On September 14-18, 2019, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) Director of National Artist Fellowships, Reuben Roqueñi, participated in an international gathering of the Global First Nations Performance Network in Ottawa, Canada. The initiative is the result of years’ worth of work through the First Nations Dialogues, which currently includes partners from Canada, the United States, and Australia. The group is dedicated to promoting Indigenous performance arts and artists internationally.
Conversations during the meetings centered around expanding opportunities for Indigenous performing artists and companies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, to participate in festivals and presenter programming, residencies, and cultural exchange. The initiative focuses on positive social change through the commissioning, touring and presenting of Indigenous performance. One of its main goals is to build demand and capacity for Indigenous performance within the presenting sector and to seek understanding and collaboration between Indigenous artists and their ally organizations around the world.
Particular attention at the Ottawa gathering was paid to increasing Native-led opportunities, building relationships to Native communities and protocols. NACF’s participation responds to the needs of Native performing artists and provides deeper opportunities for them to benefit from these expanding networks. Amongst the American cohorts were NACF National Artist Fellows Cannupa Hanska Luger and Emily Johnson, as well as representatives from Amerinda, First Peoples Fund, New Native Theater, Pa’I Foundation, Spiderwoman Theater, and Western Arts Alliance.