OKOTOKS

Okotoks tells the story of Holy Bear Woman, a young Blackfoot girl who survived the Baker massacre in 1870. It will leave you breathless with awe at her resilience, proof of which is seen in the fact that her bloodline has survived. Justin Many Fingers is one of her many descendants. Take a journey with him as he tells this epic story of his grandmother through his art form.

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Okotoks Cast and Crew

Justin Many Fingers

Director

Oki Niistoo Niitanikoo Misuniniskum (I am Long time Buffalo Rock). My name is Justin Many Fingers, my Parents are Marvin and Trina Many Fingers. My grandparents are the late Gordon and Loretta Many Fingers, and Herman Heavy Shields and Isabel Black Water. I am a Blackfoot performing artist from the Kanawa Nation in Southern Alberta.

For many years I have been working with several performing arts organizations both national and internationally, Native and Non-Native, mentoring with its leaders on the artistic and managing forefront. The amount of skills sets that have been passed down to me will be my rooting system to continue pushing through innovation and excellence.

I am very proud to be the Artistic Director at Making Treaty 7. My vision and focus are to continue to bring forward the voices and stories of the Blackfoot people and with our brothers and sisters of the Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nation through the artists and the elders.

My artistic mission is to work together with the existing arts organizations here in Mohhkintstis (Calgary) and to bring this city to the national playground for Indigenous arts on Turtle Island and also to host our relatives from overseas.

As the artistic leader I am committed to create original works as well as presenting productions and create a path for theatre, dance, and music in forms of festivals annually. I also see the amount of unique visual artists from this territory and want to work closely with them to hold space for their work and offer opportunities these artists deserve.

Stephanie Brave Rock 

Elder Mother

Stephanie Brave Rock (Natoyi Ksitikii’aakii) Holy Beaver Woman, is a traditional knowledge keeper of the Kainai tribe which is part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Stephanie has been involved in many contemporary and modern ways of singing. For the past 30 years Stephanie considered herself a professional in the music industry. She has been successful in small productions and helping in many industries involving her singing abilities. Stephanie enjoys being utilized and being recognized for her singing talents Stephanie would also like to leave her audience and the future generations with a sense of pride of who we are as Blackfoot people. She is also a proud mother of two beautiful children. 

 

JC Charlton 

Sgt Baker

JC Charlton is an actor and theatre creation artist based in Calgary, Alberta. JC is a University of Lethbridge alumni with degrees in education and fine arts. He has dedicated his career to acting and the development of new Canadian works. Selected theatre credits include; (Kaahsinnoniks, dir. Justin Many Fingers), (Moon, Moon, No Moon, dir. Blake Brooker), (Come Home, dir. JC Charlton), (Okotoks, dir. Justin Many Fingers), (The Bear, dir. JC Charlton), (509, dir. Justin Many Fingers). 

 

Mark Kunji Ikeda 

Man 1

Mark ‘Kunji’ Ikeda creates using serious play; investigating the rigour of enjoyment, and the enjoyment of rigour. Based in Calgary Alberta, Ikeda has been labelled an artistic chameleon whose artistic inquiries have spanned multiple disciplines including spoken word, playwrighting, clown, and contact improvisation. His unique brand of thoughtfully dynamic Dance Theatre has earned national renown and multiple award recognitions. Ikeda was part of the original creative team of Making Treaty 7 and is honoured to be back with the company as a creator and steward of this role. As the Artistic Director of Cloudsway Dance Theatre, Ikeda’s fearless political works have examined toxic masculinity, artistic political manipulation, and the Japanese Internment of WWII. His work continues to tour nationally, including Sansei: The Storyteller which has been featured in the High Performance Rodeo, the Powell Street Japanese Festival, and theatres across Western Canada.  

 

Christopher Mejaki 

Man 2

Christopher is Ojibway/Odawa from the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian territory on Manitoulin Island, ON. He is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Acting Program(2018) and also a graduate of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre(2015). His most recent credits include; Vimy – Mike/Claude (James MacDonald/Western Canada Theatre) Ioskeha and Tawiscara: The Great Creation Game – Dancer (Pierre Paul Savoie/The First Peoples Festival), and Sky Dancers: The Quebec Bridge Disaster – Dancer (Barbara Diabo/The Segal Centre). Christopher is a grass, hoop, and fancy dancer, enjoys playing hockey(Go Leafs Go!), and would like to explore playwriting in the future.

 

Nicole Joy-Fraser 

Holy Bear Woman

Nicole Joy-Fraser (Bear Clan-Cree, Métis, Denezaa -Treaty 8 and Settler Hertitage) began her career as a top soprano for The Nathaniel Dett Chorale while completing her graduating year at Toronto’s Randolph Academy. Less than a year later she was cast in the Original Toronto cast of Mamma Mia! which followed with a US Tour and inspired her to pack her bags and travel to London, England. Nicole eventually made her West End debut in the multi-award-winning “Jerry Springer-the Opera” and settled in the U.K. for several years. Being an adoptee, she yearned to make her way back to Turtle Island and find out more about her Indigenous roots and is thankful for the Toronto Aboriginal Community, Native Earth, Red Sky and Unsettled Scores for helping her reclaim her identity. Other selected credits include; “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” (UK Tour & Athens, Greece), “Giiwedin-A First Nations Opera”, (Native Earth/Indien Rights), “The Penelopiad” (Nightwood), “Evangeline” (Charlottetown Festival), “Stag and Doe”, “Ipperwash” (Blyth Festival) and most recently “Baroness Von Sketch” (CBC). Nicole lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario with her partner and son and has been carving out cultural community work with various organizations in the Niagara Region promoting and sharing Indigenous ways of knowing. 

 

Zach Running Coyote 

Man 3

Zach Running Coyote: Indigenous/Truth Teller/Child of Creator/Follower of the Jesus way. Telling stories of truth before reconciliation, stories of redemption of broken humans to each other, Mother Earth, and Creator. His folk musical “Kohkum & me” about a young man on the Greyhound bus who meets an old Native woman who claims to be Jesus, will play at Calgary’s Motel Theatre June 4-8! 

 

Claire Bolton

Assistant Stage Manager

Claire is honoured to be a part of this production and help share this important story. Past stage management credits include: Unganisha (Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre), Dracula: The Bloody Truth (apprentice); Our Man In Havana (apprentice) (Vertigo Theatre), Kaahsinnoniks (ASM) (Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society), Figaro’s Wedding; Mary Poppins (ASM) (Cowtown Opera), 1984; Citizen Smee (Co-SM) (Scorpio Theatre), King Lear; Julius Caesar; All’s Well That Ends Well; Richard III (The Shakespeare Company/Hit & Myth Productions), An Impossible Question Means A Journey; Curious George (Alberta Dance Theatre), Reefer Madness (Front Row Centre). Claire is a graduate of the University of Calgary, Co-Artistic Director of Full Circle Theatre, and a member of Quest Theatre’s Artist in Residency Program and Calgary Opera’s Let’s Create an Opera Program.

 

Neil Fleming 

Lighting/Set

Neil is delighted to be part of the Okotoks artistic team helping Justin bring this story to life. Primarily a playwright, Neil sometimes likes to stretch his theatrical design muscles. Some past design credits include: Gruesome Playground Injuries (Ground Zero, Hit & Myth), A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream (CYPT), The Vajayjay Monologues (Pot of Jam, Urban Curves), Shopaholic Husband Hunt (Lunchbox Theatre), Almost Perfect Thing, Kitchen Witches, In A World Created By A Drunken God, The Attic, the Pearls, and Three Fine Girls (New West Theatre), And So It Goes, Goodness, Bone Cage, Arm’s Length Embrace (Downstage).

 

Rio Mitchell

Production Manager

Rio Mitchell is a documentary theatre and filmmaker exploring land-based relations; unique stories of people, which may overlap to tell the story of a Place. 

Rio was the late Michael Green’s associate producer and production manager in development of Making Treaty 7, and previously served as the founding creative producer for the Indigenous speaker series REDx Talks. She was the field producer with Hidden Story Productions in the creation of the Indigenous new-media content for the human history wing of the new Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, including an immersive 360 projection experience, and 29 short documentaries about contemporary Indigenous Alberta.  

Most recently, Rio directed the CBC documentary Fox Chaser, which is nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Program. 

 

 

Edgardo Moreno

Sound Designer

Edgardo Moreno is a composer that has been commissioned for projects in Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Sweden, Argentina, England and USA. He has written scores for films produced by CBC, Bravo, City TV, NFB, OMNI, Ontario Arts Council, History Channel, TVO. He has worked extensively with indegenous contemporary dance choreographers and artists including Penny Couchie, Alejandro Ronceria, Rulan Tangen, Muranko Starr, Carlos Rivera, Sara Roque. He is presently working in creating video and live sound pieces that are part of his Fireflyproject. Hi Film Double Exposure has screened in various film festival across Canada and will be part of exhibitions in Ontario in the coming months. www.musicamoreno.com www.fireflyproject.ca

 

Nova Lea Thorne

Stage Manager

Nova Lea is pleased to be working on a new project with the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society and Niitsitapi Dance Theatre . She first enjoyed getting to know the team while working on We Are All Treaty People, a collaboration between the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society and Quest Theatre. She is grateful to have continued working with Making Treaty 7 on both Kaahsinnoniks and Kiitistsinnoniks in 2018. For many years, a large part of her season has been filled with the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show (1999-2019). Her career has also kept her busy working on such shows as I Met a Bully on the Hill, My Grandmas Eyes, The General, Baloney! (Quest Theatre); That’s Danger (Work Plays Schools Program); That Men May Fly (Lunchbox Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Theatre Calgary), Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You and The Actors Nightmare (The Citadel Theatre), Private Lives (Northern Light Theatre). She also enjoyed the opportunity to return to her home province to work on The Hobbit (Theatre New Brunswick).

 

Alejandro Ronceria

Dramaturege

Alejandro Ronceria is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning director/choreographer/producer based in Toronto.  As well as personal work, he has directed and produced theatrical productions nationally and internationally. Ronceria is also the founding Artistic Director of the first Aboriginal Dance Program in North America at The Banff Center for the Arts. During his 5-year tenure, the groundbreaking program brought together diverse Indigenous and Inuit performers from across Canada, the USA, Mexico; Greenland and New Zealand. He continues to work today as a director and dramaturge for numerous Indigenous productions in the Americas. Ronceria has also directed films that have premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Sundance. Classically trained in ballet in Colombia, he holds a MFA in Dance Dramaturgy from York University.