The Canadian Aboriginal Festival is organized and coordinated by Indian Art-I-Crafts of Ontario, a non-profit Aboriginal organization located in Brantford, ON. In addition to the 15 years of the festival, Indian Art-I-Crafts of Ontario has been active in numerous local, provincial and federal Aboriginal events over the past 20 years.
The Executive Director is Catherine
Cornelius, a status member of the Oneida of the Thames
community, has been with Indian Art-I-Crafts since it's
inception eighteen years ago. Ms. Cornelius previously
worked with the Chiefs of Ontario, the Canadian Government
and owns and operates Oneida of the Thames Marketing.
Program Director, Ron Robert, a metis of Mohawk and French descent has also been with the organization since the beginning. He is a former broadcaster, a former assistant to former Prime Minister Trudeau, and a senior government media relations officer.
Aboriginal Teaching Circles
The Teaching Circles are held in at least six cities
in southern Ontario. Including, education day at the
Canadian Aboriginal Festival held at Toronto's SkyDome,
which draws over 7,000 students.
The program is designed to give non-Aboriginal students
a positive Aboriginal Experience and to instill in them
a desire to learn more about Canada's first peoples.
Usually held in city parks or indoor facilities, five
to seven stations (depending on the number of students),
rotate from station to station and then all assemble
at the Dance Circle. The stations are set up to teach
the students about various aspects of Aboriginal heritage,
culture and history and are taught by credible Aboriginal
The Teaching Circles are financed through the generosity
of Dept. of Indian Affairs, Bank of Montreal and Historica
and through the registration fee of $7.00 per student.
To ensure content is in keeping with the wishes of
teachers and is appropriate for the Ontario curriculum,
the assistance of the Elementary Teachers Federation
of Ontario and the Ontario Teachers' Federation was
sought and obtained.
In previous years, Art-I-Crafts produced Aboriginal
shows for Ontario Place for Canada Day Celebration,
Parks Canada Conference, Scarborough Fall Harvest Festival,
Bank of Montreal Conference, the 2002 Queen's Golden
Jubilee Celebration in Hamilton and numerous others.
Art-I-Crafts has also organized and coordinated Aboriginal
Economic Development Conferences inconjunction with
the Canadian Aboriginal Festival.