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SMOKE SIGNALS 3 – Speaker Series

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Hosted by Creative Manitoba Indigenous Programs in partnership with Urban Shaman Gallery of Contemporary Indigenous Art and the Indigenous Film Summit

The 3rd annual Smoke Signals conference has moved online for three afternoon webinars over three Wednesdays in December 2020. We are a gathering of community-engaged Indigenous artists and arts leaders promoting the importance of our voices in art, media, and culture through conversations. Three conversation on three different days over three weeks. Every Wednesday on December 2, 9, 16 from Noon to 1pm.

Registration is FREE Online registration to receive the Zoom link will close the day before each panel at 5 pm. If you miss the registration, the panels will be live-streamed to Creative Manitoba’s Facebook page.

Dec 2, 2020       12- 1pm      Art and Wellness – Practice not Panic  How to navigate your personal wellness while working at your craft.

Speakers – Sheila Chalakee, Jessica Dumas, Michaella Shannon

Dec 9, 2020      12- 1pm       Something Else –  Satire and Humour   How we use satire and humour in the news to get through our day

Speakers – Amber-Sekowan Daniels, Howie Miller, Conway Kootenay, Kim Wheeler

Dec 16, 2020      12-1pm       Being Deadly – Rebecca Belmore   Conversation with Rebecca Belmore about what makes her a deadly artist.

Speakers – Rebecca Belmore , Daina Warren


Michaella Shannon – Michaella Shannon, is Cree, Irish and Lakota from Frog Lake First Nation, AB. She is a TV host and personality, model, actress, writer, facilitator and mental health support worker for the Support Network for Indigenous Women & Women of Colour. Michaella has co-hosted APTN television series The Other Side for three seasons and is regularly called on by CityLine to host as a Fashion Expert. Most recently, she’s begun her career with etalk Canada as a Guest Contributor. She can also be seen on the television series Rabbit Fall and CityTV animation series Space Stretch . In late fall 2020, Michaella will be seen on the new TV series, The Secret History of the Wild West. And come 2021, you will see her in the new TVO and APTN series, Unsettled. As a writer, Michaella has been accepted into the Netflix Diversity of Voices Initiative at the Banff World Media Film Festival two years in a row with her first year making top 100 and her second year making top 25. Although Michaella spends a majority of her time in the fashion, film and media industry, her true passion lies in helping her community and being a positive role model. Michaella’s goal is to shift the paradigm through visible Indigenous representation in the film and television industry, with hopes to change the way Indigenous people, specifically women, are portrayed in the media. During National Addictions Awareness Week, and at other events, she facilitates several workshops on alcohol and drug abuse and their close relationship to suicide. Due to the loss of immediate family members, addictions and bereavement topics are two workshops Michaella can facilitate with an open heart as she has witnessed the effects of both. She is passionate about facilitating workshops for young women on reproductive health and self-esteem. And, she speaks to students about the effects of bullying, decision-making and overcoming negative experiences.

Jessica Dumas is a Certified Life Coach and Speaker Coach who is passionate about helping entrepreneurs speak with clarity for online and virtual audiences. Jessica has always been enthusiastic about personal growth and recognizes how our own personal growth stimulates the impact on our community. She is a sought-after speaker in the areas of women in business, leadership success and Indigenous inclusion, as well as an expert emcee, serving numerous conferences and evening galas. Jessica can often be found speaking at the mic, sharing an Instagram live message or introducing Michelle Obama to thousands of people. She is an energetic and motivated professional who quickly gains the trust of her clients and audience with her warm and engaging personality and professional style. Jessica’s career started in customer service and took a turn to restorative justice where she realized her love for facilitation. She’s earned a certificate in restorative justice and mediation but her love for innovative facilitation styles inspired her to attend the Rotman School of Business and obtain a certificate in Advanced Business Design Facilitation, as well as a facilitation certificates. She started Jessica Dumas Coaching and Training in 2013 and first launched her own 2-Day Customer Service Training, and became a Train-the-Trainer for the national organization KAIROS and The Blanket Exercise. During that time she launched a  4-Session Essential Discussions for Indigenous Inclusion training that has been shared with numerous businesses and organizations in Manitoba. Jessica is an award winning professional and avid volunteer. She was recognized as one of Manitoba’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2015 and a Future Leader of Manitoba in 2017. She has served as the first Indigenous Female to Chair the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, and has served as the Chairperson for the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce, as well as many other boards and positions over the years. She is a powerful role model and advocate for self-love and social justice, by turning a tragic family experience, the shocking and sudden loss of her brother in 2005, into an opportunity to lead others to overcome challenge and hardship by developing personal strengths, vision and self-confidence and demonstrating her own story of reconciliation. You are invited to join her in the Instagram world @jessicadumas01.

Sheila Chalakee, a citizen of Muscogee-Creek Nation, is a comedian and yoga instructor. Her work in entertainment has been seen on PBS, WEtv, E! Network, Univision, FNX, and most recently on Amazon Prime. Her collaborations with BuzzFeed, YouTube, and Google garnered over hundreds of millions of views collectively leading to positive press regarding Native issues from The Huffington Post, Nylon Magazine, and international news outlets like CTV Nightly News in Vancouver. Sheila received her BA from Columbia College Chicago majoring in theater and creative non-fiction. Most recently she has earned certification in Diversity and Inclusion through Yale School of Management. For more on her comedy career and activism visit She is also an E-RYT and YACEP having the honor of teaching every age group from 3 to 83 in public and private schools, parks and recreation centers, gyms and yoga studios in Los Angeles for over a decade. She has trained in meditation with Centre of Excellence and the Science of Well-Being through Yale. She earned her 500 hour certifications through My Vinyasa Flow and Santa Monica Yoga. In addition she trained in trauma informed modalities with YogaWorks LA, children’s yoga with YogaBuddies, and restorative with Yoga U & Judith Lasater. She specializes in trauma informed, vinyasa, hatha, ashtanga, youth, restorative yoga, and yoga nidra. More on her fitness and wellness work visit

Amber-Sekowan Daniels is an Anishininew screenwriter and comedian from Winnipeg and a band member of Garden Hill First Nation. Amber began her career producing small-market newsmagazine television series in Vancouver, BC. She was a participant in the 2018 Whistler Film Festival Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship and was selected for the 2019 Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices initiative. As a comedian and screenwriter, her stand up has been featured in the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Odd Block Comedy Festival and on CBC’s The Debaters. She’s written and starred in the webseries Pantsuits! and Hanging Tough. She is also on a team in development on Acting Good, a half hour comedy with Bell Media and Buffalo Gal Pictures. Based in Toronto, Amber served as story coordinator for the upcoming CBC series Trickster.

Conway Kootenay is a Comedian, MC, Actor, Stunt Man and Champion Chicken Dancer from the Alexander First Nation. The Cree Nakoda Sioux comedian, AKA Smudge Pan, has garnered National Attention through his online sketch comedy series. With millions of views and thousands of followers Conway is quickly becoming one of the Nations most talked about Native Comedians, some might say he is “real DEADLY” Conway is also an MC who MC’s many charity events, festivals, and Conferences throughout the year. As a Actor and Stunt Man Conway has been in Oscar winning Film “The Revenant” Staring Leonardo Decaprio and Tom Hardy, Lead Role in Georgina Lightning’s New Film “Grandmothers Medicine” and recently finished doing stunt work for the hit television and Netflix series “Outlander” season 4. If that wasn’t enough, Conway is also a Champion Men’s Chicken Dancer who travels the Pow Wow circuit across North America every summer.

  Howie Miller is one of the funniest corporate and club comedians in North America. He is a First Nation Descendant of the Cree Nation and was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His quick wit and unique point of view on multi ethnic stereotypes is enjoyed by all audiences, regardless of age, race, or sex; and has garnered numerous television appearances and placed him in great demand on the corporate comedy circuit. Howie’s hilarious routine, mixed with stellar impressions has the audience laughing from start to finish. Howie was recently featured on American television in the Showtime special “No Reservations Needed” and has made numerous appearances on Canadian television, including the CBC comedy specials, “Winnipeg Comedy Festival: Welcome to Turtle Island 1 & 2”, CBC’s “Alberta Comedy Spectacular” and in his own half-hour comedy special “Comedy Now Presents Howie Miller.” He can also be heard on CBC’s popular radio show “The Debaters.” In 2010 Howie joined the “Pow Wow Comedy Jam” and since then they have received acclaim all over the US, earning “Entertainer of the Year” honors in 2011 by the National Indian Gaming Association and “Comedic Performance of the Year” at the National Indigenous Awards in New Mexico in 2012. Howie is an accomplished comedic actor and writer and has been nominated for a Gemini Award, a Canadian Comedy Award and a Canadian Screen Award for his writing and acting in the sketch comedy show “Caution: May Contain Nuts.” Howie’s side-splitting stand-up comedy routine, quick wit and unique ability to read the crowd make him perfect for any function. He leaves the audience rolling on the floor laughing and begging for more!

Kim Wheeler has brought positive Indigenous stories to mainstream and Indigenous media since 1993. She has carved out a career as a writer, publicist and producer across a variety of disciplines. Her audio work has been recognized by the New York Festivals, ImagineNative, Indigenous Music Awards and Prix Italia. Currently, Kim works from her treehouse media office with multiple clients in publicity, magazines, film and podcasts.


Daina Warren is from the Akamihk (Cree) Nation in Maskwacis (Bear Hills), AB. She was awarded two Canada Council’s Aboriginal Curatorial Residencies the first to work with grunt gallery, Vancouver BC (2000-2001) and a second residency at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario (2010-2011). She has a BFA from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2003) and an MA from UBC (2012). Warren was awarded the 2015 Emily Award from Emily Carr University and was selected as one of six Indigenous women curators as part of the Canada Council for the Arts Delegation to participate in the International First Nations Curators Exchange that took place in Australia (2015), New Zealand (2016), and Canada (2017). Her most recent accomplishment was winning the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellency in 2018. She is currently the Director of Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Rebecca Belmore is a member of the Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe), Rebecca Belmore is an internationally recognized multidisciplinary artist. Rooted in the political and social realities of Indigenous communities, Belmore’s works make evocative connections between bodies, land and language. Solo exhibitions include: Facing the Monumental, Art Gallery of Ontario (2018); Rebecca Belmore: Kwe, Justina M.Barnicke Gallery (2014); The Named and The Unnamed, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, (2002). In 1991, Ayumee-aawach Oomama-mowan: Speaking to Their Mother was created at the Banff Centre for the Arts with a national tour in 1992 and subsequent gatherings took place across the Canada in 1996, 2008, and 2014. In 2017, Belmore participated in documenta 14 with Biinjiya’iing Onji (From Inside) in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany. In 2005, at the Venice Biennale, she exhibited Fountain in the Canadian Pavilion. Other group exhibitions include: Landmarks2017 / Reperes2017, Partners in Art (2017); Land Spirit Power, National Gallery of Canada (1992); and the IV Bienal de la Habana (1991). Belmore received the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation’s VIVA Award (2004), the Hnatyshyn Visual Arts Award (2009), the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2013), and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2016). She received honourary doctorates from OCAD University (2005), Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2018), and NSCAD University (2019).

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