Aiyyana Maracle

November 25, 1950 – April 24, 2016

Born November 25th, 1950, on the Six Nations territory on the Grand River near Ohsweken in southern Ontario, Aiyyana grew up in Rochester and Buffalo, New York. Spending time in Vancouver, Toronto, Chippewa territory, and Montréal, in 2010 she returned to the Six Nations reservation. On April 24, 2016, Aiyyana Maracle died surrounded by her loving family and friends.

Aiyyana Maracle was a multi-disciplinary artist, scholar, educator, story-crafter and storyteller. For half a century, Aiyyana was actively involved in the merging of Ogwehoweh art and culture into the Euro-centric world and consciousness. For 20+ years she sought that same inclusion for herself and other gender-variant folks by offering an alternate framework to the prevalent Euro-centric view of gender. Aiyyana Maracle was both a maker and keeper of culture.

Describing herself in her article “A Journey in Gender” as a “transformed woman who loves women,” Aiyyana’s work steered people towards a decolonized understanding of gender and sexuality. Through her work she argued that in most traditional Indigenous cultures gender identifications fall outside the strict confines of the gender binary and are recognized as both socially and spiritually integral to the culture.  Her one-woman show, Chronicle of a Transformed Woman, detailed her use of traditional medicine rituals for transitioning genders while struggling under colonial rule.

Aiyyana’s work, which reflected her various transformations in relation to her ongoing process of decolonization, received numerous honours and recognitions. She’s believed to be the first Indigenous person to be awarded the John Hirsch Prize, a national award for the most artistically exciting new director in Canadian theatre (1997). In addition to performing across Ontario and Chippewa territory, in 1998 she exhibited an installation and a performance piece at the Second International Transgendered Art Festival in London, England. She is the author of the book, Chronicle of a Transformed Woman (2000), and many articles.


ndn wars are alive, and…well? by Aiyyana Maracle

FADO is pleased to feature the world premiere of a new performance by award-winning artist Aiyyana Maracle. Join us in the ravine of Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park for ndn wars are alive, and … well?, a multimedia performance with video projections. This performance is presented by FADO at the 2006 7A*11D International Festival of Performance Art.

Inventive, passionate and multi-talented, Maracle is known for her eloquent actions that assert the ongoing struggle for aboriginal presence and title in this country, particularly in her ongoing “peace piece” series. She is also recognized as a key contributor to Vancouver’s vibrant First Nations performance art scene.

The ndn wars: Canada’s Indigenous people remain resistant to the perpetuation of an unjust colonial relationship with ‘the Crown,’ and within Canadian society. The Crown, by its own actions and inactions more so than its words, continues to show its resistance to entering into a new era of an equitable, respectful, peaceful relationship between our cultures and peoples. Canada the meek; Canada, the world’s peacekeeper. Can there be peace in this world while this country remains so willing to, yet again, engage in violent repression of the Indigenous people of this land?

Aiyyana Maracle

Masks by Aiyyana Maracle
Video by Aiyyana Maracle and La Mathilde

This performance was presented in FADO’s IDea series (2005–2007), curated by Paul Couillard.

Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer