week. I will get back to you after that with longer comments about the conference and about the importance of Deer’s work to my students, specifically in terms of its engagement with the fraught issues of identity for Indigenous peoples….
Thanks again for putting on such a marvelous conference,

Kwey Allan, Kitchi Meegwetch for a wonderful conference! … Kichi Meegwetch again and mino kijidad to you.
–MT, Health Policy Branch, Health Canada

It was a pleasure to participate in this year’s conference again. The presenters were very impressive. I was particularly moved by Tracey Deer—by who she is, her manner, her passion, her skill, and her movies. She inspired me very much, both to watch all her films and to track this young and exceptionally gifted artist’s progress. There is a universal quality to her work that strikes a deep chord. Taqralik was also greatly inspiring. She is so honest and unpretentious, it makes her accessible to audiences. She has a beautiful narrating voice and is a powerful story teller, even her shyness is powerful. The dance element celebrated this year was a great education. I’m glad Michael was there to explain his film, [Triptych] because while I got a lot of it (being a res school survivor myself), his context and his explanation of his process was very enriching.

The New Sun Conference is a meeting place… minds meeting, people meeting, cultures meeting. There’s a cross-cultural synergy that happens in that place every time! It’s always a surprise as to how it will unfold. I was sitting next to a black woman who seemed to really enjoy the different comments and representations of native-black experiences (Taqralik wrote about an Inuk woman with a black father, and there were a few other mentions of similar situations, people trying to sort out their identity).

The conference is a very special and unique event that is worth all the support it can get. There is simply nothing else like it in Ottawa, and maybe even in all of Canada.

Qujannamiik, ilisaiji.

I really enjoyed the conference and especially the interesting, informative, and creative speakers that this event continues to draw. I like the fact that not everyone comes from a traditional academic background but contributes equally to the conference…. thanks to Allan and the organizers of this important event and long may it continue and grow.

Thank you for orchestrating such a unique event. I was very happy to participate.

The Conference was most enjoyable. Thank you for putting together the wonderful event.

Thanks Allan… it was my first New Sun Conference and I really enjoyed it. Thanks again,

I wanted to say thank you for a great conference on Saturday. I enjoyed it so much and my two friends, really enjoyed it so much too. [J] was very grateful for being able to attend since she said that the conference and the people were very inspiring. She is a consultant for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples at the moment, has a law degree, but is actually writing a fiction novel. So she actually said that this conference inspired her and that she needed this very much. Thank you and your team again.

Congratulations on another very successful conference. I saw a clip on the CJOH/CTV news, showing the dance and a short bit of an interview with you, and the place seemed to be completely energized. Thanks for allowing my company to be part of it again this year.
–PM, Nutshell Music

Just a note to thank you for putting together yesterday’s wonderful line-up of art that speaks so strongly and adroitly to our times.
–FS, Department of Anthropology, Carleton University

Congratulations on an outstanding event…. What struck me most was the obvious impact the stellar presenters made with the audience, witnessed by the vibrant interchange between them. The renown of the presenters speaks for itself but the media diversity plus the depth of their heartfelt and personal content clearly engaged and touched the audience profoundly, I thought. I know it did me. Kudos to everyone who contributed to the success that was the conference.

I really enjoyed the conference this year, congratulations for once again pulling together a fantastically eclectic roster of artists. It was wonderful to see Clealls and Elaine Keillor’s work featured, to hear Tracey Deer talk about and showcase her films, and to hear Taqralik Partridge’s spoken word poetry. For me, she was the revelation of the year, and I really look forward to hearing more of her powerful work. Santee Smith was spectacular, and it was really nice to have a dance performance at lunch, something different. The food was excellent, and gets better every year. Thank you Allan, for providing this widely anticipated annual event bringing Aboriginal art to the foreground at Carleton for students, faculty, administrators and members of the outside community. This year at lunch I sat with a couple from Kingston, who teach high school and who came to get some inspiration for their teaching—and they left with contacts, information, and lots of energy. Also, many students from my program at Carleton attend or volunteer, and are always enriched in their appreciation of the variety and depth of Aboriginal creative experience. For me, this is one of the very best events of the year on campus.
–PR, Coordinator, Aboriginal Enriched Support Program,
Centre for Initiatives in Education, Carleton University

To begin with, the conference poster this year was a real collectable item ready and worthy to be framed. I was so happy to see that you got Tracey Deer because I remember learning in class about her works, but I never in a million years thought that I would be sitting so close to such a young celebrity and a very talented woman. The morning session was absolutely magnificent. I loved it so much that I got a CD by the Women of Wabano. I was impressed as well by the amount of history being recorded by Elaine Keillor and Clealls (John Medicine Horse Kelly). I am enjoying their website, and it is fascinating the amount of valuable information they have accumulated. All of us now have a solid source of information. Santee Smith’s magical performance at the luncheon gathering was very peaceful and welcome. Taqralik Partridge, who happened to be fantastic in my opinion, was so creative. It is so good to see new ideas and unique art. This is my 4th conference and I can’t wait for the next one because every year is getting better and better and the amount of information learned is so valuable. Thanks again, professor, for continuing to bring us such historical treasures through the conference every year.
–LF, Counselor, Crisis, Trauma & Addictions

A presentation of the New Sun Chair in Aboriginal Art and Culture
with the support of the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences and the New Sun Fund
administered by the Community Foundation of Ottawa, plus the generosity of private donors