About National Aboriginal Network for Arts Administration

The vision for the National Aboriginal Network for Arts Administration (NANAA) is a multidisciplinary, national collective composed of Aboriginal, Métis and Inuit arts leaders, managers and administrators who live in all regions of the country. Those currently associated with NANAA work to support the traditional and contemporary artistic and cultural practices of Aboriginal artists in an administrative, managerial and leadership capacity. The current focus of the network’s volunteer National Working Committee is an annual national gathering, which is planned and delivered in partnership with communities.

 Vision: A healthy and sustainable Aboriginal arts community.

 Guiding Principals: To support the traditional and contemporary artistic and cultural practices of Aboriginal artists in an administrative, managerial and leadership capacity.

The National Aboriginal Network for Arts Administration is a multidisciplinary national arts organization with extensive regional and tribal representation. It partners with communities in the organization of national gatherings at a community level which:

•            boost community spirit by being a catalyst for change and by offering opportunities for emerging and established organizations;

•            build stronger communities;

•            raise awareness in the community of the importance of the arts;

•            value the connection between spirituality and the arts;

•            provide an economic boost for the hosting community;

•            promote intercultural sharing (Aboriginal, French, English);

•            support traditional and contemporary Aboriginal art forms.

 The National Committee of NANAA is a group composed of Aboriginal arts administrators and artists committed to facilitate the organization of an annual gathering of Aboriginal arts administrators. Some members of the committee represent an Aboriginal arts organization, some work for a funding body and some are independent arts administrators and consultants. Over the past seven years, the process of appointments to the committee has been organic and flexible.

Each year a representative of the hosting community joins the National Committee.  Currently, the national committee is composed of: Cathi Charles Wherry, Saanichton, BC, Ryan Cunnigham, Edmonton, Alberta, Keith Dawson, Cap Breton, NS, Kathy Legge, Halifax, NS, Germaine Mesténapéo, Uashat, Quebec, France Trépanier, Sidney, BC and Cynthia Lickers-Sage, Toronto, Ontario,   (2010 Host Contact).

Le Réseau national autochtone pour l’Administration des Arts (RNAAA)

Le Réseau national autochtone pour l’Administration des Arts est un collectif multidisciplinaire composé de leaders, de gestionnaires et d’administrateurs des Premières Nations, Métis et Inuits qui vivent dans toutes les régions du pays. Ceux associés aux travaux du RNAAA ont pour objectif de soutenir les pratiques traditionnelles et contemporaines artistiques et culturelles des artistes autochtones dans une fonction administrative, de gestion et de leadership. L’objectif actuel du Comité de travail national est la tenue d’un rassemblement national annuel, qui est planifié et exécuté en partenariat avec les communautés. RNAAA est dans une phase cruciale de son développement.

 Vision: Une communauté artistique autochtone saine et viable.

 Principes directeurs: Soutenir les pratiques artistiques et culturelles traditionnelles et contemporaines des artistes autochtones, sur les plans administratif, de la gestion et de la capacité de leadership.

 Le Réseau national autochtone pour l’Administration des Arts est un organisme artistique national multidisciplinaire qui possède une importante représentation régionale et tribale. Il établit des partenariats avec des communautés pour l’organisation de rassemblements annuels tenus au sein des communautés et qui :

•            stimulent l’esprit de la communauté en étant un catalyseur de changement et en offrant des opportunités aux organismes établis et de la relève;

•            construisent des communautés plus fortes;

•            accroissent la connaissance de l’importance des arts dans les communautés;

•            mettent en valeur la relation entre la spiritualité et les arts;

•            fournissent un stimulant économique à la communauté d’accueil;

•            font la promotion du partage interculturel (Autochtone, Français et Anglais);

•            soutiennent les formes d’art autochtones traditionnelles et contemporaines.

Le comité national du RNAAA est un groupe composé d’administrateurs d’art et d’artistes autochtones engagés à faciliter l’organisation un rassemblement annuel d’administrateurs d’art autochtones. Certains membres du comité national représentent un organisme artistique autochtone, certains travaillent au sein d’organismes bailleurs de fonds et d’autres encore sont des administrateurs d’art et consultants autochtones indépendants. Au cours des sept dernières années, le processus de nomination des membres du comité national fut organique et flexible.

Chaque année, un représentant de la communauté d’accueil se joint au comité national. Présentement, le comité national est composé de Cathi Charles Wherry, Saanichton, C.-B., Ryan Cunningham, Edmonton, Alberta, Kathy Legge, Halifax, N-É, Keith Dawson, Cap Breton, N.-É., Germaine Mesténapéo, Uashat, Québec, France Trépanier, Sidney, C.-B. et Cynthia Lickers-Sage, Toronto, Ontario (Contact de l’hôte 2010).

About Wahta (host location)

Wahta Mohawks was established in 1881, when a group of Protestant Mohawks moved from their original home in Oka, Quebec due to religious, civil and economic differences. An agreement was reached with Catholic Priests whereby the Protestant group of the Oka community would move to the Muskoka district in the spring of 1882; the people instead chose to move in the fall of 1881 and arrived in October just in time for winter.

Life was tough. Subsistence farming, trapping and work in the logging camps were a way of life. Many have had to move from the community for economic reasons but still consider Wahta home. Recently Wahta Mohawks completed a history book that outlines a complete historical narration from the elders themselves.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Time Description
4:00 – 5:00 PM Registration open
6:00 – 6:30 PM Customary opening / Opening of the Bundle
6:30 – 8:00 PM Introductions
8:00 – 10:00 PM Opening Reception at Bala Bay Inn (fire pit by the lake)
Thursday, September 30, 2010
8:00-9:00 Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:30 Elder Blessing and cleansing
9:30-11:00 Introduction to Creative Action Circles & Gathering of Stories
11:00-11:15 Break
11:15-12:30 Gathering of Stories (discipline specific)
12:30-1:30 Keynote Luncheon (TBC)
1:30-2:30 Review Oral Stories
2:30-2:45 Break
2:45-4:30 Continue reviewing Oral Stories
4:30-5:00 Traditional Closing
5:00-6:00 Workshop
6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00-9:00 Performance by the Youth Leadership Trainees, followed by a panel discussion in partnership with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective
Friday, October 1, 2010
8:00-9:00 am Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:30 Elder blessing and cleansing
9:30-11:00 Warm up/Group activity
11:00-11:15 Break
11:15-12:30 pm Professional Development Activity: Public Speaking Skills 101
12:30-1:30 Keynote Luncheon (TBC)
1:30-2:30 Fusion of Ideas
2:30-2:45 Break
2:45-4:30 Finalize group activity
4:30-5:00 Traditional closing
5:00-6:00 Workshop
6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00-9:00 Musical Performance (TBC)
Saturday, October 2, 2010
8:00-9:00 am Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:30 Elder blessing and cleansing
9:30-11:00 Warm up/Group Activity
11:00-11:15 Break
11:15-12:00 Group Creative Presentation
12:00-1:00 Community Feast
1:00-1:30 Customary Closing/ Passing of the bundle


To register for the NANAA Gathering, please download the following form-fillable Word document by clicking on the following link:

NANAA Registration Form - English Version

NANAA Formulaire d’inscription - Versionne Français



About the Facilitation Process ‘Creative Action Circles’
Creative Action Circles is designed to build community capacity to sustain and promote distinctive cultural action.

There are four phases in a Creative Action Circles Research Cycle:
i) Initial Circle to explore oral teachings using participatory exercises to identify cultural distinctions between diverse Aboriginal groups and aim to respectfully retell findings through a collaborative artistic new works.

ii) Creative Skills Development that empowers participants to find modern relevance for cultural knowledge. This training involves preparing participants to make a final presentation with skills development in public speaking, storyboards, event planning, peer/cultural support and personal wellness plans based on the oral teachings gathered.

iii) Celebration of Life with a final performance co-created by participants.

iv) Debrief and development of Creative Action Map to synthesize oral teachings and detail areas of action the community can undertake and develop ongoing or future initiatives to strengthen cultural identity with diverse social issues.






2009 St. Albert, Alberta

  • Geraldine Manossa worked with Jaret Sinclair-Gibson of Sun & Moon Visionaries Aboriginal Artisan Society to organize and host the 2009 Gathering at the Nechi Institute in St Albert, Alberta, October 1st through 4th, 2009.
  • Geraldine and the Working Group enlisted Jean Tait who facilitated the Gathering through a process of ‘Mapping the Strong Self” as a core aspect of a healthy arts community.
  • 52 delegates from across Canada participated in the Gathering, which also included presentations about projects, as well as storytelling, communication, and theatre workshops.
  • Spiritual support was provided by Wil Campbell who also offered a morning Pipe Ceremony on both days.
  • At the conclusion of the 2009 Gathering, each person stated to the group their personal commitment. The Bundle was accepted by Lindsey Lickers on behalf of ANDPVA who will host the 2010 Gathering.

2008 Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories

  • Lynn Canney of The Open Sky Creative Society located in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, committed to organize and host the 7th Annual National Aboriginal Arts Administrators & Funders Gathering.
  • In conjunction with the 8th Annual Open Sky Festival, the Gathering was held in Fort Simpson, June 30-July 2, 2008 during the season of 24-hour daylight.
  • During the months preceding the gathering, The National Working Group worked with facilitation consultant, Paula Beltgens to develop and deliver a process influenced by appreciative inquiry.
  • A number of attendees presented community projects to the assembled group. Other events included Traditional Art Workshops, Historical walks and Cultural Excursions. Participants were audience to musical performances and a multi media exhibition. The Liidii Kue First Nation hosted a community feast and drum dance under their arbor which sits at the confluence of two rivers.
  • The National Working Group met for two days prior to the gathering to begin the work to define and formalize some of the organizing principles and processes.
  • At the conclusion of the 2008 Gathering Geraldine Manossa offered to carry the bundle forward and to organize the 2009 Gathering in Albert in her capacity with the Alberta Arts Foundation. At the same time Cynthia Lickers-Sage offered for ANDPVA to host the 2010 Gathering.

2007 Cranberry Portage, Manitoba

  • The 6th Annual National Aboriginal Arts Administrators & Funders Gathering on August 10 – 12, 2007 was hosted by Lisa Gamblin and Irvin Head of Cranberry Portage who both attended the gatherings in 2005 and again in 2006 where they took on the honour of hosts
  • The Gathering was held on the shore of Lake Athapap in Cranberry Portage, Northern Manitoba during the Cranberry Summer Arts Festival
  • The Gathering focused on the theme “Elders and Youth” and started with introductions and reports on commitments made the previous year.
  • Cultural Mapping exercises focused on realization of a vision: “All youth and Elders are supported in their pursuit of their artistic dreams and cultural expressions.”
  • On the final day of the 6th annual Gathering, those present stated their personal commitments for the coming year and these were again placed into the bundle to be carried to the next gathering

2006 Sept-Iles, Quebec

  • Evelyne St. Onge  of l’Institut culturel et éducatif montagnais offered to organize the 5th Annual National Aboriginal Arts Administrators & Funders Gathering in Uashat Mani-Utenam (Sept-Iles, Quebec)
  • This Gathering took place in June 2006 and was the first to be hosted by an Aboriginal organization that uses French
  • The group took the Cultural Mapping process further and simultaneous translation was provided for French, Innu and English
  • Building on the work accomplished during the previous four years, organizing committee members France Trepanier and Cathi Charles Wherry developed and implemented Cultural Mapping tools to investigate the theme Land, Languages, Cultures and the Artists with a focus on illuminating cultural systems and values
  • The community of Uashat welcomed 39 people from across Canada and the entire group benefited from the experience of the hosting Innu community, from being on the land, feasting on traditional foods, and the presence and knowledge of Innu Elders
  • The personal commitments of those who had attended the previous year were reported on during introductions, and commitments for the coming year were made at the closing of the Gathering. These commitments were written down and placed in the bundle to be carried forward to the future gathering

2005 Penticton, British Columbia

  • Cathi Charles Wherry of the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council offered to organize the 2005 gathering in British Columbia during the previous gathering at Wanuskewin, and took the Bundle back to BC.
  • This was the first time the gathering was organized and facilitated by an Aboriginal organization.
  • The name National Aboriginal Arts Administrators and Funders Gathering was adopted to emphasize the participation of Aboriginal arts administrators not associated with funding bodies
  • First Peoples’ Council invited the En’owkin Centre in Penticton to be a project partner. September 23rd – 25th, 2005, the forth Gathering hosted 50 Aboriginal arts administrators from across Canada in beautiful Okanagan territory, with En’owkin providing spiritual, cultural, hospitality, and logistical support
  • First Peoples’ Council Arts Program engaged a National Working Group to support organizing the details, and worked with cultural advisor, Robert Palmer to devise and deliver a process to engage the group in a process of Cultural Mapping.
  • Each person introduced themselves and shared a few minutes about their current work on the first day. The meeting ended with each participant making a personal commitment inspired by the work of the previous two days.

2004 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

  • The National Aboriginal Arts Funders Gathering is coordinated by Carol Greyeyes of the Saskatchewan Arts Board
  • Hosted at Wanuskewin Heritage Park near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from May 28-30, 2004, the purpose is to bring together those with a vested interest in Aboriginal arts in Canada and provide a forum for discussion of funding related issues
  • This became an anticipated and valued annual event that was expanded to include Aboriginal arts and culture administrators and organization managers, as well as some working artists focused primarily on their individual practices.

2003 St. Mary’s First Nation, New Brunswick

  • Bernadette Perley of the New Brunswick Arts Board hosts the second meeting at St. Mary’s First Nation with a focus on funding

2002            Winnipeg, Manitoba

  • Jazz De Montigny of the Manitoba Arts Council organizes a meeting with Aboriginal staff of the provincial and territorial arts funders and the Canada Council for the Arts with the support of the CCA
  • This was to provide an opportunity for Aboriginal people working as program coordinators, officers and administrators to network, discuss issues and strategize.