Keeping the Fires Burning (KFB), held annually in June, is one of Manitoba’s largest Indigenous gala events in Winnipeg. This celebration of Manitoba’s diverse and dynamic Indigenous cultures blends the arts, music and dance, while annually honoring up to ten of Manitoba’s Grandmothers and Grandfathers whom have made a significant contribution to the advancement of Indigenous Peoples, and, indeed, the safeguarding, nurturing and transmission of Traditional Knowledge and practice.
Keeping the Fires Burning is an event that highlights various Indigenous artists while creating greater connections between youth and elders and brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures. It offers insight into Manitoba’s diverse and dynamic Indigenous cultures through a blend of music and dance while highlighting some Manitoba Elders and Knowledge Keepers who have made significant contributions to the advancement of Indigenous peoples and the safeguarding, nurturing and transmission of traditional knowledge and practices. In a spirit of strengthening and evolving community relationships, building new alliances, engaging youth in activities that combat negative stereotypes and prejudice, this event increases public awareness, fosters pride in cultural heritage and artistic mediums and celebrates cultural diversity.
Focused on bringing people together in a spirit of unity, sharing and greater understanding, the event celebrates cultural reclamation, truth and reconciliation. Our theme is “Gizhi’ Manidoowi Ishkode – Our Sacred Fire: Our Children and Youth Keeping the Fires Burning”. Embedded into Indigenous ways of knowing is the belief that children are divine gifts of creation. They embody the promise of a new tomorrow. Children are the physical manifestations of the prayers of the ancestors, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that their spirits are nourished, protected, guided and cherished into elderhood. Guided by this knowledge, Keeping the Fires Burning annually celebrates the relationship between the Elders and Knowledge Keepers and children and youth. The event features children and youth throughout focusing on youth artistic expression in keeping Indigenous cultural identity and heritage strong and showcases child/youth and adult artists performing together, engaging with elders as the fires are passing on.
Held is gala style at the Convention Centre in Winnipeg and co-hosted by two youth this is a 90-minute event. It opens with prayer and traditional drumming music followed by an opening grand entry. Music/dance segments vary from year to year however all highlight the talent of Indigenous cultural and contemporary artists. The event closes with a traditional honor song. Annually eight to ten Indigenous elders are honored and recognized for their contributions to safeguarding and transmitting Indigenous cultural traditions and knowledge to youth and all cultures.
This event is focused on raising up Indigenous youth and elders for their resilience and in supporting youth to express their artistic talents and continue to be active in the artistic and mainstream community. This event embodies Ka Ni Kanichihk’s values of empowering Indigenous Peoples and restoring well-being and strength among our Nations. This strength-based and self-determined approach to our collective thriving serves as an example to broader communities that we are proud of who we are as Indigenous Peoples and instills such pride in our younger generations. A celebration of the beauty, talent and power in our culture is the purpose of this event, and is one of the ways we share this with others across Manitoba.
For information please contact: Elena Gagliardi at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 204-995-8997.