A Windfall of Support for Yup’ik Musician Qacung

Alaska Native man wearing jean jacket with patches and holding a guitar. Sitting on box.
Qacung Blanchett. Courtesy Joy Demmert.

Yup’ik culture bearer and Pamyua bandmember Qacung Blanchett has been using music to perpetuate culture for three decades, and recently the support has been rolling in. In late 2021, Blanchett received a Native Arts & Cultures Foundation SHIFT award to develop a series of workshops that strengthen Sugpiaq/Alutiiq drumming and dancing on Kodiak Island. In early 2022, he was recognized as a United States Artist Fellow and named one of the Kennedy Center’s Next 50. “I’m really excited. To get this type of recognition is pretty huge. It’s pretty big for any artist,” he said.

USA Fellows receive $50,000 of unrestricted funding and support from a financial advisor to use the money in the most impactful way. Blanchett released a solo album in 2021, and he said the fellowship funds are a resource that could help him continue creating his own music. 

To celebrate a half century, the Kennedy Center recognized 50 leaders in arts, athletics, and other disciplines. The center and the 50 leaders will collaborate to continue offering opportunities in arts and heritage. “I’m going to be leveraging that resource of the Kennedy Center to be able to uplift the work we’re doing in cultural justice and decolonization work we do in schools and communities,” Blanchett said.

On top of his personal artistic pursuits and educational initiatives, Blanchett works as the Art Education Director for Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. He spearheaded the creation of the Juneau-based Rock Áak’w festival, an indigenous music festival that launched in November 2021 and will be an ongoing event held every other year. Learn more about Blanchett on qacung.com.

Nunavut has a new music industry association

Nunavut Music seeks to support industry professionals and strengthen Inuit language and culture.

Until recently, Nunavut was the only Canadian province or territory without an official music industry association. With the establishment of Nunavut Music, that is no longer the case.

The mission of the non-profit organization is to help Nunavut artists and industry workers create sustainable careers in music through professional development, administrative assistance, fundraising, performance opportunities, travel support, networking opportunities, and more.

Other objectives include advocacy and representation at industry events, promotion to global markets, and strengthening of Inuit languages and culture through music. In short, Nunavut Music is designed to become a singular music development hub and contact point.

The organization will be run by a volunteer staff and steering committee, whose members will represent and lobby on behalf of local needs. In order to serve, individuals, groups, and organizations must be either: 

  • Nunavut industry professionals with 2+ years experience
  • Canadian industry professionals 15+ years experience, or
  • Representatives from Nunavut-based arts, cultural, and economic development organizations, which are either democratically elected, demographically-representative, or reputable advocates of the interests of Nunavummiut artists.

The founding organizational members include Qaggiavuut Society, Alianait Arts Festival, HitmakerzIqaluit Music Society, and several others. A callout for artist and industry professional members will be announced soon. Consultations with the Government of NunavutTravel NunavutL’Association des francophones du Nunavut, and other related music industry stakeholders are also underway.

The organization’s Executive Director will be Thor Simonsen, a long-time supporter of Nunavut’s music industry. Simonsen grew up in Iqaluit, but is currently based in Ottawa. He has worked as a professional musician, music producer, instructor, and record label executive.

The organization was founded in December 2022, and once properly up and running, Nunavut Music hopes to launch many new programs and services for Nunavummiut, starting in 2023. Plans to train and hire Inuit staff and provide services in both Inuktitut and French are also currently in development.

To learn more, please visit www.nunavutmusic.com


For more information, please contact [email protected]
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Native Artists create works for a new exhibition at the High Desert Museum

The original exhibit Creations of Spirit will be open at the High Desert Museum opening January 28, 2023, and will run through October 1, 2023

News announcement from High Desert Museum

For many Native communities throughout the High Desert, what constitutes art spans beyond the walls of a gallery or a museum. Objects are alive, tied to purpose and intrinsic to thriving communities. Art is at once utilitarian and ceremonial, as well as part of the continuation of Native traditions.

Opening on January 28, 2023Creations of Spirit will immerse High Desert Museum visitors in the Indigenous Plateau worldview, reflecting knowledge systems of tribes along the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Six Native artists commissioned for this new, original exhibition are creating artwork that will be used in Native communities before arriving at the Museum. A seventh artist is creating an interactive piece for the center of the gallery. Creations of Spirit will be a one-of-a-kind, celebratory experience featuring the stories of these living works of art. Videos, audio and large projections will immerse visitors in the landscapes and communities in which these objects are used, highlighting the theme of artwork as alive, full of stories and created for specific purposes and people. The original works will be supplemented with nine artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

“The works offered by these deeply gifted and knowledgeable artists will be used in their communities to teach and share traditions,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “And the objects will continue to be available to Native communities to use even after Creations of Spirit closes as part of the Museum’s collection. We plan for community members to continue to access these objects.”

About the Native artists

The artists in Creations of Spirit have roots throughout the Plateau region.

Joe Feddersen (Colville) is an acclaimed contemporary sculptor, basket weaver, painter, photographer and mixed-media artist who created a basket for the exhibition that will be used to harvest roots in the spring. Feddersen, a member of the Colville Confederated Tribal Arts and Humanities Board, received the Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art award in 2021 and is one of six Indigenous artists to be featured in the 2023 Renwick Gallery Invitational at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Joe Feddersen (Colville) is an acclaimed contemporary sculptor, basket weaver, painter, photographer and mixed-media artist who created a basket for the exhibition that will be used to harvest roots in the spring. (Courtesy image)

RYAN! Feddersen (Colville) is a well-known regional artist working on an art piece for the center of the Creations of Spirit gallery. Feddersen grew up in Wenatchee, Washington and is now based in Tacoma. Her visual artwork utilizes metaphor, history, Plateau storytelling and pop culture influences. Her large-scale pieces have been shown at the Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Art & History Santa Cruz, Burke Museum and Portland Art Museum.

RYAN! Feddersen (Colville) is a well-known regional artist working on an art piece for the center of the Creations of Spirit gallery. (Courtesy image)

Natalie Kirk (Warm Springs) is weaving two baskets that will be used to educate youth through schools and community programs. Kirk considers herself a contemporary weaver who has shown her artwork at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland.

Natalie Kirk (Warm Springs) is weaving two baskets that will be used to educate youth through schools and community programs. (Courtesy image)

H’Klumaiyat Roberta Joy Kirk (Wasco, Warm Springs, Diné) is creating regalia for young women to wear during special ceremonies. Kirk has spent her life sewing and beading since her family lost priceless family heirlooms in a house fire as a young girl. She passes down the intricate art of Plateau beadwork through classes and mentoring. Kirk was a recipient of the 2020 Governor’s Arts Award.

Phillip Cash Cash, Ph.D. (Cayuse, Nez Perce) is producing traditional Plateau flutes that he will play to teach others about their cultural significance. Cash Cash is an artist, writer, endangered language advocate and linguistic anthropology scholar. As a fluent Nez Perce speaker, he works with communities and professional organizations to promote cultural advocacy, identity and communication. He co-founded the Luk’upsiimey/North Star Collective, which supports Indigenous artists and writers. Cash Cash serves on the board of the Endangered Language Fund and the Native Voices Endowment.

Phillip Cash Cash, Ph.D. (Cayuse, Nez Perce) is creating traditional Plateau flutes that he will play to help teach others about their cultural significance. (Courtesy image)

Jefferson Greene (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) is constructing a tule reed canoe and paddles used by Native youth in continuing important cultural traditions. Greene is an executive at the Columbia River Institute for Indigenous Development Foundation and an Ichishkiin who offers classes to students, kindergarten to the professional level, in language, arts, and language instructor. Greene is also an artist who offers classes to students, from kindergarten to professional levels, in language, arts, sports, health and spiritual education.

Jefferson Greene (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) is constructing a tule reed canoe and paddles that will be used by Native youth in continuing important cultural traditions. (Courtesy image)

Kelli Palmer (Wasco, Warm Springs) is creating a traditional corn husk hat known as a Patłapa. Palmer grew up on the Warm Springs Reservation. At a Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association gathering, Palmer’s mother tricked her into walking around the room. Palmer attended her first class, and she’s been weaving ever since. She now teaches basketry classes throughout Oregon and Washington. Among numerous awards, she received Best in Show at the Tribal Member Art Show in Warm Springs in 2009 and Honorable Mention in 2011.

Kelli Palmer (Wasco, Warm Springs) is creating a traditional corn husk hat known as a Patłapa. She also teaches traditional basketry classes throughout Oregon and Washington. (Courtesy image)

The original exhibit Creations of Spirit will be open at the High Desert Museum through Sunday, October 1, 2023.

Learn more at highdesertmuseum.org/creations-of-spirit.

Creations of Spirit is made possible by Bend Cultural Tourism Fund, Central Oregon Daily, Ford Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Old Mill District, Oregon Community Foundation and Oregon Heritage Commission with support from Bend Magazine, Cascade A&E and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.


The HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon, in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Sundance Sets Inaugural Indigenous House With IllumiNative (Exclusive)

The social justice organization will hold events at the film festival Jan. 21 and 22.

By Rebecca Sun

Crystal Echo Hawk
IllumiNative founder Crystal Echo Hawk

Courtesy of IllumiNative

Sundance will continue to see a number of first-time official “houses” dedicated to specific cultural groups during the 2023 festival. IllumiNative, the Indigenous social justice organization founded in 2018, will host the inaugural Indigenous House on Main Street in Park City from Jan. 21 and 22.

“The entertainment industry has always been one of the biggest perpetrators of our erasure, but Native peoples have flipped the script and are breaking barriers and making incredible strides in representation. The Indigenous House is a celebration of the contributions made by Native creatives, artists, filmmakers and the creativity, beauty and strength of Native peoples,” IllumiNative founder and executive director Crystal Echo Hawk said in a statement. “Our hope is to create a space where Native and non-Native peoples can come together in community, learn and get inspired, acknowledge the barriers Native peoples have overcome and still face in the film industry, as well as celebrate the Native films selected for this year and the opportunities in the future to bring more Native stories, talent and voices to audiences.”

The two-day schedule of events will include dinners and panel discussions that integrate film with music, fashion and food. Themes discussed will focus on Native impact on pop culture and society, including: Indigenous women and women of color in entertainment; the growing role of tribes as well as Native talent and companies in the film industry; the importance and impact of visibility and representation; and the contribution of Native creatives, activists and other leaders in the entertainment industry.

At Indigenous House, IllumiNative is also expected to unveil its new research on the impact of Native films and television shows on audiences, as well as offer opportunities to partner with and invest in Indigenous creatives and Indian Country. The house is made possible with support from Open Society Foundations, the Pechanga Band of Indians, Pop Culture Collaborative, Decolonizing Wealth Project, The Christensen Fund, Culture Change Fund, MacArthur Foundation and Nielsen.

Edmonton Hip Hop artist and the “Country gamble ” thats paying off, Okimaw Award win and Deep Freeze Festival

Hip Hop artist gambles on new direction in Country music, wins Okimaw Award, more winter performances and a new single thats going strong


Happy new year music family! 

When Edmonton based Indigenous artist Rellik ventured away from Hip Hop, and chose to explore the boundaries of music, he was heading into uncharted waters.

But after a full album and 2 years worth of performances throughout North America, his feet are now wet within the Country music market.

“It was such a roll of the dice for me. I had just had an amazing run  in Hip Hop, won major awards and was being plastered and placed all over the spectrum, but I knew there was a world beyond Rap music for me and I needed to do this.”

Fresh off the heels of an award win at Edmonton’s city hall at the 2022 Okimaw Awards which celebrates Indigenous men who display leadership qualities in their communities, Rellik has a brand new single, This Town, which is doing well on local radio stations as well as syndicated shows throughout North America and around the globe including CFWE/ CJWE , CBC RADIO ONE Key of A , Tunes from Turtle Island across Europe , U.K and Australia, Julian Taylors Jukebox, and Indigenous in Music with Larry K and the NV1 Network which syndicates across 200+ stations to name but a few.

While the new single is still picking up steam following the Christmas break, Rellik is also scheduled to perform at this year’s Deep Freeze Festival on January 21 and 22nd as well as tour support for Ishkode Records Artist, Aysnabee who rolls through Edmonton on February 10th at the Aviary.

Hear more about the new single here!

Download press kit and all assets here!

Rellik is available for features or interviews and greatly appreciates any media coverage.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected]


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Lifetime Achievement recipient Lee Tiger (Miccosukee) of the premiere Native rock group who helped forge a Native rock music movement with his brother Stephen in Tiger Tiger, has died. He passed from an illness at the age of 72. According to his brother William Tiger, a memorial service was held on Tuesday morning, January 10th 2023 at the Woodlawn Park South in Miami, Florida.

Lee and his brother Stephen Tiger of Tiger Tiger were honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Eighth Annual Native American Music Awards held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida in 2006. The brothers were recognized for their 40-plus year career achievements as innovators of the early Native American rock music movement.  In their recipient speech Lee stated, “We’re trying to educate people through music.” Stephen provided encouragement to the younger generation and said, “If you have the talent, stick with it. Believe in yourself. Believe in our Breathmaker. Let your talent flow.  Be strong and one of these days something good will happen to you.” https://youtu.be/guEpr62TmbM

Sadly, their presence at the Awards would be the brothers’ final public appearance together. Tragically, Stephen Tiger died of a head injury after an accidental fall in his Miami home. He was 57 years old. Later that year, Lee completed the recordings he and his brother were last working on and released, “Eye of the Tiger” and
and “Native To This Country.” Seven years after the death of his brother, Lee began recording again and released several more albums as a solo artist.  In 2013, he recorded and released his first solo album entitled, “New Era”. Two years later, he released, “Chapter I: The Adventure Called Life” album. In 2017, he released “One Earth One People Come Together Chapter II” and re-released a remixed version of the title song in April 2021 which would be his last. A jacket worn by Lee is part of the memorabilia collection at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida recognizing him as a Native American rock pioneer.

Lee first started performing in the 1960’s with his brother Stephen Tiger as Tiger Tiger and continued together until their last album in 2006. The group sang of the love of their land in the Everglades set in their unique rock pop format with mainstream appeal.  Tiger Tiger successfully transcended Native and non-Native culture through their artistry. They performed from coast to coast as well as internationally and shared stages with such rock icons as; Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Chicago, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, the Grateful Dead, Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Jefferson Starship, and Johnny Winter among others. The band toured across the United States, Spain, Germany, South America and Europe. They released three albums on the ESP and Soar/Warrior labels, and one on their own imprint, TTM Records. Their debut album was entitled, “Dream Scout” and released in 1996. Their second recording was “Southern Exposure” in 2000 followed by “Peace from the Everglades” in 2005, a dedication to the survival of the Miccosukee and Seminole people of Florida which received a nomination from the Grammys, and several Native American Music Award nominations. 

Stephen and Lee Tiger grew up on what is now the Miccosukee reservation  located near Miami. When the two were young boys, they found two plastic guitars in a pile of toys that were delivered for children in their village. Lee Tiger had recalled, “We tuned them up and we started learning to play off those things. It worked.”  Their first gigs were in the Everglades until Lee and Stephen moved to Los Angeles. Lee did a stint with an act called, The Seven of Us, which later became NRBQ.  Stephen had formed a band in Los Angeles, called Sun Country which then became Tiger Tiger. But their father, Chief Buffalo Tiger, the first chief of the Miccosukee after the tribe split from the Seminole, brought them back home to help launch the Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival. This led to Lee’s other involvement in tourism and Stephen’s work in public relations for the tribe while they followed their true passion and continued to forge a Native American rock movement for the next 30 years.

Lee’s very last recording was the rerelease of his song off his solo album effort entitled, “One Earth, One People, Come Together” in April 2021. He played most of the instruments on the album. The song was a tribute to the legacy he created with his brother Stephen and aimed to be a rock and roll anthem for global unity and a call to action to protect the environment. 

News of Lee Tiger’s passing was immediately embraced by both members of the Miccosukee and Seminole nations as well as the Native American music community. Multiple award winner, and rock recording artist, Cody Blackbird of the Blackbird Band called Lee, “A true Legend” and fondly remembered when Lee invited him to play at the Miccosukee Tribal festival and the friendships he made there. 

Lee is survived by his sons, Eric and Calvin Tiger, and daughter, Summer Tiger, and several grandchildren. Lee will be deeply missed by his family and friends but has left a legacy of great music. Journey well Lee.


Jacob Okatsiak! Is this kid the future of Nunavut pop music?

In September 2022, Jacob Okatsiak released “Fly High”; his first single, leading up to the release of, Inuugapta, his 15-song debut album, which is slated for release in early 2023.

“Fly High” is an homage to Okatsiak’s late friend who died in a tragic camping accident. The single’s artwork features a photo of his friend during a happy moment described in the song.

Much of the album was self-recorded in Okatsiak’s home studio, with virtual artistic and technical support from legendary Inuk rapper and producer, Hyper-T, as well as Sarah Elaine McLay and Thor Simonsen from the Iqaluit-based record label, Hitmakerz. The album was created with financial support from the Government of Nunavut.

Jacob Okatsiak is sometimes referred to as the “Drake of Nunavut” due to his ability to rap, sing, and perform just about any musical instrument. Jacob is authentic in his music, inviting listeners to share in his journey through the highs and lows of life.

Originally from Arviat, Nunavut – one of the creative centers of the Arctic territory – Okatsiak has been honing his musical skills since his late father first began teaching him piano at the age of 7. His love of music began with the gospel music that his father would play with him.

Since then, Okatsiak has continued improving his talents. In addition to playing piano, guitar, bass, harmonica, violin, drums, and accordion, he also sings, raps, makes beats, and even records and produces music for other Inuit artists.

Okatsiak has also been improving his knowledge of the music industry. In 2021, he traveled to Ottawa to begin working on his album alongside Hyper-T, as well as a host of other accomplished music industry veterans.

In addition to being a prolific songwriter and performing artist, Okatsiak is also deeply involved in his community. He is a Recreation Director, a devout Christian, and a promising athlete, having often represented his territory at national sporting events.

Artwork from Jacob Okatsiak’s first single “Fly High”. 

Inuugapta will include a variety of songs that explore life in the remote communities of Canada’s Arctic region. Okatsiak’s music covers the spectrum of human emotions, including love, loss, ambition, and joy.

In October 2022, Okatsiak will be performing at the new NUPOP showcase festival in Iqaluit. In November 2022, he will tour in communities across Nunavut with the Atii Angutiit men’s program

“Fly High” is now available on all streaming platforms. The full album, Inuugapta, is scheduled for release in early 2023.

To learn more about Jacob Okatsiak, follow him on social media or check out his website jacobokatsiak.com 

Sacheen Littlefeather Journeys On

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Actress, model and activist, Sacheen LittleFeather, who made headlines for calling attention to discrimination and injustice against American Indians by publicly rejecting Marlon Brando’s Oscar for his role in “The Godfather” onstage at the Academy Awards  has died. 

Of White Mountain Apache and Yaqui heritage on her father’s side, Sacheen Cruz Littlefeather appeared at the Academy Awards on behalf of Marlon Brando on March 27, 1973  and read a statement to protest Hollywood’s portrayal and mistreatment of American Indians. She addressed offensive cliches of American Indians perpetuated on film and television and drew attention to recent happenings at Wounded Knee. She created one of the most poignant and historic moments in Oscar history that was met with both booing and applause in front of a live audience and an estimated 85 million television viewers. 

According to the Academy, the 26-year-old Ms. Littlefeather was the first Native American woman to appear onstage at the Oscars. Littlefeather had known Marlon Brando for about a year before she stepped onto the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on his behalf. She declined the award he had received for playing Mafia boss Vito Corleone in “The Godfather.” Addressing the audience in a buckskin dress and moccasins, she explained that Brando, an activist for Native American rights, had written “a very long speech” but that she was unable to deliver it “because of time.” According to the Washington Post, she later said that the show’s producer, Howard W. Koch had threatened to have her arrested if she spoke for more than a minute. 

Prior to her appearance, the Oscars steered clear of politics and social issues. But Littlefeather’s speech made a groundbreaking change. And she had closed her statement, “I beg at this time that I have not intruded upon the evening and that we will in the future, our hearts and our understandings, will be met with love and generousity.”

Today, actors and filmmakers often use their acceptance speeches to call out other injustices. Recently, she returned to the Academy as an invited guest of honor for an evening of reflection at the Academy”s museum.

On September 17th, 2022, she received a formal apology from the Academy. Littlefeather said she was “stunned” by the apology. “I never thought I’d live to see the day I would be hearing this, experiencing this,” she said. Littlefeather had been suffering from breast cancer and died at her home in California on Sunday. Journey well Sacheen Littlefeather.

Watch Sacheen’s statement at the Oscars in 1973 here:


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South Dakota Book of the Year Author Visits USD

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South Dakota Book of the Year Author Visits USDCampusNick Estes presents the thoughts behind his book to USD students and community. Submitted

September 20th, 2022 Zadya Abbott Campus, Student Life 0 comments

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On Sept. 15 the South Dakota Book of the Year author made a visit to Farber Hall. Nick Estes is a historian based out of Minneapolis. His novel, “Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance” was published in 2019 and won the 2022 SD Book of the Year.

Estes is a USD alumni. He regards the university as the first environment that offered him the opportunity to write in his own language with others that were learning as well.

From there he would write the first sections of his award-winning novel for his dissertation. The novel largely follows the story of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protest that followed the controversy.

“It shows that Indigenous values are universal values,” Estes said.

The talk, Q&A and book signing was organized by Director of Native Recruitment and Alumni Engagement, John Little. It was sponsored by the Wiyuskinyan Unpi Tipi Living Learning Community, Native Students Services and the USD Sustainability Program.

After the research process was completed, Estes said it took him roughly four weeks to write out the novel. Something he originally did entirely by hand before transferring the words to type.

During the Q&A, J’leigh WhiteWhirlwind, a freshman and member of the Wiyuskinyan Unpi Tipi Living Learning Community, asked Estes about any advice he may have for undergraduate students, as both an alumni and an author.

“Go to class,” Estes said. “Even if you haven’t read, go to class. It is true what they say about 90% of life being showing up.”

The first 25 students to arrive at the event were given a free copy of Estes’ novel. This was partially due to Nick Estes’ refusal of a pay stipend for the event and instead he purchased additional books for students.

USD junior, and Tiospaye President, Rachel Overstreet, attended the event with several of her peers.

“He’s a really good example of a Native scholar who is changing the way that we think about Native history in South Dakota,” Overstreet said. “And even beyond that, he also is a really good role model for students who might be interested in future scholarships.”

At the end of the event each of the attendees were given the opportunity to have their books signed. Those that took advantage of that opportunity had a hand-written reminder from Estes, “Remember Our Stories.”

Inuk Author Sarabeth Holden Announces Sophomore Book Benny the Bananasaurus Rex

Author and entrepreneur Sarabeth Holden is happy to announce her second children’s book Benny the Bananasaurus Rex, published by Inhabit Media Inc., with illustrations by Emma Pedersen, will be available in Canada on September 20, 2022. Sarabeth Holden will also host a free book launch celebration on September 24 at Community Centre 55 in Toronto.

Benny loves bananas. He eats them morning, noon, and night. He even rides a bike with a yellow banana seat. In fact, Benny has a secret – he hopes one day he will turn into a banana! If there is one thing Benny knows, it’s that with a little imagination anything is possible.

Benny the Bananasaurus Rex is a funny and relatable story of a little boy who can be anything he wants to be (whether it’s a dinosaur, or a banana, or both!) with a big imagination and a bit of help from his anaana.

“Readers will notice that Benny calls his mom “Anaana,” and they might think it’s because it rhymes with “banana”. Anaana is the Inuktitut word for mom, and it’s the name that we use in our house because it is part of our Inuit heritage,” said Sarabeth Holden. “Grandmother is “Anaanatsiaq.” Benny shortens the word to call his grandmother “Siaq” as his term of endearment for her. I decided to use this wee bit of Inuktitut in this English book because I know we’re not the only home who uses different terms for family members, even though English may be the primary language spoken in our home.”

A multifaceted and well-rounded entrepreneur, Sarabeth Holden loves to cook, write, and be active – whether in sports or community action. In 2020 alone Sarabeth released her debut book Please Don’t Change My Diaper, and opened the bespoke Red Tape Brewery with her husband Sean. Sarabeth has worked as Senior Policy Advisor with the Government of Ontario, volunteered with several Indigenous organizations, and is the President of the Toronto Inuit Association. Sarabeth lives in Toronto with Sean, and their two young sons.

Benny the Bananasaurus Rex is published by Inhabit Media Inc., the first Inuit-owned, independent publishing company in the Canadian Arctic. Inhabit Media aims to promote and preserve the stories, knowledge, and talent of the Arctic, while also supporting research in Inuit mythology and the traditional Inuit knowledge of Nunavummiut (residents of Nunavut, Canada’s northernmost territory). The authors, storytellers, and artists bring traditional knowledge to life in a way that is accessible to readers both familiar and unfamiliar with Inuit culture and traditions. 

Benny the Bananasaurus Rex
Book Launch

Saturday, September 24
Community Centre 55, 97 Main Street 
Toronto, Ontario

Media Contact: Damien Nelson, [email protected]

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