Dance Studio Lodge
Friday Creeations has now established a community-supported cultural space equipped with a professional sprung dance floor. The Dance Studio Lodge is a platform for artistic learning, creation, retreats and performances located in Christine’s home community of Temagami First Nation/Bear Island. Activating cultural spaces on ancestral lands supports the assertion of sovereignty through the rebuild of the Fridays Camp, a historical family tourist business.
Friday Creeations incorporated in 2018 is a multifaceted Indigenous dance company and community platform that empowers creative entrepreneurship leading to sovereignty by deepening the connection to land, empowerment and truth. Friday Creeations blends contemporary dance elements through a traditional cultural approach based on the origins of Anishinaabe culture. This worldview creates visceral performances, dance films, and community-based experiences responding to the need for diversity in storytelling, led by award-winning choreographer-performer, community activator Christine Friday.
Friday Creeations creates original productions that ignite the fire for awakening with transformative productions focusing on Anishinaabe culture, promoting healing through the arts. Our Anishinaabe stories are the legacy and cultural connection of our people. Our creation stories continue to provide inner direction, showing us throughout our lives the gifts we have and the (good life) path we are to stay on to fulfill our mission. This (good life) path has many challenges, and we are instructed through our teachings to stay true to ourselves and our way of living and being Anishinaabe. The vision of the Dance Studio Lodge (DSL) links artistic creation with land-based activity. The DSL is connected with an outfitters’ company. Guests are immersed in an authentic cultural experience, including guided day canoe trips, hikes, fishing and camping.
These opportunities create reconciliation in action by building reciprocity and deepened relationships with the land, by implementing the balance required to protect the land and our way of life as Anishnaabe. This allows for remote or semi-remote connection with the traditional lands of the Algonquin-Anishinaabe people. When we look after land the land looks after us and naturally provides this intimate connection and inspirational experience.
The teepee was built over two years, with an in depth process where canvas was sewn together, poles were harvested and prepared then followed by a web of human dynamics leading to the successful installation that happened at the home base of Fridays Creeations during Saasaaikwe “Our spirit calling out” festival event. This honors and gives representation that our culture is alive and well in this present moment.
The Friday family was given half of the territory no.10 (Speck 1913) which the family still occupies to this day since 1890. This territory is approximately 100 square miles in area and includes a number of lakes, trapping and hunting areas within the boundaries that are actively used, occupied and harvested on to this day. In 1890 after our great great grandfather passed away, Michel Wabi-M’Kwa (White Bear) took my great great uncle James Friday out on the land and showed him the lakes and natural boundaries of what would be the Friday Family Tribal territory. This territory was given to Margaret Saunders-Friday and her eight children. Margarets sons built her a log house where the family lived until they later built a hotel and hunting and fishing tourist lodge which became a thriving self sustaining business at the land base known as “Fridays’ Point” and under the business name “Fridays Camp”. The camp was established by Bill and Jim Friday in 1883.The home and business was burned down in the 1960’s by the Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources and Forestry, then the Department of Lands and Forests.
Originally the Friday family (of Cree origin) had traveled down from the James Bay area and settled in the Temagami area after Margaret Saunders was given a piece of territory by the Algonquin family, the Whitebears (hereditary Chief of the time).
This land continues to be used for sustainable practices that include: harvesting, hunting, fishing ceremony and living as a continued way of life and being in a healing and sacred way.