Campfire Chats 2023

Campfire Chats: A Celebration of Indigenous Music

June 21, 2023 | 4 - 6 p.m. MT 

Indigenous peoples across Canada have a culturally rich, diverse and immersive history of both traditional and contemporary music. In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, the University of Calgary invites you to the 8th annual Campfire Chats: A Celebration of Indigenous Music.

Join us and Heritage Park in a celebration of Indigenous culture through live music and performances. Performers include:

  • Craig Ginn, Métis recording artist and UCalgary professor

  • Olivia Tail Feathers, traditional singer/songwriter from the Blood Tribe/Kainai Nation

  • Sandra Sutter, Cree Métis recording artist

  • Rod Hunter and his drum group Eya-Hey Nakoda from Stoney Nakoda Nation

Date: June 21, 2023
Time: 4 - 6 p.m. MT
Location: Heritage Park Plaza (free to attend)

Campfire Chats is brought to you by the joint efforts of the Office of Indigenous Engagement and the Office of Advancement.

Meet the performers

Craig Ginn

Craig Ginn

Born in Winnipeg, Craig Ginn grew up in the northern communities of Churchill, Thompson, and Leaf Rapids.  Craig currently resides in Calgary where he is an active member of the Métis Nation of Alberta as well as a member of Métis Local 87. Craig is an Associate Professor (Teaching) in the Department of Classics and Religion and serves as the Director of the International Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Calgary. As an academic and musician, Craig has recently released a 10-song album, Songs of Justice (2021). The lyrics inform current and historical relations between Canada and its Indigenous peoples, also drawing attention to the political and spiritual significance of Louis Riel.  Craig is currently recording music for the Animal Kinship Project, to be released summer 2023. Informed by Indigenous understandings of relationality and his own observations and experiences, the songs will portray the presence and impact of animals, including songs about the polar bear, wolf, eagle, beaver, snowy owl, orca, and raven. Two songs address the historical slaughters of animals, the plains bison in the late-19th century and Inuit sled dogs from 1950-1975.

Olivia Tail Feathers

Olivia Tail Feathers

Olivia Tail Feathers is a songstress from the Blood Tribe in Southern Alberta. Olivia has sung in many genres of music and created her own unique style of song through her musical experiences. She is a Blackfeet woman who grew up speaking the language and living the Plains native culture. During her first years of teaching in federal schools she realized the absence of indigenous song in the music curriculum. She has since created the native songs she carries with her today. 

Olivia helped-to start-filling the gap of Traditional/Contemporary native song, in classrooms and community events. She is proud of her heritage and continues sharing her stories and songs. Olivia founded a youth singing grouping in 1994, the Kainai Grassland Singers, the movement of the tall grasses by the summer breeze, the image of her ancestors of the past gave her the passion and vision to re-create.   
Olivia has performed with many first nations singers, she gives credit to the Banff Center for the Arts in connecting with Indigenous singers from North America.

Olivia is an international recording artist and was a singer in, ’Hearts of the Nations’ Compilation C.D. (Sweet Grass Records) and Ninihkssin C.D.’ (Arbor Records).  She has credits in Documentary film and is featured in ‘Singing Our Stories, First Ladies of Indigenous Music’ NFB, and the ‘Intertribal Music Series’, CBC and APTN. Olivia was the recipient of the first ‘Keeper of Traditions Award’, CAMA 1999, Blackfoot Canadian Cultural Society Award 2021, Lifetime Arts Award 2021 (BCCS), Teacher Excellence FNMI. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Education Degree from the University of Montana, Missoula, Montana.

Sandra Sutter

Sandra Sutter

Sandra Sutter is an award winning Cree Métis recording artist, songwriter, musician and filmmaker who writes, records and performs in multiple genres encompassing roots music; including Native Americana, folk, country, pop, jazz, blues and rock.

Raised in a loving non-Indigenous family, Sandra affirmed and embraced her ancestral and cultural roots later in life. Like many displaced Indigenous people, honouring her proud cultural roots is important to a woman whose birth heritage was lost through time and circumstance. Sandra’s culture influences her every step through life and she has grown into an active and passionate advocate for Indigenous traditions and rights. Her life journey in both the non-Indigenous and Indigenous worlds has given her a unique perspective and opportunity to bring people together through her songs of reconciliation.

2021’s efforts included a collaboration with Vince Fontaine and the release of ‘Storyteller’ on the Indian City Code Red album and the release of the collaborative Cluster Stars Song Book. Sandra’s 2020 Christmas Release, Aurora 12 Songs for the Season, builds on the theme of her truth and reconciliation focused 2017 release, Cluster Stars; sharing stories about the culture, history, challenges, strength, beauty and resilience of Indigenous Peoples.

Sandra has won two 2022 ISSMA’s (Best Folk and Best Spiritual), a 2021 SSIMA (Best Métis Artist/Group of the Year), a 2018 NAMA (Best Americana) and 2019 IMA (Best Producer/Engineer). She also received an Esquao Award (Arts) from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, an Aboriginal Role Model of Alberta (Arts) Award and a WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada Award.

Sandra is the Aboriginal Partnerships Manager for PTW Energy and sits on several Indigenous serving boards and committees across Canada. She lives and breathes the concepts that she thinks, speaks and sings about every day.

Rod Hunter and Eya-Hey Nakoda

Rod Hunter

Elder Rod Hunter is a former Councilor for the Bearspaw First Nation of the Stoney Nakoda Nations in Morley, Alberta. He co-founded the popular drum group, Eya-Hey Nakoda, with his son Anders in 1994 and still leads the family drum group today. Rod Hunter is the lead singer and drummer for UCalgary. He is a Sundance maker, a medicine holder and a residential school survivor.

UCalgary Honour Song

The UCalgary Honour Song was gifted to the University of Calgary in 2018 by Bearspaw Elder Rod Hunter. Recorded with his drum group Eya-Hey Nakoda.

Campfire Chats 2022

Last year, a panel of Indigenous leaders shared Indigenous stories and symbols related to buffalo and the Buffalo Treaty, signed on Sept. 24, 2014.