Loading Events

The Mush Hole – Workshop Performance acknowledges the lives and spirits of Mohawk Institute residential school survivors. Keeping hope as the driving force the performance offers truth and relives the devastating impacts on the students and parents without their children. It is about survival, and resilience, and is an embodied way to say: “Enskwakhwahshón:rien” – we will feed your hunger, “kwè:iahre – we remember you, kwanorónhkhwa – we love you. Conceived by Six Nations Artist/Director Santee Smith in collaboration with Onkwehon:wen artists Julianne Blackbird, Montana Summers, Semiah Smith, Brandon A. Oakes, The Mush Hole opens the mind, heart and spirit toward a path of feeling and experiencing. We welcome all to share in dialogue and reflect on the performance during this creative development phase of the work. 

This presentation is for general audiences. Please be aware there are mature themes involved and not recommended for ages 12 and under.
January 13, 2018 – Matinee @ 3:00PM
Cost: Pay-What-You-Can-Event @ the Door, proceeds to the further development of The Mush Hole
January 14, 2018 – Evening @ 6:00PM
Cost: Pay-What-You-Can-Event @ the Door, proceeds to the further development of The Mush Hole


SANTEE SMITH  (performing as Wife/Mother/Survivor #31)
Tekaronhiáhkhwa / Santee Smith is a multi-disciplinary artist from the Kahnyen’kehàka Nation, Turtle Clan, and Six Nations of the Grand River. Santee completed 6 years at Canada’s National Ballet School; Physical Education and Psychology degrees from McMaster University and an M.A. in Dance from York University. Santee premiered her first work Kaha:wi – a family creation story in 2004 and one year later founded Kaha:wi Dance Theatre where she has grown into an internationally renowned company. Her body of work includes 12 productions and over 11 short works. Other independent commissions include: National Arts Centre Orchestra’s, I Lost My Talk; Canadian Opera Company’s Louis Riel; Fall for Dance North, Inter-Hoop and her projects The Mush Hole and upcoming dance for films. She is the recipient of the K.M. Hunter Award; Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award; John Hobday Award; Hamilton Music Award for Kaha:wi; Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Choreography in the Dance for Susuriwka – willow bridge and a REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award. Santee is a sought after teacher and speaker on Indigenous performance and culture. Her life and works have been the topic of TV and films including: All Our Relations; Moccasins and Concrete: An Urban Native Story and Kaha:wi – Cycle of Life.

SEMIAH SMITH (performing as #72)
Semiah Kaha:wi Smith is a multi-disciplinary artist from the Kahnyen’kehàka (Mohawk) Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River. She enjoys performing as an actor, dancer and singer. At the age of 7, she hit the stage for her debut performance in Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s A Story Before Time, The Banff Centre premiere and later toured across Canada. Her on-screen performances include Kaha:wi: The Cycle of Life which aired on APTN; Apikiwiyak which premiered at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. As a singer, Semiah has performed at the Luminato Festival, Paprika Festival, Harbourfront Centre Gala, McMaster University and Opening Ceremony of the North American Indigenous Games among others. She made a recent solo band debut as “Santee Smith & Friends” at The Mule Spinner, Hamilton, ON, singing an original song. Semiah also works as a graphic designer, social media assistant, and designer and is currently enrolled in Health Sciences at McMaster University.

MONTANA SUMMERS (performing as #34)
Montana Summers Is from the Oneida First Nation of the Thames. Montana had begun training in modern, jazz, and ballet classes offered at H.B. Beal Secondary School. After high school, Montana was then accepted into the Indigenous Dance Residency (2015) and KDT’s Summer Intensive (2016) where he trained in the exploration of indigenous and contemporary dance. Montana has also had the chance to work with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Santee Smith with other performances and projects like The Honouring (2015-17), I Lost My Talk – National Arts Centre Orchestra (2016) and the Opening of the North American Indigenous Games (2017). Montana now is a part of a mentoring program for emerging artists in London, Ontario and now focuses on teaching workshops and classes for all ages.  

JULIANNE BLACKBIRD (performing as #11)
Julianne Blackbird is from the Mohawk Nation, Turtle clan and resides at Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Julianne attends McKinnon Park Secondary School in grade 10.  Julianne has been dancing since age 3, in all genres including Ballet, Pointe, Contemporary, Hip hop, Jazz, Lyrical, and Tap.  Julianne danced in The Gift, in Toronto; in 2014 for Mercedes Bernardez. She danced with Santee Smith at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2017 North American Indigenous Games, the July 2017 World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education closing ceremonies and the August 2017 Creation Lab Showcase. Julianne appeared as an extra in the documentary Desert Between Us & Them: Raiders, Traitors, and Refugees in the War of 1812 in 2013.

BRANDON OAKES (performing as Husband/Parent/Survivor #86)
Brandon A. Oakes / Rotsienhanoron (Council Fire) is an actor who comes from Akwesasne Mohawk Nation. He began performing as a traditional dancer and toured across North America. Interests in other movements took him to Banff Centre of the Arts where he was a part of the Aboriginal Dance Project’s Bones – An Aboriginal Dance Opera. A natural storyteller he followed his curiosity into acting with Native Earth Performing Arts; has filled Chief Bromden’s slippers in People’s Light & Theatre production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He was a part of the Off Broadway premieres: Manahatta by Mary Kathryn Nagle; Smoke by Vicky Ramirez and the Los Angeles Theatre Center’s premiere of Richard Montoya’s Palestine, New Mexico. He is proud to be part of the award winning Canadian films like Rhymes For Young Ghouls and The Saver and is now looking forward to the release of the adaptation of Through Black Spruce. After such a long hiatus from dance and movement, Brandon feels privileged to be part of Santee Smith’s The Mush Hole. He is also a designer/artist and follows a keen interest in carpentry while living in Toronto.

Presented as a part of Woodland’s -Tehonkieron:nions (They are Entertaining) series. A performing arts series funded by the generous support of the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Mush Hole creation is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council. Creator Santee Smith is committing her recent REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award to the development of the performance. 

Go to Top