Intertribal Gathering 2023

About Intertribal Gathering

IPAA’s Intertribal Gathering travels to different communities each year, featuring local artists in Indigenous performance showcases, spotlighting Indigenous leaders in the region and encouraging national artistic leaders to connect with the work emerging across Turtle Island (North America). The Gathering will feature showcase performances by some of Canada’s top Indigenous theatre, dance, and musical performers.

Design by Emma Hassencahl-Perley
Group Photo
IPAA co-hosting international Indigenous gathering. Photo Credit: Michelle-Olson.

#ITG23 – Kjipuktuk (Halifax)

Mark your calendars!

Intertribal Gathering returns in-person on May 10-12, 2023, in beautiful Kjipuktuk, (also known as Halifax).

Kjipuktuk is the Mi’kmaw word for Halifax and loosely translates to “The Great Harbour.” Halifax has been home to the Mi’kmaw people for centuries and we are grateful they are hosting #ITG23 on their territory this Spring.

ITG23 will bring together Indigenous arts-makers and allies to Kjipuktuk for three days of sector-focused discussions, networking, performances, and of course, lobster.

ITG23 will follow the Open Space, non-hierarchical conference model. This means that attendees will have the opportunity to set the discussion topics for the conference. Attendees are encouraged to submit discussion themes as part of the registration process, and these themes will help guide the discussions.

ITG23’s themes are:

Making Good Medicine: How can we as artists and arts professionals come together after 3 years apart, and how can we take care of our mental and physical health going forward?

Building a Stronger Sector: What does the performing arts sector look like after it was completely upended by the pandemic? How do we build a better, more sustainable sector?

ITG23 will also feature showcase performances by some of Canada’s top Indigenous theatre, dance, and musical performers.

IPAA recognizes the generous contributions of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council & The Toronto Arts Council

Open Space Conference Structure

Thursday, May 11

Facilitator: Terri-Lynn Brennan

ITG23 will follow the Open Space, non-hierarchical conference model. Based on the response from our community, #ITG23 will focus on:

  • Wellness
  • Indigenous Spaces
  • Funding & Supports
  • Sovereignty & Self Determination

How does Open Space Work?

Open Space is a social conferencing approach to holding community conversations.
Using self-determination ideals to identify the issues most in need of discussion and
most important to communities as a whole, conversations are tasked to discuss realistic
and timely answers or opportunities to address those issues, in turn strengthening the
cohesion, health and successful progress of that same community.

At the time of registration, attendees were asked what conference ideas they
were most interested to discuss in an Open Space format at this year’s event, based on the
following two questions:

  • Making Good Medicine: How can we as artists and arts professionals come together after 3
    years apart, and how can we take care of our mental and physical health going forward?

  • Building a Stronger Sector: What does the performing arts sector look like after it was
    completely upended by the pandemic? How do we build a better, more sustainable sector?

From those ideas, the event facilitation team (IPAA Board members and event facilitators)
narrowed down themes and/or bundles into 4 broad concepts:


Indigenous Spaces

Funding & Supports

Sovereignty & Self-Determination

After the morning break on Thursday May 11th , participants will be provided with sticky notes to
write down their previous or new questions in relation to each of the bundles (one
question per note). The notes will then be posted in an area of our workshop space that
has each of the bundle themes separated on the walls about the room.
During lunch a bundle facilitator will prioritize the stickies based on most similarly
requested ideas. Participants will then review each of the prioritized bundle questions
and decide on which bundle conversation they would like to join. After lunch 4 bundle
conversations will take place simultaneously during Open Space Session 1 with a
facilitator and recorder team distributed about each of the bundle conversations. The
sessions will have at least 90 minutes to share ideas.

After a break in the sessions, each of the 4 bundle conversations will be repeated in Open
Space Session 2 so that participants can either continue with the discussion they started
in the first Open Space dialogue, or move on to another one of the bundle conversations
for again another 90 minutes. There will be only 2 Open Space Discussions, so
participants may move between groups if they are inspired to learn and share in different

A Graphic Concept artist who will visit the groups throughout each of the circle
conversation opportunities will begin to put images together on how and what is shared
during these discussions, resulting in 4 concept drawings based in the discussions had for
each of the bundle conversations. On Friday May 12th during the Indigenous-Only
Breakout session in the morning, these concept drawings will form the basis of
information and opportunities for IPAA to continue to serve its membership most
effectively over the next year.

Reconciliation in Action: Building Good Relations

Friday, May 12

Facilitator: Brit Johnston

Reconciliation requires action. It’s great to be an ally to your Indigenous friends and peers but it’s even better to be their arm-in-arm accomplice. This workshop is for Canadian performing arts presenters, managers, and other arts workers who are committed to learning better practices for building meaningful and long-lasting relationships with local Indigenous artists, elders, and communities. 

Listen and learn how community connections are being nurtured and sustained; you will come away with new tools and action items to consider in your personal journey as an ally to the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. 

Intertribal: This session is open to everyone.

Brit Johnston (she/her) is an artist, creative producer, and community activator. She was raised on her maternal grandmother’s ancestral territory, Genabaajing Anishinaabek/Serpent River First Nation, ON. Brit studied Theatre and arts management at the University of Ottawa, she specializes in festivals/events, production management, and community engagement best practices. She has worked with notable performing arts organizations including CAPACOA, NAC Indigenous Theatre, Prismatic Arts Festival, and Ottawa Fringe. Her ongoing mission to create space and uplift Indigenous voices has led her to develop a soft power approach to facilitating good relations between artists, organizations, and communities. 

Conference Schedule

Wednesday, May 10

5pmWelcome Feast (catered)Hotel Halifax, Baronet Room
7:30pmDance ShowcaseBus Stop Theatre
2203 Gottingen St

Thursday, May 11

8:30Breakfast (catered)Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
10amIntroductionsMi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
11am-11:30amBreakMi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
11:30am-12:30amOpen Space IntroductionMi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
12:30pmLunch (catered)Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
1:30pmOpen Space Session 1Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
3pmBreakMi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
3:30pmOpen Space Session 2Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
5pmDay 1 Wrap-upMi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
5p-7pDinner BreakAttendees are responsible for their own dinner
7:30pmMusic ShowcaseBus Stop Theatre
2203 Gottingen St

Friday, May 12

8:30amBreakfast (catered)Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
10amSession 3: Two BreakoutsMi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
10amBreakout 1: Indigenous-Only DiscussionMi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
10amBreakout 2: Reconciliation in Action (all welcome)Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
12:30pmLunch (catered)Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
2:30pmFinal discussionsMi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
4:30pmWrap-upMi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
2021 Brunswick St, # 209
7:30pmTheatre ShowcaseBus Stop Theatre
2203 Gottingen St

Registration Info


Wednesday May 10, Thursday, May 11, Friday, May 12, 2023 

  • Programming will begin at mid-afternoon on May 10, so attendees are encouraged to arrive early or the day before.  
  • Programming will conclude the evening of May 12. 

Registration Process:


Once you have registered so, return to this web page to pay your registration fee (if applicable). Then, click the hotel link above to book your hotel, and book your own flight.


Rooms are available at Hotel Halifax at a discounted rate ($164/night) until April 14, 2023 

Click here to book now 


Attendees are responsible for their own travel to and from Halifax


Meals included: Lunch each day, Breakfast Thursday & Friday, Dinner Wednesday


IPAA Members Indigenous Artists, and Indigenous Organizations: Free 

Ally organizations, non-Indigenous Artists & non-members: $225 

Getting to the Hotel

Attendees are responsible for their own travel to and from the hotel.

The fastest way to get to the hotel from the Halifax Airport is via Taxi or Uber. It is approximately a 30 minute journey.

Ride Share

Driver Dave is a form of ride-sharing that costs $38/person ($28/person if two people are travelling).

The airport bus runs twice daily at 2pm & 5pm and must be booked in advance. It costs $29, takes 45-50 minutes, and lets you off at the Via Rail station in downtown Halifax, which is still another 10 min drive from the hotel. Go to Maritime Bus for more info.


Once you have registered, click the PayPal Link below to pay your registration fees. Please check ‘Ship to Billing Address’. We will not actually be shipping anything.

As a reminder, registration is free for IPAA Indigenous Artist Members and IPAA Indigenous Organization members.

Performance Showcases

Each evening, join us for a showcase featuring some of the best Indigenous Talent from across Turtle Island

Hosted by Jessica Brown

Jessica Brown is an award-winning Inuit producer, director, and screenwriter based in St. John’s, NL. Her short documentary “Framed Spirit Song” (2022) had its world premiere at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival. Jessica’s focused on telling Indigenous narratives and improving the representation of Indigenous people in the Canadian entertainment industry. As a filmmaker, Jessica tells authentic stories that will inspire future generations. Her goal is to entertain audiences with engaging narratives while exploring different themes, forms and techniques.

Wednesday, May 10: Dance Showcase

Sarah Prosper

Wisunn na Sarah Prosper (she/they/nekmow), Mikmaw/L’nu e’pite’s of the We’kwistoqnik (Eskasoni) First Nation, tu’s, nuji’j, kwe’jij, nsim, sukwis, aq nitaptut. “Amalkewinu”, began dancing at young age, now a Therapeutic Recreation specialist and MA Leisure student, artistic director of Samqwan and facilitator/curator of workshop “Moving in Mi’kma’ki”. Sarah collaborates, creates, and moves with ms+t no’kmaq, all her relations, in a fluid identity uplifting pursuit, as an Indigenous movement artist. A necessary decolonized approach, in research and in life, Sarah is learning and sharing the sacred knowledge of Indigenous/Mi’kmaq peoples in respect and reciprocity to dance, movement, social sciences & mental health in Mi’kma’ki. 

Sid Bobb + Penny Couchie

Along with his wife and colleague Penny Couchie, Sid is Co-Artistic Director and co-founder of Aanmitaagzi, an indigenous arts organization and center for multi-arts, site-specific works and international collaborations. With community, Sid has been art-making, telling stories and dancing on stage, trains, sidewalks, and on the ice. Since 2010, Penny and Sid are also co-owners and operators of Big Medicine Studio, a 3,000 square foot arts dedicated space on the shores of Lake Nipissing.

Michael R. Denny

Michael R. Denny is Mi’kmaw from the Eskasoni Mi’kmaw Nation, in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. A father, husband and renown traditional singer, Michael R has traveled and shared his music all over Atlantic Canada and beyond.

Michael R. sings traditional Mi’kmaw songs and composes Mi’kmaw powwow songs for his powwow drum group, Stoney Bear Singers. He is passionate about Mi’kmaw culture, songs, dances and language, and their revival.

In 2022, Michael R. traveled to the Vatican in Rome as part of the cultural performances at the Vatican during the Delegation to see the Pope.

Thursday, May 11: Music Showcase

Deantha Edmunds

Deantha Edmunds is Canada’s first Inuk professional classical singer, and an award-winning performer. An urban Inuk, creator, and mentor, Deantha aims to empower Indigenous people and share their stories.

Deantha’s work has international reverberation as well as community integrity. From solo and internationally broadcast performances for His Holiness, Pope Francis in Iqaluit to performing one-woman shows about the lives and legacy of the Beothuk in Newfoundland, and from contributing to large choral gatherings to teaching one-on-one music lessons, Deantha is committed to bringing her music and skill to developing deeper understandings about reciprocal collaboration amongst Indigenous peoples, their musics and settlers. She brings a level of professional excellence to Canada’s Indigenous art scene that is unique and important.

Actively working on creating original works, contributing to other Indigenous productions, and mentoring young Indigenous artists, Deantha sings her heart out and turns heads across Canada and the world.

DeeDee Austin

DeeDee Austin is a 17-year-old Indigenous singer/songwriter from Fall River, NS, whose infectious energy, dynamic stage presence and authentic songwriting is taking audiences by storm!
A two-time award-winner at this year’s NS Music Week, she brought the Awards Show audience to its feet with her stirring “Buried Truth” ballad about residential school survivors.
Over the past year, the busy young artist has been performing across the Maritimes and Ontario and is working on a new album for 2023. Her most recent single is Natural Born Original. She was recently the recipient of the Young Canadian SOCAN Songwriters Award along with the Chief Noel Doucette Youth Achievement Award.
“My goal is to touch the hearts of all my listeners through my realistic lyrics. I pour my heart into everything that I sing and play!”

Urban Surf Kings

Urban Surf Kings are an Indigenous Mohawk/Kanienkeha:ka) led, award winning group based in Halifax, NS.  They continue to honour the tradition of such pioneering Indigenous artists as Link Wray, Pat and Lolly Vegas, and Nokie Edwards.  The band’s music is an instrumental celebration of the instrumental Rock and Roll of our first people.  The goal is to show people that Indigenous music is diverse, and constantly evolving.  

Friday, May 12: Theatre Showcase

Clifton Cremo

Since beginning his career in stand-up comedy four years ago, Clifton Cremo has been entertaining Canadian audiences with his deft brand of storytelling and wry absurdism. Clifton’s perspective on his Mi’kmaw upbringing and his unique outlook on First Nations issues brought him national attention by showing that no matter the divisiveness of an issue, humor can be a common ground.

shalan joudry

shalan is a Mi’kmaw mother and narrative artist working in many mediums: a poet, playwright, podcast producer, storyteller and actor, as well as a cultural interpreter. shalan has worked professionally as an oral storyteller for two decades, weaving in drum songs and movement.

Her first full-length play, Elapultiek, was commissioned and then produced by Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, which toured in 2018 and 2019. Her solo one-woman theatrical show Koqm, winner of the 2023 Merritt Award for Outstanding New Play, debuted at the King’s Theatre, Annapolis Royal in 2021 then toured the province in 2022.

shalan lives in her home territory of Kespukwitk (southwest Nova Scotia) with her family in their community of L’sitkuk (Bear River First Nation) where she is reclaiming her L’nu language and dreaming new projects.

Things to Do in Kjipuktuk

Food & Drink

The Foggy Goggle



Seven Bays Bouldering

Alteregos Cafe & Catering

Mary’s African Cuisine


Kyo Kitchen & Bar

Elle’s Bistro

Lot Six Bar & Restaurant


Weird Harbour

Birds Nest Cafe


Treaty Truck House – Sipeknekatik – Mi’kmaq shop – Halifax waterfront – behind Dave’s
Lobster Halifax

Mi’kmaq Petroglyph – Bedford NS

Peggy’s Cove

Discovery Centre

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Call for Gathering Hosts!

IPAA’s Intertribal Gathering travels to different communities every two years.

If you manage a venue or facility and would like to host the next gathering in your community please let us know by emailing

Sharon Shorty and Harlan Pruden at the Da Kų Cultural Centre, as part of Intertribal Gathering 2018. Photo Credit: Miquel-Dangeli.

Past Intertribal Gathering Host Cities

2013 Ontario Showcase at Cahoots Theatre, Toronto

2014 Prairie Showcase at La Cite, in collaboration with Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company, Saskatoon, SK

2015 Indigenous Language Showcase at Native Earth Performing Arts in collaboration with Aluna Theatre, Toronto

2016 Northwestern Showcase at Da Kų Cultural Centre in collaboration with Aboriginal Curatorial Collective in Haines Junction and Whitehorse, Yukon

2018 Urban and Rural Arts Showcase at Aanmitaagzi (The Big Medicine Studio) in North Bay, ON

2021 Intertribal Gathering, Online Edition

2022 Coming soon!

Fancy shawl dancer
Nyla Carpentier performing at the 2018 Intertribal gathering. Photo Credit: Mique’l Dangeli.

Last Year’s Intertribal Gathering Highlights

March 17 – MUSIC Showcase

  • IPAA Launches Tech Bundles program
  • Showcase: Brothers Wilde – Emerging Artist
  • Community Consultation: Visioning the Future of Indigenous Arts Leaders
  • Artist Talk w/ Beatrice Deer

March 24 – DANCE Showcase

  • Presentation on the Northern Presenters Network
  • Workshop: Virtual Touring for artists and arts managers
  • Showcase: Dakhka Khwaan Dancers
  • Artist Talk w/ Marilyn Jensen
  • Showcase Event – Raven Spirit Dance
  • Artist Talk w/ Raven Spirit
  • Presentation from La Danse Sur Les Routes du Quebec

March 31 – THEATRE Showcase

  • Showcase Event – Bears by Matthew MacKenzie
  • Artist Talk w/ Matthew MacKenzie
  • Presentation from Kevin Loring on Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Center
  • Workshop: Funders update on COVID-19 Strategies
  • Showcase: Gwaandak Theatre Performance Video
  • Artist Talk w/ Colin Wolf of Gwaandak Theatre

A huge thank you to G.R. Gritt for hosting the 2021 online edition of the Intertribal Gathering! Check out their music at: