First Nations Dialogues

January 5-12 2019 in Lenapehoking (New York City)

Credit: Joshua Pether in Jupiter Orbiting Photo: Adele Wilkes

Credit: Joshua Pether in Jupiter Orbiting Photo: Adele Wilkes

This is an Indigenous led program. All are welcome.

 The First Nations Dialogues Lenapehoking/New York, is a series of Indigenous led performances, discussions, workshops and ceremony. It is an initiative that provides unprecedented exposure, and a focus upon Indigenous performing arts and artists based in Canada, the U.S., and Australia in partnership with multiple contemporary live performance platforms across the spectrum of New York City. First Nations Dialogues kick-starts the development of the groundbreaking Global First Nations Performance Network (GFNPN), a pilot initiative focused on cultural change through the commissiong, touring, and presenting of Indigenous performance and building demand and capacity for the same within the presenting sector.

Running January 5 - 12, First Nations Dialogues is in partnership with The Lenape Center, Amerinda, American Indian Community House, Abrons Arts Center, American Realness, Danspace Project, Gibney Dance, La MaMa, Performance Space New York, Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective, Under the Radar, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), and the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA).

First Nations Dialogues Lenapehoking/New York is organized by Emily Johnson, Vallejo Gantner and BlakDance

Programs are public except where noted.

Tëmikèkw, An honoring and welcome gathering hosted by First Nations Dialogues with The Lenape Center

January 5th: 12:30-4pm
Danspace Project
131 E. 10th St.
New York, NY 10002

Hosted by First Nations Dialogues with The Lenape Center, presented at Danspace Project

First Nations Dialogues commences in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland; through protocol and ceremony, welcoming global First Nations leaders, artists, and allies. The afternoon honors leaders and grandmothers of Indigenous theater: Muriel Miguel and Gloria Miguel of Spiderwoman Theater and Diane Fraher (Osage/Cherokee) of Amerinda. The SilverCloud Singers will be led by Kevin Tarrant of the Hopi and HoChunk Nations; with performances by Laura Ortman of the Apache Nation; fancy shawl dancer, Anatasia McAllister of the Colville Confederated Tribes and Hopi Nation; Brent Michael Davids of the Stockbridge Munsee community; round-dance led by Lenape drummer George Stonefish. Feast generously prepared by Anne Apparu.

All are welcome to join in this afternoon of exchange, performance offerings, and feast.

First Nations Dialogues acknowledges with great gratitude the naming of this gathering, Tëmikèkw.

First Nations Dialogues: Global First Nations Performance Network (GFNPN) workshops and discussion

January 6th, 7th, 8th
*invite only
Abrons Art Center
466 Grand St.
New York, NY 10002

Closed work sessions for presenters in the GFNPN and First Nations Artists focused on creating a new pillar of much-needed infrastructure and resources for Indigenous artists and developing education systems and protocols for presenting organizations.

This transnational network is designed to create new opportunities for production and dissemination of Indigenous performance internationally, to overcome the historic under-representation of such work in the U.S. and the dearth of support for international artistic exchange between Indigenous communities globally. The Global First Nations Performance Network is an unprecedented initiative that seeks understanding and collaboration between Indigenous artists and their ally organizations around the world.

First Nations Dialogues: KIN

January 5th-10th, see details below
Performance Space New York
150 1st Ave
New York, NY 10009

KIN centers radical forms of care, consent, reciprocity, and love. For KIN, Johnson invites five First Nation Australian artists and local NYC-based elder Muriel Miguel from the Kuna and Rappahannock Nations to share performance works and related conversations, engaging practices of kinship and power. These artists and their Indigenous knowledge systems work through generosity and acknowledgment of present and past to transmute injustice and grief. They offer a commitment and ask for participation toward a shared, healing future.

Curator: Emily Johnson

With Joshua Pether, S.J Norman, Mariaa Randall, Genevieve Grieves, Paola Balla, Muriel Miguel.

Produced by Performance Space New York in partnership with First Nations Dialogues, BlakDance, Global First Nations Performance Network, and American Realness. Supported by the Barragga Bay Fund with additional support by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.



Jupiter Orbiting

Performance | U.S. Premiere
January 5 | 7pm
January 6 | 3pm
$15/Free for First Nations people
Tickets here

The work of the artist, who is of Kalkadoon heritage but lives on Noongar country in Western Australia, is influenced by his two cultural histories, indigeneity and disability. His latest work, Jupiter Orbiting, involves an immersive sci-fi narrative which invites the viewer into a powerful encounter with dissociation and trauma.


Karyn Recollet
Care, Kinship, and the Realness of Lands' Overflows into the Celestial

Co-commissioned by American Realness and Yale's Theater Magazine, presented by Gibney, in partnership with First Nations Dialogues and Global First Nations Performance Network

January 6, 12:00pm
Gibney, The Theater, 280 Broadway (Entrance at 53A Chambers Street)
FREE with 

This gathering activates ‘kinstillatory’ as an ethic and mode of survivance for Indigenous gathering that evokes futurist gestures of embodying dark matter (our own between spaces) that are the building blocks for kin-in-the-making. What are the desired intentions, ethics, practices and forms of a kinstillatory gathering in Lenape territory? What are the connecting tissues (the dark matter) of an alternative land pedagogy based upon urban Indigenous folx land relations. We explore the practices and protocols of kin-ing, land-ing and involved in the conceptualization of ‘Choreographies of the fall’ (Recollet, 2018). This experience provides an opportunity to share and exchange knowledges and vocabularies (gestural, movement based and other arts informed practices) for the celestial in the body; and in our gatherings.

Karyn Recollet is Associate Professor at the University of Toronto’s Women & Gender Studies Institute, and is a Cree woman originally from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. Her research and writing explores Indigenous performance, hip-hop culture, and Indigenous hip hop feminism, with a particular focus on new Indigeneities produced in urban hub spaces as they shape solidarity movements and social activism. 


Katina Olsen

Hosted by Gibney in partnership with First Nations Dialogues and Global First Nations Performance Network

January 7, 4 - 6pm
Gibney. 280 Broadway (Entrance at 53A Chambers Street)
$17 (general)

Katina Olsen is a proud Wakka Wakka and Kombumerri woman who also has Norwegian, German and English ancestry. Katina’s choreographic interests interrogate her Indigenous cultural dance and story through various forms including theatre, moving sculpture, film and installation.

Katina’s class is a bit of old school and a bit of new school: joyful moving sequences, finding breath and connection to the earth, encouraging fluidity of the spine. Katina creates a playful class that makes you sweat and is a pleasure for body and spirit.


Paola Balla, Genevieve Grieves, Emily Johnson

January 6 | 5pm
January 8 and 10 | 4pm
Free with RSVP

Kin Conversation 1: Center of Center of Center

Kin Conversation 2: Uqamaltaciq, the weight of something

Kin Conversation 3: Qailluqtarr, to act, change or deal with things in various ways - some of which are hard to explain

Guided by First Nations artists and scholars—Paola Balla, a Wemba-Wemba and Gunditjimara woman based in Melbourne; Genevieve Grieves, a Worimi woman from Southeast Australia based in Melbourne; and Emily Johnson, a Yup’ik woman from Alaska based in New York City—this series of conversations threads through KIN and, like KIN, it weaves through trauma, violence, and history with a generous resolve for the present and future—a commitment to generosity, positive motion, and the kind of deep love that moves forward like the undercurrent of the East River, the Birrarung, the Mnisose. Audiences are encouraged to attend all three conversations if possible, as they are accumulative.



Spiderwoman Theater: Muriel Miguel

Pulling Threads Fabric Workshop

January 7 | 3-9pm
Free with RSVP

Led by Muriel Miguel of the Kuna and Rappahanock – one of the founders of the legendary Indigenous women’s theater company Spiderwoman Theater – the Pulling Thcreads Fabric Workshop invites participants to share stories and listen, to stitch together that which has been ripped apart, through storytelling and quilting and to engage with personal and community stories of violence, healing, and ultimately, renewal. The workshop is open to female identified people only.


Jackson Polys
Manifest X

Co-commissioned by American Realness and Yale's Theater Magazine, presented by Gibney, in partnership with First Nations Dialogues and Global First Nations Performance Network

January 8 | 4pm
Gibney, The Black Box, 280 Broadway (Entrance at 53A Chambers Street)

Given our readymade settler colonialism as a public secret, that when probed, amplifies the proliferation of attendant fears that create sites of paralysis — quagmires of cultural appropriation, occlusion, imposter syndrome, inappropriate speech and empathic overreach — what routes for the production of movements can escape impinging on Indigenous bodies and their accomplices? Summoning red flags, Jackson Polys, supported by a host of proxies in a multimedia lecture performance, targets the aporias formed by desiring indigeneity.

Jackson Polys  is Tlingit and lives and works between what are currently called Alaska and New York. His work examines the limits and viability of desires for Indigenous growth.  He began carving with his father, Tlingit artist Nathan Jackson, from the Lukaax.ádi Clan of the Lk̲óot K̲wáan, and had solo exhibitions at the Alaska State Museum and the Anchorage Museum before receiving a BA in Art History and Visual Arts, and an MFA in Visual Arts, both from Columbia University.


S.J Norman

Cicatrix 1 (that which is taken/that which remains)

Performance | World Premiere
January 8 | 7:30pm
Tickets here

S.J Norman is a non-binary Koori live artist and writer. Cicatrix 1 (that which is taken/that which remains), specially made for KIN, is a chain of actions, woven from the syncretic tissues of buried rites for mourning and remembrance. In particular, Cicatrix 1 considers the collision of Indigenous, queer and trans bodies with state power, specifically the abuse and obliteration of those bodies by the carceral state. A long- durational ritual unfolding over approximately 4 hours, Cicatrix 1 begins with the lighting of a medicinal fire and concludes with an outdoor, midnight procession.


Lead artist: S.J Norman
Performers: Carly Sheppard, Emily Johnson, Mykaela Saunders
Live tattooing: Holly Mititquq Nordlum
Sound: Naretha Williams
Video: Sam Icklow
Data-mapping/back piece design: Kiesia Carmine


Vicki Van Hout

Hosted by Gibney in partnership with First Nations Dialogues and Global First Nations Performance Network

January 9 | 10am - 12pm
Gibney, 280 Broadway (Entrance at 53A Chambers Street)
$17 (general)

Vicki Van Hout is an Australian First Nations interdisciplinary contemporary performance maker of Wiradjuri, Dutch, Afghan and English descent whose disciplines include dance, film and instillation. Vicki is a graduate of the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association College of Dance (NAISDA), Australia’s premier Indigenous tertiary dance institution and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance NYC. Vicki considers her most memorable engagement as one of the performer/choreographers for the first Indigenous opening of Parliament preceding the national apology to the stolen generations in 2007.

Vicki's class consists of a dynamic progressive sequence of exercises reflective of diverse Australian Indigenous vocabularies including those languages developed from both desert and coastal remote communities. The premise of flight or fight is a major underpinning principal and expressed through various stomps and quick shifts of weight with tasselled extremities reflecting the use of various costume properties. This distinctive language has been the primary aesthetic underpinning recent NAISDA graduates, many of whom have secured places with Bangarra including Wanengga Blaco, Ryan Rearson and Beau Dean Riley Smith and by notable Australian independents including Thomas Kelly, Caleena Sansbury, Henrietta Baird and Raghav Handa.


Thomas E.S. Kelly

Hosted by Gibney in partnership with First Nations Dialogues and Global First Nations Performance Network

January 9 | 4 - 6pm
Gibney, 280 Broadway (Entrance at 53A Chambers Street)
$17 (general)

Thomas is a proud Bundjalung Yugambeh, Wiradjuri, Ni-Vanuatu man. Thomas
graduated in 2012 from NAISDA Dance College and has since  worked with the likes of Vicki Van Hout, Shaun Parker and  Company,  Branch Nebula, ERTH, Chunky Move, Outer Urban Projects and Urban  Theatre Projects. Thomas is currently a member of the Tasdance Makers  Company. H is choreographic credits include his Green Room Award winning work  [MIS]CONCEIVE, VESSEL for Outer Urban Projects and  SHIFTING > SHAPES.

Thomas' class will introduce you to earth and your connection to it physically, spiritually, emotionally. You'll walk, run, dance, jump, sweat, have fun and learn. Thomas feeds Indigenous thought processes into a movement vocabulary that asks you to draw energy from the world around you whilst being highly physical.


Mariaa Randall


Performance | U.S. Premiere
January 10 | 2pm, 6pm, 8pm
Tickets here

Mariaa Randall belongs to the Bundjalung and Yaegl people of the Far North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Footwork/Technique is a movement piece of Aboriginal footwork and dance legacies. It is presented as an art in motion, as a form of land acknowledgment, as a reference to time, and as a comment on colonization.

First Nations Dialogues: Reflections of Native Voices

January 8th: 6pm
January 9th: 5pm
La MaMa
Great Jones Hall
47 Great Jones Street
New York, NY 10012
Free with RSVP

Curated by Murielle Borst-Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock )

Presented by La MaMa Experimental Theater Club through La MaMa’s Indigenous Initiative, Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective and Global First Nations Performance Network

An informal reading of plays by First Nations artists including legendary Spiderwoman Theater led by Muriel Miguel and Glorial Miguel of the Kuna and Rappahannock Nations; poet, playwright, and scholar Carolyn Dunn who is of Cherokee, Muscogee Creek, Seminole, Cajun, French Creole, and Tunica-Biloxi descent; Ed Bourgeois, who is French and Mohawk, managing director of PA'I Foundation, a Honolulu-based hālau hula and co-creator of Raven's Radio Hour and Alaska Native Playwrights Project; Kuna/Rappahannock/Hopi/HoChunk artist, actor, singer and songwriter Henu Josephine Tarrant; Australian actor, narrator and director Rachael Maza Artistic Director of ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, Yidinji from North Queensland and Meriam from the Torres Strait Island of Mer; and Choctaw/Creek/Delaware playwright Nicholson Billey.

First Nations Dialogues: Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter

January 9th: 7-10pm
Abrons Art Center
466 Grand St.
New York, NY 10002

Presented by Abrons Art Center in partnership with First Nations Dialogues and Global First Nations Network

A ceremonial fire outdoors in the amphitheater at Abrons Art Center centering Indigenous protocol and knowledge. Sit by the fire and welcome the evening with neighbors, stories, song, dance, and food (bring some to share). The fire for First Nations Dialogues includes performances by Allison Akootchook Warden, an Iñupiaq new genre artist; dåkot-ta alcantara-camacho whose work spans ritual activation, performance art, installation, contemporary indigenous movement, and cultural responsibility; Thomas E.S. Kelly, a Bundjalung-Yugambeh/Wiradjuri/Ni-Vanuatu multi-disciplinary artist and choreographer, and Brent Michael Davids, Lenape composer. Food generously prepared by Quentin Glabus, Frog Lake Cree First Nations from Alberta, Canada and member of I-Collective. Emily Johnson gratefully acknowledges Karyn Recollet's work in the concept of kinstillatory.

First Nations Dialogues: Serpentine by Daina Ashbee

January 9th: 10pm
January 10th: 10pm
January 11th: 1pm
La MaMa
Downstairs Theater
66 E 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
Tickets here

Presented by La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club and American Realness in partnership with First Nations Dialogues, Global First Nations Performance Network

Serpentine vibrates the essence of Daina Ashbee’s dark and feminine choreographic practice. Exploring the occupation of space, time and attention, the cathartic work is based on repetition and instance. With simple imagery, slow and sensual movement and a disturbing and powerful original electric organ composition by Jean-Francois Blouin, Serpentine creates a haunting juxtaposition that escalates in its violence. Performed by Areli Moran.


First Nations Dialogues: Ktalëmskahëmòch, closed protocol ceremony

January 11th - 12th
*invite only
Bear Mountain State Park
Hosted by First Nations Dialogues with The Lenape Center at Bear Mountain
Closed for First Nations artists and invited allies


 Under the Radar Coming Attractions: January 5, 10:30-11:45AM

Attendance at the First Nations Dialogues and Global First Nations Performance Network is self reliant and we really want you to come! If you are a First Nations artist and want more information please contact Tyler at 

The First Nations Dialogues and Global First Nations Performance Network has been initiated and led by Indigenous artists and organizers from the US, Canada and Australia in order to support Indigenous performance work. We build on four years of convenings and conversation within formal and informal networks in the Indigenous and non-indigenous performance sectors. We build on forty years of vibrant dialogue between Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and First Nations North American contemporary theatre and dance leaders.

The First Nations Dialogues is led by a transnational consortium of Emily Johnson (USA), Vallejo Gantner (USA), BlakDance (Australia), Angela Flynn/Kukuni Arts (Australia), Jacob Boehme (Australia), ILBIJERRI Theatre Company (Australia), Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (Canada) and is creating the Global First Nations Performance Network (GFNPN).

First Nations Dialogues New York January 2019 has received funding support from

Barragga Bay Fund; BlakDance; Australia Council for the Arts; Arts Queensland; Creative Victoria; Native Arts and Cultures Foundation; Jerome Foundation; Amerinda; Map Fund supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

We acknowledge this gathering is held in Lenapehoking, the homeland of Lenape people. We acknowledge and pay respect to Lenape elders, ancestors, and people past, present, and future.