Northumberland Art Lovers: Melody Crowe

Whenever I teach indigenous people–our own people–the language, I see it as a relearning. I always feel like that language is there. It just needs to be able to be relearned.

Melody Crowe

NFOTA’s Felicity Sidnell Reid interviews Melody Crowe, elder of the Alderville First Nation, artist, educator, change-maker, and dedicated preserver of Ojibway culture.

In this series we feature interviews and discussions with Individual Artists, Leaders of Arts Groups and Organizations, Civic Leaders, and other Arts Lovers in our county.

Northumberland Festival of the Arts will take place across Northumberland County from September 16 – October 2, 2022.

Melody Crowe speaks with NFOTA’s Felicity Sidnell Reid.

“There are so many stories that need to be told, so many voices that need to be heard, and art allows that expression…and it’s filled with so much beauty, so much richness, and it gives so much to all of us. And I see it as something that really connects us when we see art and feel that art whatever form it comes in.”–Melody Crowe

“I always wonder what generation of our indigenous people will not have to carry the burden of that history of racism, of the injustice that we all have carried and do carry.”–Melody Crowe

Melody Crowe

About Melody:

Melody Crowe is an elder of Alderville First Nation and has lived in that community all her life.  She studied at Trent University, earning not only her Honours BA in Indigenous Studies, but also numerous prizes including  both the ‘Joyce Moonias and ‘K.E. Kidd’ Memorial Awards. In 2007 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award for the preservation of Language and Culture from the Union of Ontario Indians. And she is the recipient of many other awards over the course of her career. 

Melody has worked tirelessly for the preservation of Ojibway culture and language for more than 25 years and she’s currently First Nations Education Liaison for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. She also acted as a juror for awards in honour of Ontario’s first Indigenous Lieutenant Governor, James Bartleman. The James Bartelman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing Awards are given each year as a legacy to his efforts to promote literacy among Aboriginal youth. Through her company Aandeg Productions, Melody has produced a variety of materials dedicated to creating a deeper understanding and appreciation of First Nation culture, knowledge, language and wisdom. She has published a number of books for young readers who are learning Ojibwe.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. dmwauthor says:

    Melody is an admirable leader. Thank you for interviewing her. Her words ring true.

  2. kimaubrey says:

    Thank you for this fascinating and inspiring interview, Melody and Felicity!

  3. I loved the history, the linguistic elements (eg: “Thunderer’s necklace” = rainbow in Ojibway), and the tie-in between language, history and culture. This is the kind of interview one listens to closely – twice. An insightful and thought-provoking discussion that gave me both joy and sadness. I am glad that Melody’s work is a blessing. And I, too, wonder when Indigenous people will be able to stop carrying the burden of other people’s racist ideas and behaviours.

  4. Alice Olsen Williams says:

    An excellent article

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