Indigenous Artist

Columpa won the Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for best actress for her lead role in The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and was nominated for a Jessie for Best Supporting Actress and Best Ensemble Cast for Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth (Firehall Arts Centre). She was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Actress for Sixty Below (Native Earth). Columpa is entering her fourth year as Director of Aboriginal Training and Mentorship at MTYP.


  • Columpa has been an active arts practitioner for twenty-four years. Her most recent stage venture was as Maddy in Theatre Projects Manitoba’s production of Coocoosh, written by the late Doug Nepinak. It was an empowering experience, and the deepest honour to be involved with Coocoosh. Other notable acting credits include Manitoba Theatre for Young People’s Canadian premiere production of The Hobbit, the FireHall Arts Centre’s award winning production of the Ecstasy of Rita Joe for which she won the Jesse Richardson Award for her portrayal as Rita Joe, and the Native Earth Performing Arts Inc. production of Sixty Below, for which she was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award in the category of Best Performance in a Lead Role.
  • Some of her writing credits include Singing Shards, a Parks Canada/Manitoba Theatre for Young People collaboration, Jumping Mouse, which was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award in the category of Best Production, Youth Category. She has written many more plays that have been produced across the country and overseas, including The Race, which was toured to New Zealand, as well as co-writing a sketch comedy extravaganza titled, A House Fell on Our Sister with Winnipeg’s own Leith Clark. Together as Peg-Head Produckshons and Leithelle Productions, they produced this at the 2005 Winnipeg Fringe Festival.
  • As an instructor, Columpa has taught theatre for young people as well as for those at the post- secondary levels across Canada. The last full time faculty position she held before moving to Winnipeg was at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto. Some of the recurring classes include the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival Circus and Magic Camp, both the Northern and Winnipeg locations. She has also been the Artistic Director and lead Instructor of Manitoba Theatre for Young People’s Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program since its inception in 2002.
  • Columpa is also one of the founding members of the Indigenous Peoples Arts Alliance (IPAA) a national Aboriginal arts service association. She is one of the founding members of the Eastern Empowerment through the Arts Facilitators who spearheaded and developed an holistic approach to healing through the arts in 1992 by combining therapeutic counseling, and theatre-based self-empowerment techniques in tandem, as a tool for personal and community empowerment. ☼ Grassroots organizations, First Nations communities and alcohol and drug treatment centres are among some of the types of communities and organizations she has worked with over the years. For three of those years, she partnered with The Jesuits of Upper Canada and worked with an Aboriginal community that was crippled by the terrors of residential school. This community shall remain undisclosed at their request.
  • As well, her relationship with one treatment centre spanned several years as well. Columpa has worked across the country as an empowerment through the arts facilitator as well as in the U.S. Most notable is the work she did with the Oneida Nation in Green Bay.
  • Columpa has spoken as a guest and keynote speaker at many conferences over the years, and continues to do so. She spent several year speaking and performing at the Women in Wellness conferences in Guelph, Kitchener, and Toronto Ontario.
  • She has worked with Aboriginal communities throughout the province of Manitoba. She has worked as a Drama and clown instructor for the Circus and Magic Partnership (C.A.M.P.) program with the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival for the past eleven years in Winnipeg Manitoba and has worked in the same capacity for the Northern C.A.M.P. component for the last seven years. She has also worked two of the annual Northern Storytellers Festival in Thomspon as a drama instructor, and writing facilitator.
  • She has taught for the Morden High School Drama Department. She has instructed at least ten schools throughout Winnipeg; the students ranging from kindergarten to grade 12. She has partnered with the Urban Circle Training Centre to teach drama, photography, videography, and writing skills to the students who then created a show about the history of Selkirk Avenue from an Aboriginal perspective. Columpa has worked as an instructor at various levels. She continues to work with students from Winnipeg School Division 1, inner city and north end community youth as well as Northern Aboriginal Communities. The Aboriginal Arts Training & Mentorship Program in now 247 students strong, and is the largest and most extensive program of its kind across the country.


First Nations


Coastal Salish