about chokecherry

chokecherry studios

 

Chokecherry Studios is a youth founded non-profit offering arts-based programming and mentorship to young and emerging artists in inner-city Saskatoon on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

We co-create projects and platforms with Chokecherry youth that elevate lived experience through art, storytelling, community engagement and youth-led advocacy. Our work is informed by principles of anti-racism/anti-oppression, harm reduction and strengths-based approaches.

We take direction from and are inspired by our community. Chokecherry's values are rooted in justice, partnership, and meaningful youth leadership. We are committed to responding to events or issues that impact our community through creative expression, mobilization and collaboration with other agencies and grassroots groups.

Chokecherry Team

Andrea Cessna (she/her)
Executive Director
andrea@chokecherrystudios.com

Tuk Gordon (he/him)
Building & Outreach Supervisor
tuk@chokecherrystudios.com

Jade Creelman (she/they)
Harm Reduction Coordinator
jade@chokecherrystudios.com

Delano Kennedy (he/him)
Boys Group Coordinator
delano@chokecherrystudios.com

Kiyari McNab (she/her)
Wâpahki Program Coordinator
kiyari@chokecherrystudios.com

Allison Forsberg (she/her)
Wâpahki Program Coordinator
allison@chokecherrystudios.com

Betty Pewapsconias (she/her)
YAAS Program Coordinator 
betty@chokecherrystudios.com

Chokecherry Board of Directors

Paulie Poitras, Chair of Board

Paulie Poitras, Chair of Board

Han Mitokiyapi, mija Dakota/Sahayah, mija winkte, O’E-yah wakan wi imakiyapi, muthpiyah ska imakiyapi. 

My name is Paulete Poitras, a Dakota/Cree from Muscowpetung First Nation in Treaty 4 territory. I am 36 years old, 2S female identified, my pronoun is she/her/they/them, but I preferred Paulie (as it is non-binary and only family call me that, so this is an honour that I share my preferred name). I am 2Spirit Ambassador for OUT Saskatoon. I am married to my beautiful wife and partner Cheryl Prosper. We have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. My oldest is Amy, Cetera, & Milburn. Cetera has two children Kaden and Amiya. I met my wife back in 2018 and quickly wed in June 1st 2019. I have several hunka relatives and grew up with traditional ceremonial background. I have a fondness to sew and bead. I am an established artist and Indigenous advocate. I have a degree is Human Justice. I have several years of experience in justice, Indigenous health research, and working front lines of advocacy of helping community. I work with Prairie Harm Reduction as Family Support worker. I’ve been there 2 years in Oct 2020. I am sober for 8 years and counting. I walk with ceremony and help community bridge gaps through diversity training. I believe my purpose on this earth is to help others, and community to heal from the traumas nobody will speak of. I myself found that the more work I did helping to heal myself, I began to heal my lineage of the trauma nobody speaks of. Its continuous work on bettering myself and know this is going to be a lifelong journey. Through life experience and diverse perspective, I plan to share what knowledge I’ve been gifted to help others better understand the communities I serve.

Dustin Ross Fiddler, Vice Chair

Dustin Fiddler Ross, Vice Chair 

Dustin was born in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan and his home has always been in the boreal forests of Northern Saskatchewan. Through his upbringing he was taught traditionally from his Elders. Dustin holds these values passed down to him in highest regard and aims to honour them in his work and through his character.

Dustin is currently a Band Councillor recently re-elected to a 3rd term in his home community of Waterhen Lake First Nation where he continues to strive for a stronger education system, Nation owned child welfare legislation, and to further economic development. He is also a fellow with Action Canada - a program that is run through the Public Policy Forum of Canada. 

Azwa Alam, Secretary

Azwa Alam, Board Secretary

Azwa is an 18-year-old student studying in second-year Political Studies and International Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. She is passionate about youth advocacy, art, and building relationships among immigrants and Indigenous people in Saskatchewan. She volunteers to contribute to youth policies and amplifying youth voices both locally and on a national level. Azwa previously has been recognised for her work by the CBC when they wrote an article about the importance of building bridges between Indigenous and immigrants/newcomers and contributing to reconciliation. When it comes to her art, Azwa has previously curated an exhibition on her journey to not conforming to societal normalities in Gordon Snelgrove gallery at the University of Saskatchewan.

Heather Morrison, Member at Large

Heather Morrison, Member at Large

Heather Morrison is an award-winning theatre artist, radio host, associate producer, fitness instructor, and public speaking coach. She is passionate about building community whether it is through her work as the former Artistic Producer of Sum Theatre, on-air with CBC Saskatchewan, or volunteering in the community. Heather previously served on the boards of Nuit Blanche Saskatoon, Broadway Theatre, and Live Five. She is the recipient of a University of Saskatchewan Alumni Achievement Award, was named one of CBC’s Future 40 and, most importantly, is mom to an incredible little child named Judah.

 

Marjorie Beaucage, Member at Large
Marjorie Beaucage, Member at Large

Marjorie Beaucage is a Two-Spirit Métis Auntie, filmmaker, art-ivist and educator, a land protector and a water protector. Born in Vassar, Manitoba, to a large Métis family, Marjorie’s life’s work has been about creating social change, working to give people the tools for creating possibilities and right relations. Whether in the classroom, community, campsite or the arts, Marjorie’s goal has been to pass on the stories, knowledge and skills that will make a difference for the future. For Marjorie, story is medicine.

As a Two-Spirit Métis Elder, Marjorie takes on the tough topics that need to be discussed. Her work is focused on giving voice to, and creating safe cultural spaces for, traditionally silenced or excluded groups. Marjorie is known on the local, regional and national levels as an Elder who speaks truth to power, and who holds space for difference. She has been a Grandmother for Walking With Our Sisters; the Elder for OUT Saskatoon; and the Elder-In-Residence for the University of Saskatchewan Student Union. She has also been called on for national research initiatives that focus on Indigenous women living with HIV, Indigenous Harm Reduction, Indigenous youth who experience sexual and gender-based violence, and posttraumatic stress. In all of these, Marjorie returns to story as medicine, to art as medicine. Marjorie says of her work, “creation is a powerful thing; whether you’re making a baby or a loaf of bread or a movie, it comes from the same place. To get people to tap into that energy, that creates possibilities, so they don’t get stuck in this craziness that we’re in."

Tanis Worme, Member at Large
Tanis Worme, Member at Large

Tanis Worme (they/them) is an artist from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Treaty #6 Territory. Tanis is Plains Cree and a member of the Poundmaker Cree Nation with maternal roots to Mistawasis Nehiyawak and paternal roots to Kawacatoose First Nation. Their growing body of studio work considers notions of memory through place while questioning the impulse of colonial thought imbued in created space. Tanis is a graduate from the Ottawa School of Art's Fine Art Diploma program, specializing in traditional printmaking methods and oil painting. The scope of their practice also includes tattooing, drawing, collage, performance, and sculpture. Tanis is a member of the Ottawa-based artists’ and curatorial collective, Wolf Babe, and currently a design student at the Azrieli School of Architecture at Carleton University.

Nikita Rathwell, Member at Large
Nikita Rathwell, Member at Large

Nikita is an associate lawyer at McKercher LLP in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, practicing primarily with their Indigenous Law Practice Group. Her focus is First Nations litigation, governance issues and on-reserve development. Nikita attended Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the bar in Ontario in 2015 and Saskatchewan in 2019. When she's not lawyering, Nikita enjoys spending time with her rescue greyhound, fostering kittens for the SPCA, swimming, reading trashy detective novels and watching even trashier television. Nikita has absolutely no artistic talent and is therefore constantly in awe of the creativity and talent of the youth at Chokecherry.


Julianna Maggrah, Member at Large

Julianna Maggrah is a Mètis storyteller/writer from La Ronge, Saskatchewan. She began writing while unable to work due to illness and rediscovered her passion for TV and film. After studying Media Arts Production, she got a job with CTV and has written for The Northern Advocate, where she won an award. Julianna is a recent grad of NSI's New Indigenous Voices program and has been selected for the Queen's Jubilee Platinum Medal for her digital contributions to her community.