Lana Sinclair, 2021 Indigenous Full Circle

Lana Sinclair has been awarded the Indigenous Full Circle Prize, one of the Manitoba Arts Council’s 2021 Prizes in the Arts.

Originally from Fisher River Cree Nation, Lana combines haute couture designs with traditional materials such as leather, hide, beadwork and furs. For over 25 years, Lana has presented her work at fashion shows, exhibitions, and gatherings across Manitoba.

She has shared her knowledge of traditional practices through dozens of schools and youth workshops over the past 20 years with organizations including Art City, New Directions, Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre, and more.

“Lana Sinclair has shared her knowledge and multi-faceted art practice as a guest since Art City’s earliest days,” said Eddie Ayoub, Artistic Director of Art City and Lana’s nominator. “Now, after two decades, Lana has engaged more participants than any other guest artist, leading us in dozens of workshops including leather work, beading, tufting, Regalia, and jewelry design.”

Knowledge Keepers like Lana have been the key to keeping some Indigenous cultural practices alive, such as traditional hide tanning.

“Growing up on the northern trap lines of her ancestors, Lana carries with her traditional practices and knowledge learned from her grandparents, who learned from their grandparents,” Eddie described. “When Lana leads a workshop, participants are learning how to do things the way they have been done for thousands of years by the Indigenous people of this land.”

During Lana’s most recent workshop at Art City, participants spent a week stretching and tanning a deer hide on a poplar frame, using bone tools to scrape the hide. They worked outdoors, engaging participants of different ages, abilities and heritage. Eddie explained that young Indigenous women attended specifically because they heard Lana was teaching this traditional skill.

“An elderly Kookum living in a nearby building saw us through her window,” Eddie continued. “She came out to the park and told us she hadn’t seen hide tanning done the traditional way since she was a little girl.”

“Lana has been an excellent instructor for cultural activities for the Outdoor Education program here at Charles Sinclair School as well as our summer Culture Camp for Fisher River Cree Nation. While instructing the activity Lana showed great patients and made a lasting impression with the students and adults involved.”

– Gerry Mason Outdoor Education Instructor, Charles Sinclair School

“Lana Sinclair has been doing traditional arts/crafts workshops at Ndinawe Resource Centre for several years. She has brought her traditional knowledge to our classroom space to share her skills and mentor youth.”

– Bernard Ferguson, Art Program Coordinator, Ndinawe Resource Centre

“This award gives Art City a way to honour Lana Sinclair’s generosity, knowledge and long-time friendship.” said Eddie. “Hundreds of children and participants of all ages have met and learned from Lana through our programs. We are proud to nominate her for the Indigenous Full Circle Award.”

The Manitoba Arts Council Prizes in the Arts

The Manitoba Arts Council’s Prizes in the Arts celebrate achievements in the arts, honouring the excellence, resourcefulness, and imagination of individuals, groups, and organizations working in Manitoba.

Indigenous Full Circle is a $ 10,000 prize awarded every other year to an Indigenous artist or Knowledge Keeper in recognition of their achievements.

Know someone worth celebrating? This fall, MAC will be accepting nominations for the Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction, recognizing the highest level of artistic excellence and contribution to the development of the arts in Manitoba. Nominate an exceptional artist or arts/cultural professional by December 15, 2021.