USask Métis drama professor and Indigenous Storyteller-in-Residence Bruce Sinclair. (Photo: Brittany Carmichael)
USask Métis drama professor and Indigenous Storyteller-in-Residence Bruce Sinclair. (Photo: Brittany Carmichael)

Bruce Sinclair: Adding some dramatic flair to storytelling at USask

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) Library’s third Indigenous Storyteller-in-Residence is Métis theatre artist and teacher Bruce Sinclair.

Sinclair teaches drama to USask students in the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP), Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP), and Indigenous Student Achievement Pathways (ISAP), and acts, directs, writes plays and stories, and strives to merge artistic practice with life.

Embarking on a 12-week residency, Sinclair will be the first storyteller in residence to hold this position in person on campus.

“We’re excited to have Professor Sinclair take up this important role in the library,” said Dr. Melissa Just (EdD), dean of the University Library. “The Indigenous Storyteller-in-Residence is a unique opportunity for Indigenous artists to develop their practise in an environment that supports and encourages creative expression. It’s also a significant opportunity for the library and the wider university to hear and learn from Indigenous perspectives through storytelling.”

Sinclair follows poet and author Zoey Roy, who held the position last year, and hip-hop artist Lindsay (Eekwol) Knight, who was the inaugural Storyteller-in-Residence in 2021. Sinclair’s selection as the 2023 Storyteller-in-Residence supports the residency’s aim of creating and delivering opportunities designed to promote intercultural understanding and story-sharing between and among Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

“The fact that this is the third consecutive year of this residency speaks to the success of the program, and how important we believe it is to create spaces on campus to engage with Indigenous perspectives,” said Just.

Working from his office in the Murray Library (Room 134), Sinclair will be holding office hours Tuesdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and Wednesdays from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. As a student of nehiyawewin (Cree) and Michif languages, Sinclair is always eager to learn and invites everyone at the university to come meet him and share stories with him.

In addition, Sinclair will be hosting weekly Drama Storytelling Sessions in the John Mitchell Building (Room 282) throughout his residency. This workshop is interactive and allows attendees to develop their drama and storytelling skills and welcomes everyone from experienced drama students to newcomers. These sessions include movement, dance and storytelling and creates a safe environment for experimentation and expression.

“As important as stories in our lives, making time for others, to share and hear and learn, for acceptance of many cultures and stories, to teach our children … to actualize and realize the essence of story in our places of education,” Sinclair said about his role as Storyteller-in-Residence.

As the university prepares to celebrate Storyteller Month in February, Sinclair has proposed several initiatives during his residency, including Talking and Listening Circles, Winter Pipon Storytelling, Tipi Gatherings and a variety of music, song, and dance guests. In addition, in partnership with the Saskatoon Public Library, Sinclair will also be sharing stories and his skills at the Dr. Freda Ahenakew Library. The residency culminates in a presentation of a project during the university’s Indigenous Achievement Week in March.

The Indigenous Storyteller-in-Residence is made possible through the generous support of University Library donors, and the programming efforts of the Saskatoon Public Library.

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