Art is Sacred: Honouring Indigenous Stories


Frank Polson © Nadya Kwandibens

By Ka’nahsohon Kevin Deer, President of Sacred Fire Productions and Cultural Leader Kanien’kehà:ka / Mohawk

Sacred Fire Productions is an 11-year-old not-for-profit Indigenous arts organization and a registered charity.

The mission of Sacred Fire Productions is to build bridges between Indigenous artists and audiences of all ages and backgrounds, including urban areas, so that these artists can assert themselves, develop, and live better from their art.

As a First Nations person and President of Sacred Fire Productions, I want to acknowledge the vital role of Indigenous artists in honouring our stories and building legacies for generations to come.

When we talk about resilience, tenacity, and the importance of staying connected to culture, language is critical. There are bits of wisdom that are contained within my language. For example, we call ourselves “Onkwehon:we.” The first part of the word, “Onkwe,” means person, and the second part, “hon:we,” comes from the root word “tsi nen:we,” which means “forever.” It literally means, “I am a person that has a spiritual essence that is forever,” or we can also say a spiritual being having a human experience. When you understand this, it is very empowering.

sacred fire productions
Ka’nahsohon Kevin Deer © Courtesy of Sacred Fire Productions

In these precarious times that we are living in; it is foretold within Indigenous prophecies that we will witness turbulent times. If we look at some of the recent events, the initial 215 children whose spirits have resurrected from the dead, followed by the pandemic, the ice caps melting, and the forest fires raging, we will see that the natural world and Mother Earth are giving us signs.

Human beings, for the most part, need to shift their perspectives and see through a different lens, hear a different song, and speak a different language and together work equally to bring about the change that is necessary as we need a new paradigm. These three attributes are part of the Longhouse grief ceremony that helps to restore the mind, deal with pain, loss, and allow us to move forward to begin seriously to work together as one for this generation and those yet to come.

Art is sacred: it is the embodiment of stories, political struggles, hope, and resilience. Art is a universal language that brings people of all nations and territories together to listen to the amplified voices through the process of creation.

We are one family nourishing ourselves from the bosom of Mother Earth, who gives us all unconditional love in the form of land, air, water, fish, plants, animals, birds, and trees. Indigenous wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are essential to reconciliation, first and foremost within, with one another, with the Earth, and with the ancestral realm.

It is the core belief of Sacred Fire Productions that art will bring us together and help transform the world through awareness and activating voices. Within the epitome of all human beings burns a sacred fire, our life force. It is the power to create, heal, nourish from within, and bring change.

Learn more about Sacred Fire Productions and the importance of making Indigenous voices heard at

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The mission of Sacred Fire Productions is to establish bridges between Indigenous artists and audiences of all ages and backgrounds, including in urban areas, so that these artists can assert themselves, develop and better live from their art.



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