The Indigenous Routes Collective is an ad hoc group formed in August 2011 by Amanda Strong, Archer Pechawis and Ben Donoghue to carry out a community collaborative project producing an interactive documentary with six native youth. Through the development phase of this project discussions have begun regarding the formalization of Indigenous Routes as a non-profit organization to meet the growing need for new media training for indigenous youth.

Indigenous Routes Collective Bios

Amanda Strong (Spotted Fawn)

Amanda Strong’s is a Cree/Metis filmmaker and artist from Toronto, ON. Her work comes from a highly personal space exploring ideas of memory, tragedy, catharsis and salvation; ideas providing a creative touchstone and context for all her work.  Making use of  diverse media; film, photography and illustration her work seeks to create meaningful bridges between her own politics and that of a wider audience via the creation of highly imaginary worlds.

Just as important as her personal practice, her engagement with community plays a significant role in her life. This work includes the development of the Indigenous Routes Collective, which is a sustainable cross-cultural training program for Aboriginal youth, Media Creatorz Collective and Curatorial works of Indigenous artists and youth.  Amanda has been awarded numerous grants from Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts ,National Film Board, as well as she has had her works exhibited worldwide. Most recently Amanda was awarded for the 2012 K.M. Hunter Media Arts Award. Amanda is actively involved with sharing her knowledge with the aboriginal youth community. She has coordinated, curated and lead many media projects, workshops, shows and initiatives providing youth the opportunity to learn new forms of media and conceptual processes.

Archer Pechawis

Performance artist, new media artist, filmmaker, writer, curator and educator
Archer Pechawis was born in Alert Bay, BC in 1963. He has been a practicing artist since 1984 with particular interest in the intersection of Plains Cree culture and digital technology, often merging “traditional” objects such as hand drums with ìforward engineeredî devices such as Mac PowerBooks. His work has been exhibited across Canada and in Paris France, and featured in publications such as Fuse Magazine and Canadian Theatre Review. Archer has been the recipient of many Canada Council and British Columbia Arts awards, and won the Best New Media Award at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in 2007 and Best Experimental Short at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in 2009.

Archer also works extensively with Native youth as part of his art practice, teaching performance and digital media for the Indigenous Media Arts Group and in the public school system. Of Cree and European ancestry, he is a member of Mistawasis First Nation, Saskatchewan.

Ben Donoghue

Ben Donoghue is a filmmaker, installation artist, curator, administrator, independent arts consultant and writer based in Toronto. Ben’s production practice includes making film, installation and dialogic works for both cinemas and galleries; publishing books and zines; administering projects and spaces in both arts and social justice contexts; designing and building custom machines for film installations and production. Ben’s personal practice explores the relationships between the biopolitical subject, landscape, macro-economic phenomena, and the built environment. He has exhibited, as an artist and presented as a curator/commissioner, in both gallery and cinema environments. He has directed artist-run institutions and served on numerous boards and collectives with a focus on long-term strategic objectives and organizational transformation. bendonoghue.ca

Susan Blight

Susan Blight is Anishinaabe from Couchiching First Nation. A visual artist, filmmaker, and arts educator, Susan’s films and video work have been screened nationally and internationally at such venues as Media City International Film Festival, Experiments in Cinema, and the ImagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival. Her most recent short film, Misaabe, was included in the 2015 ImagineNATIVE Film and Video National Tour. In addition, Susan has exhibited at Gallery 44, The Print Studio, Platform Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts, and the Art Gallery of Windsor. Susan is co-founder of The Ogimaa Mikana Project, an artist/activist collective working to reclaim and rename the roads, streets, and landmarks of Toronto with Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language) and in July 2013, she became the fourth member of the Indigenous Routes artist collective which works to provide new media training for Indigenous youth. Her writing—focused on Anishinaabeg resurgence, Indigenous resistance, and anti-oppression—has been published in Shameless Magazine, Muskrat Magazine, and on the Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society blog. Susan Blight received a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Windsor in Integrated Media, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from the University of Manitoba. She is the recipient of a 2014 IDERD award for her anti-racism work at the University of Toronto.