"My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back."

Louis Riel

Metis Leader 1885
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Louis Riel's prophecy is coming to pass! The Indigenous artists are The Awakeners!

That's certainly what you'll witness in this 6-part, 1 hour documentary series in both English and French (12 Eps in total) in which Canadian acclaimed, indigenous singer and song writer, Laura Vinson embarks on a journey to meet extraordinary Indigenous people with disabilities who are artists. Laura's sudden loss of her mentally challenged sister, Noreen, combined with her own challenges with an anxiety disorder, plus the progressive loss of her hearing cause her to have a great deal of empathy and respect for those Indigenous and disabled people who are often underappreciated and underestimated.

As Laura puts it, "When given the opportunity, Indigenous people are capable of accomplishing amazing things."

"I saw this strength and power, when I looked at my sister's artwork that she shared lovingly with me and the rest of our family. Similarly, I recall back when I was working with Indigenous youth in the inner city who had been emotionally, physically or sexually abused. When these young people were exposed to their traditional arts, like dance, dreamcatchers, or beading, they found they could do more than they thought was possible. In fact, they blossomed! And through the Series, I see and hear similar stories of how people have discovered art as an avenue of expression that is not a respecter of persons or limitations. Their art is an enriching experience for them as the creators and subsequently for those who receive their work and the transformative spirit that the art carries, and that is the honour and respect for the beauty of the culture of indigenous people."

As a performer who has a special love of art of all kinds, Laura will talk with these, creative people, as she learns about the spark that lit their imaginations and ignited the creative fire within them.
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Episode 1


In episode one, Laura Vinson shares her heart and her personal queries that lead her into a quest to find Indigenous Artists who have disabilities. As she sets out on her journey, she discovers Esther Auger, a young female artist with SOTOS, who paints, does embroidery and has a dream. She also bumps into an old friend from an inner city support agency, Lorrie Lawrence who is now the driving force of the Indigenous Artist Market, and begins to work on a plan to help Esther with her dream. Laura has her first ever exposure to a "Slam Poet" with Gabe Calderon, a dynamic twin-spirited Slam Poet.


Episode 2


In this episode, Laura meets up with Lyle and David Donald, a father and son who head up theEdmonton Metis Dancers. David is living his dream, teaching young people the traditional Metis Jig, and he's sharing his knowledge with people who have disabilities like Stacey who has Down Syndrome. Laura also launches her plan to help Esther make her dreams come true, by introducing her to a wonderful wise and caring Kokum (Grandmother), from the Artist Market, Donna Robillard.


Episode 3


Laura contemplates the richness of her family's Indigenous heritage and culture and the ways her culture and art bring healing. She meets Raymond Gladue, an award winning dancer from the Edmonton Metis Dancers. He tells her his story of the car accident that killed his brother, also a champion dancer, and left Raymond in a wheelchair. However; because of a promise he made to his brother's memory he miraculously recovered to be a champion jigger. She also meets an energetic young woman, Sissy Thiessen Kootenayoo who suffered a severe concussion and brain injury but is now a jingle dancer, a traditional art form used for healing.


Episode 4


Laura meets three very different visual artists with unique messages. She discovers how Tom Baril's photographs take the viewer on a haunting journey to honour the children of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Mackenzie Brown's boldly coloured paintings and healing drumming take her audiences on a mystical tour of Indigenous culture. And Jolanta Bird uses her photography to deliver commercial messages, but in her private time she creates her own strong perspective through her lens. And finally, Laura attends a live performance by slam-poet and twin-spirited Gabe Calderon, who rocks the world with powerful spoken messages that provoke soul searching.


Episode 5


Wayne Levesque and Yvette Cenerini are two people who started their lives without disabilities, but met with dramatic mishaps that resulted in disabilities that suddenly changed their worlds. Wayne had his arm cut off in an accident at a saw mill and Yvette broke her neck in a swimming accident. But now Wayne is playing guitar and singing and Yvette is quadrapelegic but is a groundbreaking visual artist. They share their experiences as people who have continued their art and have used their disabilities to add depth and dimension to their expressions of music and visual arts. These people help Laura discover some secrets about dealing with her own physical challenges.


Episode 6


"Meegwitch" in Ojibway means "Creator", and "hi hi" is, "thank you". In this episode Laura begins to rejoice and is thankful in how fortunate she and all artists are to have their artistic gifts. She meets JR Bjornson, a blind and anxious stand-up guy, that is also, an up-and-coming stand-up comedian! She also visits the delipitating farm of a groundbreaking visual artist, Candace Lipischak, who brings a fresh application of the saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure". Laura also has an opportunity to visit the museum of an Indigenous hero she's always wanted to know more about, Louis Riel. The season ends with a grand musical finale with a very thankful multicultural choir!