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Mishibizhew Miinwa Animkii Bineshi Kwe

Elliott Doxtater-Wynn

Anishaabek / Kanien'keha':ka

Mishibizhew is the Lynx headed dragon of Ojibwe true history and legend. There are stories and petroglyph depictions of this being around the Great Lakes. It is said that Mishibizhew is a water spirit, covered in both scales and fur. It is also said it has a sharpened tail made of copper. As part of the celebration for the Year of the Dragon and honouring Asian heritage, this depiction incorporates the being with 5 visible toes as well as the inclusion of gold to represent power, wealth, longevity, and happiness. 

Animikii Bineshi Kwe (Thunderbird Woman) is a very powerful and prominent being in Indigenous culture. Being depicted as a woman in connection to Mishibizhew works in a couple of ways. Traditionally, female energy is connected to water, in this case interacting with a water being. She is adorned with 7 feathers to honour the 7 Grandfather teachings. The 2 feathers on her head show her as married. She is holding a cleansing bowl and burning medicines as an offering to bring balance.

In the Indigenous culture, Thunderbird and serpents are fierce enemies, representing air and water respectively. Mishibezhew is not a serpent, but more of a Lynx-type dragon creature. Animikii Bineshi Kwe is also adorned with the Thunderbird petroglyph. Thunderbird and Mishibizhew symbolize balance as two opposing forces. Animikii Bineshi Kwe radiates peace and balance to calm Mishibizhew. The background of the image is the northern lights, recalling the land of Northern Ontario.

Elliott Doxtater-Wynn is of Odawa/ Mohawk and Delaware ancestry. He is an Indian day school survivor and an inter- and multi-generational residential school survivor. Elliott represents the first generation of his family to not attend residential school. He was raised on the Six Nations Indian Reserve, now raising his family in North Western Ontario. His career started after graduating from the H.B. Beal Art School in London, ON, and now holds a HBFA and BEd with Lakehead University, a member of OCT and a Masters in Inclusive Design through OCADU, specializing in Relating Indigenous Worldview Through Storytelling and Inclusive Technologies. He has also spent much of the last 30 years learning from traditional Elders and knowledge keepers as well as field study research in Indigenous culture and effects on cultural anthropology.

Elliott is a career artist with completed works in music, writing, graphic novel, drawing, sculpture, and landscape design. Among his most notable works is a bottle made of bound willow branches, signifying a connection with the land, which was selected by Coca-Cola for their pavilion at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. This was in addition to designs for 2 venue sites for the Olympics and a highlighted appearance as guest artist at the Indigenous Pavillion. He has been involved in fine arts and First Nation cultural education for the past 20 years where he has applied his experience and knowledge as a mentor, leader, and educator.

His body of work also includes writing, visual art, music and technology. Past accolades include the Aboriginal Youth Achievement award, the first Indigenous recipient of the Top 40 under 40 Chamber of Commerce Business Award for Northwestern Ontario, Thunder Bay Artist of the Year 2017, selected designs for the 2010 Olympics. Additionally he was a broadcaster for CBC Radio1, Thunder Bay for 12 years. Most recently he had been working with Keewaytinook Okimakanak communities in Northwestern Ontario to record and archive cultural knowledge and histories to be used in educational resources development.

LunarFest GTA is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered on this land, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples whose arts and stories inspire us to bring communities together.

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LunarFest GTA is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered on this land, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples whose arts and stories inspire us to bring communities together.

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