June is Indigenous History Month and June 21 in particular marks Indigenous Peoples Day. In honour of the day and the Indigenous teachers, artists, creators, activists and others who share their culture and fight for justice in this land, Etalk is celebrating Indigenous changemakers in the “Impact & Influence – Celebrating Indigenous Changemakers” special. Originally aired Tuesday, June 21 on CTV, you can now watch the full story below.
Learn all about the incredible people highlighted in the special and give them all a follow to learn from them and celebrate their work all year long.
Actress, activist, stuntwoman, dancer, influencer – Marika is making her mark on social media and beyond by showcasing her culture and her skills in every format. You can catch her on Instagram and Tiktok showing off her stunt training, her hoop dancing and educating about her Inuk culture. Sila is currently making a documentary about the aftermath of the residential school discoveries.
If you haven't seen Reservation Dogs, what are you even doing? Devery Jacobs is one of the core crew in Taika Waititi's award-winning show and she was just cast in the new Marvel series Echo. Devery is taking Hollywood by storm and showcasing her heritage in every role and red carpet appearance. She began filming on the second season of Reservation Dogs this spring and made her writing debut as a co-writer on episode 4.
Kyana is a content creator, dancer and artist. Originally from Esgenoôpetitj (Burnt Church) First Nation in New Brunswick, she was chosen to be a part of the OVO Mentorship program in Toronto which nutures local BIPOC influencers and artists and gives them the resources to succeed. Kyana is Mi’kmaw and Ojibwe and performed at a Raptors Game earlier this year as part of their Welcome Toronto creators program.
Totem Design House is an Indigenous owned and operated jewelry, home décor, and fine art business that is self-described as "a bold re-imagining of the traditional animal crests of the Northwest Coast Peoples." Haida and Cree siblings Erin and Jesse Brillon grew up surrounded by Indigenous art and the siblings joined forces with acclaimed Northwest Coast artist Andy Everson in 2016 to really get Totem Design House on the map. Today, as it always has been, the brand's focus is on authentic, well-crafted Indigenous art, clothing and jewelery that gives back to the community and spreads their message.
Andy Everson is a well-known Indigenous artist, singer, dancer, writer, historian, anthropologist. He's known for fusing traditional designs with modern pop cutlure in his art (like in his recent Star Wars designs). He's also the designer behind the Every Child Matters logo you've definitely seen on orange shirts.
You may recognize Shanese Indoowaaboo Steele from season one of 1 Queen, 5 Queers (stream now on Crave). Shanese is Métis Nbiising and works as an educator and activist with a focus on allyship, Black and Indigenous solidarity and queer healing. You can see Shanese's work here on Instagram and listen to the podcast "Shanese Anne Blunt Talks" for candid conversations about queer representation, body dysmorphia and the negative impacts of Capitalism.
What can we say about acclaimed singer/songwriter and Officer of the Order of Canada Susan Aglukark? Multi-Juno Winner, recipient of the 2022 Junos Humanitarian Award, Governor General’s Performing Arts Award winner for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. Her more than 25-year career in music is nothing short of extraordinary.
Susan has spoken about how her art has played a significant role in her healing journey and in the re-writing of her narrative. She believes it plays an important role for Indigenous youth who are dealing with contemporary identity issues today. “Our children and youth are strong and resilient, they still believe very strongly in their culture, in Inuit or Indigenous culture, and they are still fighting every day to find their place.”
Singer/Songwriter Alexis Lynn is Caldwell First Nation and finds herself at home in sweet pop anthems with themes of honesty and empowerment. Her major influences are Amy Winehouse and Rihanna and she's in the end stages of dropping a full album shortly. Follow her now and get in her fan club early.
Rocker Tom Wilson is more than just a musician -- he's also an author, artist and the subject of the Beautiful Scars documentary. The doc comes out this year and is based on Wilson's autobiography of the same name. Both explore how he discovered his Mohawk heritage which was hidden from him by his adoptive parents until he was almost 60 years old. He also shares how he reconnected with his culture and built a relationship with his birth mother.