SMALL ISLAND, BIG VOICE: REZ’91 STORYTELLER CONCERT

By on October 7, 2014

by Zeeb Amy King
In our culture storytelling is a way to preserve our history as Anishnaabe people.

Wasauksing First Nation is a small island with a big voice. The fourth annual Storyteller Concert was held at Wasauksing’s community arena in August 2014. The Anishnaabe have a rich history of storytelling which this concert encourages and showcases. The performers who shared the stage are based not only throughout Canada, but also from our own backyard in Wasausking.

DSCF2081
Storyteller Concert Host and honoured storyteller, CBC Video Journalist, Waubgeshig Rice with ReZ’91 broadcaster, Cynthia King, Photo: Caroline Holm
To kick off the evening, Wasauksing’s own—and tremendously talented—Jimmy Dean Walker took to the stage.  Life on the rez has had a significant influence on his lyrics and bluesy storytelling drawl. Other notable entertainers that shared the stage were Deb Misener-Jones, The Michael Granka Band, and Robbie Antone’s Blues Machine. From the 30,000 Islands to Swiss alpine bells, and fiddling that blew the roof off, the Storyteller Concert did not disappoint. Hearing the sweet sounds of music resonating in the arena and across the water makes a person not want to miss this concert—and if you did, better luck next year!
DSCF2094
Jimmy Dean Walker, Photo: Caroline Holm
DSCF2167
Deb Misener-Jones with Wasauksing ensemble, Photo: Caroline Holm
DSCF2183
The Michael Granka Band, Photo: Caroline Holm
In our culture, storytelling is a way to preserve our history as Anishnaabe people. A long time ago the Elders would share stories with our youth, this way we could pass down our teachings and knowledge to future generations. For some Wasauksing youth, it all started with ReZ’91’s tiny radio station located in the village of the community.  Through this inspiration and exposure, some youth have started various small media and production businesses and chose careers in television broadcasting.
As a student in Radio Broadcasting at Seneca College, I received ReZ’91’s Storyteller bursary which has helped me through my studies.  Who would have guessed high-tech headphones would cost close to three hundred dollars?  Chi-Miigwech (Big Thanks) to ReZ’91 for their support and to their volunteers for the many hours of peddling raffle tickets.
DSCF2198
Storyteller’s Audience, Photo: Caroline Holm
This wonderful event could not have been possible without the sponsors, volunteers, community support, and audience. Sponsors included: Rock95, Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario Arts Council, RBC Royal Bank, The Mystic Loon, and last but not least—and certainly my biggest supporters—ReZ’91 and MUSKRAT Magazine from Wasauksing First Nation. A big shout out to Doris Potts-Zyganiuk, Sally Bailey, Cynthia King, and Bernie Drake for their endless volunteer support and enthusiasm, and anyone else I may not know that volunteers their time too.
DSCF2087
Vendor: Hali Tabobondung Photo: Caroline Holm
DSCF2120
Volunteer and former Grand Chief of Anishinabek Nation, John Beaucage sits with youngest concert audience member, Photo: Caroline Holm
The Annual Wasauksing Storyteller Concert will be coming back next year with new over-the-top performances. Performers and volunteers will be as seasoned as Bernie’s (Almost) Famous Burgers. Without sponsors an event like this would not be possible, how would we all fit into Bernie’s kitchen for a burger then? Meat over the fire, to meeting around the fire, this has been the Anishnaabe way throughout our rich history.
DSCF2070
Bernadette Drake Photo: Caroline Holm
DSCF2155
Storyteller Performer, Terry Christenson with ReZ’91 Co-founder and Manager, Vince Chechock, Photo: Caroline Holm
DSCF2246
MUSKRAT Publisher & Editor Rebeka Tabobondung and Writer and Video Journalist, Waubgeshig Rice honoured at the Storyteller Concert, Photo: Caroline Holm
DSCF2303
Robbie Antone’s Blues Machine, Photo: Caroline Holm
DSCF2211
Rez’91 Radio Co-founder and Manager, Anita Chechock and photographer Caroline Holm
DSCF2066
Terry Christenson and Performers, Photo: Caroline Holm
DSCF2313
Robbie Antone, Photo: Caroline Holm

2 Comments

  1. D. Shilling

    October 10, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    I was there and it was fantastic. Great talent, and big hearts.

  2. Josh

    October 10, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Great show!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *