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Red Lake Woodland Arts Festival

April 21 – 24, 2008

The Red Lake Heritage Centre is thrilled to announce that De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Group will be a major participant in the Red Lake Woodland Arts Festival. The primary goal of the Woodland Arts Festival is to instil pride in Red Lake's Aboriginal culture and history, and to involve and engage our youth in this event. De-ba-jeh-mu-jig, with their experience in working with youth across northern Ontario, will play an important role in accomplishing this by working with local organizations and educators to facilitate the creative vision of emerging youth artists in Red Lake.

Three members of Debaj recently spent a week in Red Lake researching the roots of Woodland Art in this region. They spent time talking with community members who were present during the sixties and seventies, and who remember Norval Morrisseau and the other artists who were working here at that time. They also toured the area to get a sense of the context that these artists were working out of, and then set off to visit family members of Norval in Keewaywin and Sandy Lake.

The full company will be returning to Red Lake in the last week of June to spend two weeks working with local youth, both Aboriginal and non-aboriginal. Their goal will be to nurture the artistic talent of the youth, to encourage a sense of pride in the Aboriginal culture and history of this area, and to build bridges between young people of different backgrounds. During the Woodland Arts Festival, Debaj will also be performing a professional theatre presentation about Norval Morrisseau and the Woodland artists, based on their research in Red Lake.

“Norval has inspired and influenced a generation of Aboriginal creators, even within our own company. It is a privilege to be offered the opportunity of animating and explicating the Life of this iconic northern artist who emerged from this remarkable community of Red Lake. I feel it is important to honour where we come from so we can clearly see where we are going, and it is artists like Norval and Daphne Odjig, who have opened the doors for the artists of this generation, to express themselves, and receive acclaim for their innovation and talent.” - Joe Osawabine, Artistic Director, De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Group.

For more information about the Red Lake Woodland Arts Festival, visit www.redlakemuseum.com