Arts Festival Helped Youth Discover Passion for Art

Payepot FHQTC Arts Festival PosterThe Acting Out! But In A Good Way research team members partnered with different schools from File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC) and Thom Collegiate to create the First Annual Arts Festival held at Payepot school located in Piapot First Nation.

The school also contracted a number of First Nation artists including IPHRC Research Assistants, Erin Goodpipe and Ben Ironstand, to create the art with the youth. Students from kindergarten to grade 12 participated in the event. The school even partnered with Thom Collegiate to create the different art pieces. The festival included visual arts, music, dance, and language was also a large part of the event. There was flute playing; readings, poems, a student drum circle; hand drum playing; and pow wow dance presentations, and “Oh Canada” sung in the different languages represented in the FHQTC region.

Ben and Erin created art pieces with the Kindergarten- Gr.2 classes. In order to achieve this, they created group pieces where the students gained inspiration through nature walks, games, viewing/observation exercises, talking circles, and conversation. Then as a group the kindergarten students created their art on a moose hide and the grade 1 and 2 classes collaborated on the large canvas. They wanted to capture their stories and experiences through art using images and language.

The next step is working in partnership with Payepot school to discover how an arts event like this effects the youth and community. Erin and Ben have already received signed consent by the principal to start doing this work. This will mostly consist of conducting interviews with the youth, parents, teachers, artists, and other community members involved in the event.

Click to read the Piapot Artist Statements
Pic 3Pic 2








Pic 1








Acting Out Research Project Featured in Degrees Magazine

The Acting Out! But In A Good Way research project was recently featured in Degrees Magazine.

Degrees Magazine coverThe article showcased IPHRC research associates and assistants involved with the research project. Erin Goodpipe was a Grade 9 student at the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation School when she first participated in a week of workshops provided by the Acting Out team. Now, she is an undergraduate student at the University of Regina and a member of the IPHRC team as a research assistant working on the Acting Out research project.

As a Grade 9 student participating in the workshops, she learned how to come out of her comfort zone through the theatre exercises.

“I was put on the spot and I couldn’t do it. I realized that leadership isn’t exactly what I thought it was. Ever since then, my whole perception of facilitation and being a leader has changed because of that one exercise,” says Goodpipe in the article.

Since Goodpipe’s experience as a student in the workshops, the project has grown. The Acting Out team now includes over 3 research associates, 3 research assistants,

The workshops were facilitated by Dr. Warren Linds (Concordia University), Dr. Linda Goulet (FNUniv), Dustin Brass, David Benjoe and Tony Gee who is a puppeteer from England.

Describe the workshops

The different activities that are introduced to the youth vary from theatre games and other forms of art to improve the well-being of the youth.

“We are showing them different mediums of expression, talking to them and teaching them to convey story through those art pieces. Through those art pieces and through story, we find that we are looking at how we can reduce the risk of suicide by promoting that well-being,” says Community Research Associate Dustin Brass.

The full story can be viewed at the Degrees Magazine – Spring-Summer 2015.


For more information, please contact: 

Jeanelle Mandes
IPHRC Research Assistant – KT & Communications
(306) 337-2437



CIHR article on “Acting Out! But In A Good Way”

The Acting Out! But In A Good Way research project was featured in an article written by

“So much of what we’re doing is helping youth find their voice,”-IPHRC Director Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew commented in the article about the “Acting Out! But In A Good Way” research project which is working to help improve the mental health and well-being in First Nations youth through theatre and visual arts-based workshops.

The research project partnered with the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC) Health Services and is funded from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Tony Gee,  a puppeteer from England, participates with some of the theatre workshops by introducing the art of puppets and helping the youth to express their creative side of storytelling.

The research project has been gaining a lot of attention lately with all the hard work that everyone puts into.

Arts Based Tipi Camp Group Photo

Arts Based Tipi Camp Group Photo

The full story can be viewed on the CIHR website.

La Ronge 3-Day Theatre Workshop

This workshop is put on by: Lacey Eninew; Dr. Linda Goulet and Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew; Dr. Warren Linds; and Dr. Janice Victor.

The workshop used drama games to examine what healthy relationships are, how they affect their wellbeing, and what to do to have healthier relationships. They asked students who are interested to make a commitment to attend the full three days of the workshop. The workshop also developed creative expression, leadership, and decision-making skills to improve by sharing their experiences and examining issues in a safe environment. They explored positive ways to deal with health issues facing Aboriginal youth, some of which may be building friendships, supporting others through hard times, or feeling good about themselves. Workshops previously held with students have been very successful.

Most of the workshop will be drama-based with lots of games to help you look at different issues affecting relationships and your wellbeing. You will identify the issues that affect you and your community and come up with different ways to portray those experiences. The workshop leaders guided students through the activities and discussions.

At the end of the first and last days of the workshop, students were asked to share their thoughts, if they choose to, in an interview with one of the facilitators.



Kids participating in activities


Dustin Brass engaging with the kids through ice breaking activities.


Dustin Brass engaging the kids at the 3-day Theatre Workshop in La Ronge














For more information about the La Ronge 3-Day Theatre Workshop, please choose from the following link:

IPHRC Arts Based Tipi Camp

The camp took place from August 4 until August 8 at Takoza Tipi Camp with youth from different communities in the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council area to participate, gain essential skills and make new friends.

IPHRC Research Associates, Dustin Brass and David Benjoe (now Principal at Piapot First Nation Elementary School), organized the camp with help of IPHRC Research Assistants.

To read the full article, click here:

Videos from the arts-based symposium are now up!

On October 4-6, 2013, the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) hosted a weekend-long symposium entitled Miywâyâwin Wâhkôtawin: A Symposium to Build Relationships and Exchange Knowledge of Arts-based Innovations in Aboriginal Health Research. Over thirty health researchers, applied arts practitioners, health professionals, and students from North America were in attendance.  The weekend was captured in a 116 page visual report by documenter Kit Malo, and captured on video by videographer Gabriel Yahyahkeekoot.


To view the visual report and learn more about the symposium, check out our blog post HERE.

Check out the video links of the weekend’s activities below!


DAY 1 – Friday, October 4, 2013



DAY 2 – Saturday, October 5, 2013





DAY 3 – Sunday, October 6, 2013


Afternoon (Part 1)

Afternoon (Part 2)




Miywâyâwin Wâhkôtawin: A Symposium to Build Relationships and Exchange Knowledge of Arts-based Innovations in Aboriginal Health Research


Tony Gee from Devon, England

On October 4-6, 2013, the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC) hosted a weekend-long symposium entitled Miywâyâwin Wâhkôtawin: A Symposium to Build Relationships and Exchange Knowledge of Arts-based Innovations in Aboriginal Health Research. Over thirty health researchers, applied arts practitioners, health professionals, and students from North America were in attendance. Some of the many notable guests included Dr. Suzanne Christopher, Director of the Centre for Native Health Partnerships in Montana, Dr. Rosemary Jolly Weiss Chair of Literature and Human Rights at Penn State University, and Tony Gee, puppeteer, and artistic director of the Moveable Feast Workshop Company from Devon, England.

The research symposium also launched the awarding of a new CIHR (Canadian Institutes for Health Research) grant to a team of researchers from across Canada with principal investigators Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew, Director of IPHRC, Dr. Linda Goulet, First Nations University of Canada, Dr. Warren Linds, Concordia University, and Dr. Greg Marchildon, University of Regina, in the amount of $535,556 over three years. The grant, Kitinikewin misiwanacihisowin: Researching arts-based wellness promotion for suicide prevention among Aboriginal youth, builds on an existing CIHR arts-based research project that works in partnership with the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC) Health Services.


Students from Peepeekisis after performing their puppet show

The symposium began Friday evening with a prayer by elder Joe O’Watch from Carry the Kettle First Nation, who has previously served on the Elder advisory committee for the CIHR project. Following an opening by Dancing Young Buffalo Drum Group from Piapot First Nation, the symposium participants were treated to a puppet play by high school students from Peepeekisis First Nation who, through their puppets, conveyed their views of youth health and answered questions from the audience. The puppets and the play were created in a workshop earlier in the week offered by Tony Gee, Warren Linds, community partner Karen Schmidt, and research assistant David Benjoe, as part of the CIHR research project.


Dr. Rosemary Jolly speaks to symposium and community guests on Saturday evening

On Saturday and Sunday, the symposium participants engaged in arts-based knowledge generation techniques and shared research development, barriers and successes, and impacts and methods of communicating and learning with others including community members. On Saturday evening, IPHRC hosted a event open to the community on Aboriginal youth health at Albert Scott Community Centre in Regina with Danis Goulet’s film Barefoot on Aboriginal youth and teen pregnancy. The event also featured symposium participant and guest speaker, Dr. Rosemary Jolly, who discussed the relationship between human rights and health.


Symposium participants during one of the weekend’s many activities


The symposium ended Sunday evening with the participants viewing a 116 page visual report of the weekend’s activities. This multi-media report was a compilation of art pieces, journal entries, and photos taken by the weekend’s videographer, Gabriel Yahyahkeekoot, and was compiled by documenter Kit Malo. All participants were given a USB stick with a copy of the report to take with them, and will also be receiving a DVD of collected video footage from the entire symposium upon completion. We will post the video on the Acting Out site when it is completed.

You can view the visual report HERE.



Reflecting on a weekend of exploration and learning!


IPHRC wishes to acknowledge and thank the following institutions for their support in hosting the symposium: