“My work has always been about resilient art creation. Stories about Residential schools, the loss of Indigenous languages, and systematic racism in education, justice, health, and social services.”
Renae has been creating artistic works for most of her life and journeyed across Canada and internationally in film, television, theatre, and music. As an actress, writer, singer, producer, and director in both television and theatre, she has honed her skills by observing, listening, and supporting the artistic works of many individuals who helped and supported her in understanding artistic passion, focus, and creative vulnerability in sharing Indigenous stories in a good way—miyopimatisowin.
She is Nehiwayi/Cree and Saulteaux from the treaty 1 territory in Manitoba, made her home in the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-Wahtuth Territories, known as Vancouver, for the last 35 years. She’s had the honor of receiving cultural teachings through social and ceremonial songs with the Secwepemc, Okanagan, Nlaka’pamux, and her own family.
Renae’s work has always been about resilient art creation. Stories about Residential schools, the loss of Indigenous languages, and systematic racism in education, justice, health, and social services.
Art, grief, and healing. What are the ingredients to support people with their stories?
Resilience Art focuses on Indigenous cultural practices, language, and worldview in the face of the colonial forces that have impacted our lives. ‘Reconciliation’ is about appeasing with our own communities and families in being impacted by these forces, creating a safe space to discuss and share our lived experiences, thus nurturing and elevating our strengths, resilience, and reciprocity as we define our place in the world.
How do we move beyond the political rhetoric and actions focused on the government? How do we shift our oppression with these colonial forces to being nicely obsessed with ourselves, rebuilding ourselves through the creation of art? We have to address layers and layers of imperialism,” Linda Tuhiwai Smith – a Maori scholar and author of Decolonization Methodologies.
Renae has worked (vocalist & dancer) on Break Horizon, an hour musical documentary on Indigenous women in Prison. This was directed by Kim Harvey and produced by the Cultch, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nph9RBrkycE
Renae was commissioned to write a radio play, and it was published in 2020. This Radio play, Mural of Social Change, is about Indigenous restorative justice.
M’Girl Music, Renae’s Indigenous women’s music group she leads and manages. https://vimeo.com/439068756/3ed3022dd5
M’Girl music’s recorded songs have been licensed for a Public Service Announcement on the health system related to Indigenous people’s challenges within Canada’s Health System. 2020. https://www.nccih.ca/485/NCCIH_in_the_News.nccih?id=464.
Renae did her first voice acting as the lead actress on a dramatic sci-fi podcast called Apocrypha Chronicles. Podcast February 2021
In December 2021, Renae wrote, directed, and produced a 6-minute film Building Respectful Relationships in Covid Times, sponsored by BC Northern Health & National Collaboration for Indigenous Health. www.youtube.com/watch?v=65ZjNPZP6FY
Tune in to Quest Out West, a TV cooking/food sovereignty doc series. She directed the first 6 episodes in 2019. It’s now on APTN. This May, she’ll be directing the 4th Season. https://www.aptn.ca/questoutwest/episode-guide/season-3/
Where is your creative path taking you?
Renae articulates her artistic worldview as resistant to and resurgence from the impacts of Canadian colonial policies and legislations. She is currently writing her first feature film, Kinikinik.