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Musician joins cross-country tour
Kiera Kolson hops on board national musical with The Dream Catchers

Robin Grant
Northern News Services
Friday, June 30, 2017

Local musician Kiera Kolson has joined young artists from across the country in a spectacular touring musical in celebration of Canada 150 - it's called The Dream Catchers.

But instead of only celebrating the milestone, the musical contains an important message - it's aimed at inspiring youth to pursue their dreams of reconciliation, inclusion and environmental stewardship.

Using hip-hop, spoken word and folk with contemporary and indigenous dance, The Dream Catchers will perform more than 35 free shows over the next three months in cities and towns coast to coast.

Kolson said she became involved over the winter when she heard the creative team for the project was looking for more Northern indigenous artists to participate in the musical aspect of the project.

The director reached out to her on Facebook.

"We had some really good heart-to-heart conversations about my commitment to ensuring that people understand the history that Canada is founded on," said Kolson, who is also a motivational speaker, singer-songwriter and spoken word artist. "My goal has always been to re-humanize indigenous people and redefine what indigenous potential looks like in society."

As it turned out, she was a perfect fit for the project.

Kolson was accepted as part of two artist groups scheduled to perform on a national tour, which began on National Aboriginal Day and runs until August.

The Dream Catchers came to fruition with a goal of promoting indigenous pride and culture in youth earlier this year, when a creative team from the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, P.E.I., began providing dreamcatcher art workshops to children across the country. That team included indigenous elders and aimed to get youth thinking about identity and pride.

From those workshops, Mi'kmaq artist Nick Huard built a massive dreamcatcher that included one large dreamcatcher for each province and territory and all of the dreamcatchers the youth made.

The second component of the project became The Dream Catchers musical tour, which Kolson traveled to Charlottetown P.E.I. in mid-May to take part in.

Despite setbacks - during rehearsals, Kolson broke her foot - she remains optimistic.

"The beautiful blessing in disguise was that we were able to incorporate a wheelchair in the show," she said, cheerfully. "I am blessed to have a good support network here of colleagues who are willing to work with me and work through this and we've overcome it. And it is a really beautiful show."

Kolson said she has received comments from people talking about how inspiring it is to see someone perform on stage in a wheelchair. She said the injury is a way of encouraging more inclusion in society.

"Hopefully, this creates more dialogue," she said. "Limitations are only what we perceive, and it's important to let people feel out how far they can really go and show people how far they can go."

"If I were to sum up this project," she continued. "I would say it is about resilience. The resilience to racism, resilience to discrimination, resilience to sexism, resilience to colonialism and resilience to all the historical traumas and legacies that many of our generations are still having to endure."

The Dream Catchers musical opened on National Aboriginal Day on June 21 in Charlottetown. A second company opened at the Museum of Canadian History in Ottawa on the same day.

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