The only market of its kind in Eastern Ontario has returned, just in time for National Indigenous History Month.
After a great success last fall, the Katarokwi Indigenous Art and Food Market is reopening for the 2022 season. Located in Springer Market Square, the market will highlight Indigenous artists, artisans, and musicians. Visitors will be able to shop and watch live music on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., beginning in June through to September 25, 2022.
Featured market vendors include Bougie Birch, a 100 per cent Indigenous-owned and -operated retail showcase of Indigenous artists; Martin’s Bead and Craft Supplies; Flint and Maple Beadwork, featuring handmade beadwork by local Katarokwi and Kanyen’kehá:ka artist, Liv Rondeau; Cadue Fine Foods; and W.C. Creatives, an Indigenous-owned boutique that also has a storefront at Kingston’s Fort Henry.
Georgina Riel of Riel Cultural Consulting, who is cohosting the market and was an integral part of its establishment in 2019, is excited for its return and encourages Kingstonians to visit. “It’s extremely important for all residents of Kingston and the surrounding area to get to know who the First Peoples are, you need to know the first history,” Riel says.
“We want people to come out and shop and meet who our vendors are, and come in and really enjoy our presentations, but it’s [all of] our responsibility to be accountable of being a local resident and getting to know [local history],” Riel adds.
The market is an excellent opportunity for artists to showcase their talent and hard work. “To have a storefront, that’s a big thing. That’s a big opportunity of being in that privileged space of being a business owner, and not many Indigenous People have that opportunity,” Riel says.
B Heaslip, a local Indigenous singer-songwriter, is excited to be performing at the market. This will be one of their first live performances, and they are looking forward to playing some of their original songs.
“It’s all very exciting to me because this will be the first chance for me to show people that I really have developed as a singer and writing music… I am really thankful for the chance to do it,” they say.
Heaslip has recently delved into their Indigenous roots, and they are “grateful to learn the many different blessings,” they say, referring to the teachings they’ve been able to engage with from other local Indigenous Peoples.
“I’m very lucky, because I’ve had a chance to talk to, keep company with, experience, and appreciate the Indigeneity of a wide group of Kingston’s Indigenous community, and I’m deeply grateful for the lessons that I’ve learned and the connections that I’ve made,” they added.
“I’d say I’m a humble and grateful student, much the same way I am with music,” Heaslip says with a joyous tone.
Riel also expressed her gratitude for the City of Kingston’s enthusiastic engagement with National Indigenous History Month. “What each municipality does speaks to their involvement with the [Indigenous] community,” Riel says. “The City of Kingston, in particular, the cultural Departments and the Parks and Recreations people, have always had a really good grasp and involvement of having conversations with [the Indigenous] community, doing collaborations and consultations, and making some really important changes.”
Riel also says that National Indigenous History Month “is significant because it’s always been an opportunity to celebrate, but it’s also been an opportunity to acknowledge and honour people that we have lost for many reasons.”
During National Indigenous History Month, Kingstonians have a wide range of opportunities to learn and engage with Indigenous culture and history. Lake Ontario Park is the site of a living public artwork, Manidoo Ogitigan (Spirit Garden), the Agnes Etherington Art Centre is home to an extensive Indigenous art collection, and many more events and locations can be found on the Tourism Kingston website.
According to Tourism Kingston, Kingston/Katarokwi is located on the traditional lands of the Huron-Wendat and the Mississauga of the Ojibways. To the local Indigenous Peoples, this city has long been known as Katarokwi, meaning “a place where there is clay.” In Anishinaabemowin, it is “Gaadanokwii.” In Mohawk, it is “Ken’tarókwen.”
Kingston continues to have a strong Indigenous presence and voice as caretakers of the land and water. Kingston/Katarokwi acknowledges the everlasting presence of Indigenous nations, the Métis, Inuit and other First Nations, and is grateful to reside in and visit this territory.