GTNT helping National Arts Centre create cross-country audio adventure

Parking lots, street corners, bridges, we pass them by every day without a thought of their place in history or the stories embedded within.

Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre is proud to partner with National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre break ground in storytelling through its cross-Canada theatrical adventure Indigenous Cities. It’s an annual audio-based storytelling experience launching in Saskatoon, Vancouver and Ottawa-Gatineau in honour of National Indigenous History Month.

“There’s so much history that we know nothing about. The land keeps these sacred stories.”

Jennifer Dawn Bishop is just one of the artists that is helping peel back the pavement to reveal the stories captured in Saskatoon’s landscape. (Marcel Petit)

“This project helps us return to our traditional way of sharing knowledge, with the help of memory holders,” says GTNT artistic director and artist Jennifer Dawn Bishop. “There’s so much history that we know nothing about. The land keeps these sacred stories.”

Indigenous Cities is an audio series that gathered memories from elders and Indigenous community members to share stories of loss, love and perseverance. Local Indigenous artists have taken the memory and created an audio story that recounts historical moments in a specific place. Local storytellers include Bishop, Shawn Cuthand, Danny Knight, Zoey Roy and Lancelot Knight. From busy street corners to well trod bridges, they bring meaning to the landmarks by telling the stories of Indigenous people who’ve lived here.

Listeners can take part free online and explore in all three cities using virtual maps, photographs and videos. They can also visit the location in person and experience each tale where it happened. The National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre hopes the project will grow in the coming years to cover the entire country.

“For me, this has been good medicine,” says Bishop. “Creating aural theatre feels like finding a piece of the past that I was always meant to understand.”

To find out more and take your own audio journey, follow this link.