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Rama hosting Gathering Festival of First Nations Stories

Events kick off Friday, May 31 and will feature award-winning authors, Winnipeg performer and much more on Saturday
Chief Lady Bird.

Arts Orillia presents GATHERING: Festival of First Nations Stories, May 31 and June 1, 2024.

Don’t miss this anticipated event with award-winning authors, storytellers and musicians.

Everyone is coming to Rama First Nation as events kick off Friday, May 31 at 7 p.m. with a Story Welcome Circle at Rama Community Hall. Festival host Sherry Lawson and (Gimaa) Chief Ted Willams will lead the community welcome for visiting authors and presenters Alicia Elliott, Armand Garnet Ruffo, Brandon Reid and Drew Hayden Taylor. You’ll also meet Rama First Nation’s own celebrated author and artist, Chief Lady Bird as well as award winning filmmaker Keesic Douglas!

But that’s not all! Stay for the party. Anishinaabe DJ and producer Boogey the Beat will hit the stage at 8 p.m. All the way from Winnipeg, this performer will build percussive heartbeats with passion as he reminds audiences that, “at one time it was illegal for us to sing these songs, play these drums, and go to these ceremonies – now it’s a time for celebration, and for us to take over the main stage.”

Don’t stay up too late! On Saturday June 1, the Sunrise Circle at Victoria Park in Rama starts at 5:30 a.m. and it's followed by a comprehensive day of learning and entertainment back at Rama Community Hall, beginning at 9 a.m.

Enjoy readings with our guest authors, and a session about Indigenous Governance with Christa Big Canoe and Julie Williams. You are also warmly invited to a screening of Welcome Home. A Healing Journey Back to Community created with members of Rama First Nation Binoojiinyag gaa bi giiwejig - Children Who Came Home. Arts Orillia is proud to bring our guest speakers to local elementary and secondary schools as part of Gathering: Festival of First Nations Stories.

See Arts Orillia’s website for a complete schedule. All events are free of charge, but making a reservation is encouraged, to secure your seat. Gathering is made possible through the generous support of private donors along with federal, provincial and corporate funders.

Close to home, we would like to thank Mariposa Folk Foundation for its commitment to Indigenous music artists at Gathering: Festival of First Nations Stories. In addition, many thanks to our supporters at Orillia Community Foundation, City of Orillia, and Rama First Nation.