On August 13, 2022, the Asinabka Festival presented a Music Showcase and the second full edition of our groundbreaking 2-Spirit Ball, both in-person and online.
A recording of the Livestream as well as video recordings of performances from the event are available RIGHT HERE ON THIS PAGE (See below!).
✨Two -Spirit Logo by RJ Jones!
2-Spirit is an umbrella term for Indigenous peoples that identify with the LGBTQ+ community. Although it is a contemporary term created in the 90’s, it acknowledges that diverse sexualities and gender roles exist within our Indigenous traditions in North America. We envision that this event will highlight Indigiqueer culture from across Turtle Island and abroad, and that it will celebrate 2-Spirit artists in a variety of practices, such as drag, dance, vogue, music, spoken word, and performance art.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
The Bannock Babes are a collective of Indigenous Drag artists in Winnipeg, Manitoba., which is located on Treaty One territory. Their first event was March 15, 2019 and since then have become a very popular troupe that have garnered the attention of Queen Buffy Ste.Marie following their tribute to the Oscar winning artist. They’ve helped raise funds for several local charities including the 2 Spirit Pow Wow. They have performed for the No Stone Unturned concert in support of MMIW. The Bannock Babes participated in Read By Queens at the Winnipeg Art Gallery during the Kent Monkman exhibit then months later were invited to be part of a mural unveiling by artist Peatr Thomas that was painted with the collaboration of Synonym Art Consultation on an outdoor basketball court in St.Boniface.
The Bannock Babes rung in the new year in a virtual Countdown collaborated with QPOC (Queer People of Color) . In 2021 during this worldwide pandemic the Bannock Babes have taken to social media for their adoring fans. They have participated in a piece which was published for the Canada Arts Magazine and also were asked to view the Born in Power Art Exhibit & share their opinions which will be on the Winnipeg Art Gallery website shortly. Also forthcoming is a CBC News story that was recently recorded. You may not see them making bannock, but these babes who come from 3 different provinces originally are hard to forget.
Te KuraHuia at 22 years of age is already an accomplished film director, weaver, performer and social media influencer. Trying to go from emerging artist to artist, Te KuraHuia has received many awards for her multi talents in hopes to inspire more rangatahi (youth) to aim for the highest peak of their own mountain. Whaia te iti Kahurangi.
In Dec 2021, she was successful in her application for the Creative NZ Toi Tipu Toi Rea Emerging Artist Funding which she has put towards her project “UHA” a Visual EP she directed and produced herself. Uha is an ancient Māori word for woman. A word to reconnect us to the first woman, me aro ki te hā o Hineahuone. I want to teach the importance of our whakapapa by honoring Hineahuone through this project UHA, a Visual EP of 2 Reo Māori songs and 1 special bilingual track encouraging the importance of wahine it contributes to Māori music, Performing arts, toi Māori and Te Reo Māori.
IG & FB: @bbeezxo
Dioganhdih is a Two-Spirit, Haudenosaunee-Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, beat producer hiphop artist and educator. Since Standing Rock, Dio has focused their energy and art towards working with first nations youth and supporting frontline work in indigenous communities across Turtle Island.
In 2021, Dio self released their LP, Rezbien. They are currently engaged in advocacy work on first-nation territories with their collective, Turtle Island Apothecary. Dio is also farming, tending a herb garden and developing an LGBTQIA Haudenosaunee coalition.
Dio's art speaks on topics and lived experiences, of navigating Indigenous sovereignty, the land back movement, ongoing rematriation, decolonization, food sovereignty, and the intersections of two-spirit and LGBTQAI identity. Dioganhdih’s music has been reviewed in The Fader, CBC Music, Afropunk, BitchMedia, APTN’s Digital Drum.
IG & FB: @dioganhdih
The O-Town Packers are comprised of Jak Ammer, Zak Zinya, Ben Dover, Sir Racha, & Miles Zinya. While they are the newest drag king troupe in Ottawa, they have a combined experience of over 25 years performing in Ottawa drag! The group is comprised of a mix of entertaining drag kings that provide fun, funny, sexy & empowering performances for their audiences! The O-Town Packers have a passion for LGBTQ+ advocacy & social justice! They are absolutely honoured to perform at the Asinabka 2-Spirit Ball this year!
Unwinding Collective - An Ottawa collective of artist guided by Erik Alvaro to unwind from daily life. Unique Narratives With Intention Never Derail. The collective is dedicated to using the dance form of Punk,Pose,W^ack-ing to self express and honour the history and heritage of the elders and pioneers that developed this art form.
Churun Meru is an Ottawa-based folklore dance group that promotes Venezuelan and Latin culture in Ottawa. They are named after the Indigenous word for Angels Falls (Salto Angel), the world's highest waterfalls.
ANDRES ACEVEDO BALCAZAR is the first finalist of multicultural Canada 2020, Professional dancer in different types of dance and musical genres, professional decorator and event organizer, instructor from globoflexing , contributor to Capital Rainbow Refuge and advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community
Pedro Diaz From Caracas, Venezuela is our Welcoming Ottawa Ambassador Award 2022, honoured Mr World Multicultural Canada 2021, Mr Bear Ottawa 2019 has been recognized numerous times for his volunteer work and for his contributions to the local community. Since 1993 he has been the director of the Churún Merú Venezuelan Dance Group, which regularly performs in the Ottawa area to promote Venezuelan, Indigenous and 2SLGBTQ issues. In 2018 Pedro received the OC150 Community Award which recognized 150 individuals for exceptional contributions to the Ottawa community.
Emilio Escobedo originally from the state of Hidalgo Mexico, began singing at the age of 7 and has participated in contests and private events. He is currently part of the Ballet Aztlan Mèxico and delights all the public that follows them! He is also a successful businessman from the National Canada region! His taste for singing was discovered from his childhood and it is his passion, his therapy, his everything! "" When I sing it makes me connect with myself in different emotions that music brings! Follow your dreams!
My name is Daniela Arroyo Torres, originally from Guatemala, born in the Maya cradle, Peten, the Q'chiq indigenous region, proud of my roots. I have participated in events at the Capital Rainbow Refuge.
Jelly Stone is Ottawa's newest bearded drag sensation. Returning to town after being seen at Toronto Pride on the Queer as Folk stage and marching with LCBO and Smirnoff for the parade. And she participated to cornwall pride compitition and won the second place, She has had countable performances here in Ottawa and we are happy to welcome her to the stage -- Jelly Stone
Quanah Style is Canada’s most infamous two-spirit trans artist. Hailing from the cree nation. Star of "Quanah TransOp" on wow presents and season 2 of “Canada's a Drag” on CBC. She recently shot her first feature film role in a movie called “Broken Angel,” and is in production on a few new TV projects slated for later this year.
One part fearless ClubKid and another part powerhouse entertainer. Ms. Style has blazed a train from coast to coast. From Vancouver to Toronto & LA. She has garnered attention and there are few dance floors who haven't felt her presence. From her outfits and makeup, to her music and show stopping performances, Quanah has proven she is a force to be reckoned with as a groundbreaking artist. Her debut album was listed as Billboard’s top 10 dance albums of 2020. She has opened for Snotty nose rez kids, Hallucination, Peaches, Buffy St.Marie, Bif Naked and more+
IG & FB: quanahstyle
Miesha & The Spanks are known for their bold and explosive sound, the pair deliver a fun and raucous slice of garage-rock gold, brimming with vibrant textures.
Miesha Louie is a mixed-Secwépemc artist living in Treaty 7 Territory, and The Spanks are the many drummers who’ve stood beside her on stage. Sean Hamilton is her latest and longest partner, and together they’ve spent the last 5 years building and embellishing their garage-rock sound into something almost too big for two people to contain.
Deeply influenced by proto-punk classics like The Runaways, MC5, Stooges, and 90s riot grrrl/grunge like L7 and The Gits, Miesha & The Spanks conjure an energy that hits you in the face, throwing you into a world of killer riffs and sweaty gig venues. And it’s in those sweaty spaces that Miesha & The Spanks thrive, fresh off the highway, out of the van, and onto the stage.
IG & FB: @mandthespanks
Ojibwave began in November 2020, they are a musical group consisting of Joanna Burt (non-status First Nations Anishinaabe) and JT Rivera (Filipino Canadian). Through their music, they aim to share their feelings with the world, with the hopes of making it a better place. As Joanna is First Nations, a lot of the messages behind our music are reflected in the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Beyond lyrical content, Ojibwave sets out to create music that speaks to
them, looking to their respective cultures for inspiration. Their latest single that they are working on, titled "Warrior" combines traditional pow wow singing with synthwave and metal undertones. Our goal is to continue blurring the line between these genres to create art that is not only unique, but powerful.
Ojibwave’s most important goal is to drive positive social change through their music. Their most recent single "Belong" is about gaslighting racism, and how they feel as oppressed individuals in today’s society. Racism is a constant that deeply upsets them and having the will to fight and endure is important above all. With every message they share, they wish to project our positive outlook, while addressing the darkness that lies within all people.
Melody McKiver’s (they/them) is a two-spirit Anishinaabe musician, composer, and grass dancer, and proud member of Obishikokaang Lac Seul First Nation. Their sound integrates electronics with Western classical music to shape a new genre of Anishinaabe compositions.
They are the current recipient of the Canada Council's Robert Flaming Prize awarded annually to an exceptionally talented young Canadian composer, and a recurring invited participant in the Banff Centre for the Arts’ Indigenous Classical Music gatherings. A frequent performer across Turtle Island, Melody has performed at the National Arts Centre, Luminato Festival, Vancouver’s Western Front, and the Toronto International Film Festival. They have shared stages with Polaris Prize winners Lido Pimienta, Tanya Tagaq, and Jeremy Dutcher, and performed with acclaimed filmmaker and musician Alanis Obomsawin.
IG & FB: melodymckivermusic
Ziibiwan (they/them) is Anishinaabe from Wikwemikoong, and based in Tkaronto (Toronto). An electronic music producer with a no-holds barred approach to production. Their music is an expansive vision of cyclical temporalities and inner explorations rooted in Indigenous consciousness. Their etheral sonics open into deeply hypnotic spaces, where land, sky and deep sea meet.
IG & FB: ziibiwan
Bryan Wolf Ear for over 20 years, has honed his craft as a DJ and Producer, he is Indigenous, a member of Siksika Nation, and represents one of Montreal's elite musical underground talents. A lifelong passion for music and dedication building his label, Strange Town Recordings, he is a champion of the underground which has earned him a residency at the world-renowned Salon Daomé. In recent years Bryan's capabilities and expertise have unquestionably begun to be recognized by big names within the industry, opening up for artists, Booka Shade, Miss Melera, Pole Folder and Isolée.
Dayna Danger is a 2Spirit, Métis–Anishinaabe (Saulteaux)–Polish, hard femme who was raised in Treaty 1 territory, homeland of the Metis. As a visual artist, activist and drummer, her focus remains on Indigenous visual and erotic sovereignty and uplifting 2Spirit, trans and non-binary kin.
Nico Williams, ᐅᑌᒥᐣ (b. 1989) is Anishinaabe and member of Aamjiwnaang First Nation community. He is currently working in Tiohtià:ke | Mooniyang | Montréal. He has a multidisciplinary, often collaborative practice that is centered around sculptural beadwork.
David White Deer Charette is Ojibwe from Wikwemikong, a two-spirit powwow dancer, a beadwork artist, and he has bean singing since he was 12 years old. Over the past few years he has been performing as a solo Indigenous drum artist.
Janelle Niles is a Black - Mi’kmaq woman from Sipekne'katik, Nova Scotia. She launched her comedy career in January 2019 in Ottawa, ON. Exploding in the nation's capital with her indigenous comedy show Got Land? Janelle aims to communicate solidarity through humour and laughter. Her dream is to perform for Just For Laughs in Montreal and one day tour Turtle Island. You can catch her on CBC Gem’s New Wave Of Stand-up Season 2, she has also performed with the Arctic Comedy Festival in Iqaluit, Nunavut alongside her peers. appeared on APTN’s Indigenous Day Live 2022 on Lumi. Janelle’s humour is described as eccentric and captivating.
Randy Schmucker (he/him) is a comic, artist, and performer residing in the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Anishinabek (also known as Ottawa). Randy brings a unique point of view that plays on his experiences as a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, as well as his mixed background of both Anishinaabe and European ancestry. Randy began his comedic career in 2019 with the first ever iteration of the Indigenous comics show: Got Land? and the Fresh Meat Festival. He has since performed for the Asinabka Film Festival, Pique, the undercurrents festival, and in the Got Land? Just For Laughs Showcase at Ottawa’s YukYuk’s. Randy finds comedy as a source to bring people together, relate to one another, and to justify his flamboyant and (sometimes very) meta sense of humour.
Mel Lefebvre is a métis, nehiyaw, nakota, saulteaux, french, and irish mother, community worker, researcher, writer, visual artist, traditional tattoo practitioner and phd student at concordia university focused on healing, decolonization, and (re)connection for Indigenous 2SLGBTQIA+ and Indigenous women. working closely with the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, mel is vice president of the board, advocating for the safety of Indigenous people as well as Indigenous representation, education, and employment.
Sheri Osden Nault is a Métis visual artist, community activist, and educator. They work across mediums including sculpture, performance, beading, Indigenous tattoo revival, and more. Their work speaks to their experiences as Métis and queer, while focused on human and non-human relationships in a multitude of ways. They use their platform and art practice to share knowledges and medicines, and to support Two-Spirit youth when they are able. Through their work, they strive to build towards and acknowledge a future rich in kinship sensibilities, Two-Spirit wisdom, traditional and contemporary Indigenous art forms, and intersectional commitments of care and responsibility.
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