In the Ojibway language, the word Zoongide’ewin means “bravery, courage, the Bear Spirit.” It’s no wonder Daniel Monkman adopted Zoon as his musical moniker. The Hamilton-based musician has spent the better part of his 28 years finding and channelling his strength to overcome such adversities as racism, poverty and addiction.
Music saved Monkman’s life. And, on Zoon’s debut album, Bleached Wavves, he paints a message of hope and fortitude, lessons he learned studying the Seven Grandfather teachings after experiencing the lowest point of his life.
Born and raised in Selkirk, Manitoba, a small prison town outside of Winnipeg he describes as “one of the roughest places,” Monkman constantly faced an uphill battle. In his teens he was victimized for his First Nations heritage, which led to him abusing drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. His best friend died of an overdose; he nearly followed him on multiple occasions. But with the spiritual guidance he learned from 12-step therapy, Monkman got clean and began to follow a passion for music he discovered from a young age growing up within the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.
Status/Non-Status exists because of a desire to connect communities, particularly Indigenous communities, through art and healing. Surely Travel, with its narratives about parts of the country many Canadians seldom think about, let alone see, will help the band achieve connection and community engagement in new ways. Previous engagements (2019 Polaris Long-Listed Warrior Down and the highly acclaimed 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years EP saw Adam reliving familial and communal truths in a challenging and revealing way; with Surely Travel, Sturgeon and band invite audiences into the landscapes of their own surroundings and desires and the awareness that they are simple observers to the natural clauses of the road, environment, connections and distances.
Putting forth an Indigenous voice in Canada’s musical culture is an important driving force for Status/Non-Status, which is fronted by an Indigenous artist (Adam Sturgeon). Status/Non-Status also engage in many community outreach projects that involve Indigenous populations across Canada (ex: Inuit of Salluit, QC, Wolastoqiyik of St. Mary’s and Kingsclear First Nation, NB, and urban Indigenous artists of London, ON via The Rezonance Youth Internship Program).
Sarah Lewis (she/her) is an Anishnaabe Kwe (Ojibwe/Cree) spoken word artist, activist, community organizer and mother. She has ancestral roots in Curve Lake First Nation, Ontario as well as Pukatawagon, Manitoba. She was Peterborough’s Inaugural Poet Laureate from 2021-2022 and was a semi-finalist at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in 2019. Sarah began her journey in the world of slam poetry and has competed in many slams in Peterborough, Toronto and across Turtle Island.
In August 2022, Sarah was awarded the ‘Rebel With a Cause’ award by The Elizabeth Fry Society—an award that honors women activists making a mark in Peterborough. She has been featured on Global News, CBC radio, Toronto Star, Peterborough ThisWeek, The Examiner, KawarthaNow, Trent Radio, Peterborough Currents, CBC Arts’ ongoing video series: Poetic License, Trent University Alumni Magazine and The Arthur.
Sarah has been involved in over 100 undertakings ranging from poetry workshops, performances, concerts, recorded studio videos, event organizing, hosting, mentorship programs, book launches, and motivational presentations on topics such as Truth and Reconciliation in Health Care and Indigenous Empowerment. Sarah has worked with numerous non-profit organizations, youth and adult literacy programs, and aspiring poets in and around the Peterborough community. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.
Sarah’s poetry envisions a decolonial society where sexism, the patriarchy, capitalism and racism do not exist. Her poetry reminds us to rest, to resist, to question, to choose nature, to choose love and embrace all of our beautiful and complex humanness. Her poetry also highlights the resurgence of Indigenous communities and how Indigenous people are reclaiming their identities, culture, strength and sovereignty.