Landspeak began in 2021 with Landspeak gathering (March 2021), a four-day online event attended by over 400 people. Later in 2021 we organised a Reading of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report (September–December 2021). In November 2022, on the occasion of the visit to Ireland of Poet Laureate of Canadian Parliament, Louise Halfe, we organised a series of events under the title of Landspeak 2022 – Visit / Cruinniú / Kiyokēwin. We anticipate further events will be organised in 2023.

Landspeak Visit/ Cruinniú/Kiyokēwin 2022

Date: Sun, 20. Nov, 2022 · 1:00pm–Wed, 23. Nov, 2022 · 7:00pm

In collaboration with our partners, Landspeak is convening a visit/cruinniú/kiyokēwin in November 2022, welcoming to Ireland a delegation of Indigenous artists from Turtle Island/Canada.

The aim of this visit/cruinniú/kiyokēwin will be to build upon connections forged online during Landspeak: A Gathering of Indigenous and Irish Voices, a virtual conference that took place online in March 2021, and Reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report (TRC), a weekly reading organised by Landspeak, reading of the TRC aloud among people from Turtle Island and Ireland, gathered online over the Autumn of 2021.

Visitors to Ireland for the visit/cruinniú/kiyokēwin include the following:

  • Louise B. Halfe – Cree Poet Laureate of Canadian Parliament originally from Saddle Lake First Nation
  • Joseph Naytowhow – Cree knowledge keeper, singer and storyteller from Sturgeon Lake First Nation
  • Brian Solomon (tbc)– Choreographer/ Dancer of Anishinaabe and Irish heritage, born in Shebahonaning / Killarney, Ontario

Meeting in person, and undertaking a variety of activities, the visit/cruinniú/kiyokēwin will solidify connections among the Landspeak conference organisers and, at the same time, introduce these Indigenous artists, elders, and knowledge keepers to artists, academics, and community workers in Ireland, in an effort to create networks of collaboration and sharing that will foster cultural and knowledge exchange into the future.

Lucht fáiltithe · Welcoming group

The visit to Ireland will be faciliated by a number of people, organisers and collaborators, who will welcome the visitors, and open pathways to collaboration and connection. Members of the lucht fáiltithe (welcoming group) include:

  • Amanda Hopkins – Programme Manager, ICUF
  • David Stanton TD – Convenor, Ireland-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group
  • James Kelly – CEO, ICUF
  • Liam Ó Maonlaí – Musician
  • Louise Allen – Director, Creative Futures Academy
  • Manchán Magan – Writer & documentary maker
  • Dr. Paul Halferty – Director Centre for Canadian Studies, UCD
  • Prof. Regina Uí Chollatáin – Principal, College of Arts and Humanities, UCD

Landspeak Visit/Cruinniú/Kiyokēwin 2022 · Áras an Uachtaráin Visit

Date: Wed, 23. Nov, 2022 · 4:00pm

The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, will welcome and meet with Poet Laureate Louise Halfe and Landspeak delegation in Áras an Uachtaráin, the president’s official residence.

Landspeak Visit/Cruinniú/Kiyokēwin 2022 · Oireachtas Visit

Date: Wed, 23. Nov, 2022 · 2:00pm

In a visit hosted by David Stanton TD, Poet Laureate Louise Halfe and the Landspeak delegation will be welcomed to the Houses of the Oireachtas for a reception with representatives from the Dáil and the Seanad.

After the reception, Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, the Ceann Comhairle (chairperson) will offer an official welcome to Louise Halfe and the Landspeak delegation while the Dáil is sitting.

Landspeak Visit/Cruinniú/Kiyokēwin 2022 · UCD event: Poetry and Music from Ireland and Turtle Island/Canada

Date: Tue, 22. Nov, 2022 · 5:00pm

It is our pleasure to invite you to Landspeak: Poetry and Music from Ireland and Turtle Island/Canada. This is an evening of poetry and song to welcome Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate Louise Halfe — Skydancer and Cree knowledge-keeper Joseph Naytowhow to Ireland, and at this event they will appear alongside Irish-language poet Dr. Ailbhe Níhearbhuigh and musician Liam Ó Maonlaí. The event is part of the Landspeak 2022 Visit/Cruinniú/Kiyokēwin.

Landspeak: Poetry and Music from Ireland and Turtle Island/Canada

  • When: 6–8pm, Tuesday, 22, November 2022
  • Where: Village Auditorium, Student Village, University College Dublin (see map)

With Joseph Naytowhow, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Louise Halfe — Skydancer, and Dr. Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh.

The event will be offered both in-person and online.

Landspeak Visit/Cruinniú/Kiyokēwin 2022 · Kindred Spirits Monument

Date: Mon, 21. Nov, 2022 · 1:00pm

The Kindred Spirits Monument celebrates the connection between Ireland and the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island / North America, in particular with the Choctaw Nation.

To begin Landspeak 2022, we organised a special event at this monument, which was kindly hosted by David Stanton TD. After David’s words of welcome, Louise Halfe shared some thoughts and read a poem, Joseph Naytowhow sang a song, and gave a blessing. Canadian Ambassador Nancy Smyth spoke warmly of the importance of this occasion. Following the event, the Landspeak group were welcomed for a poetry event in St. Colman’s Community College, where students shared their poetry and song with the visitors. Louise and Joseph shared their poetry and song, and Brian Solomon surprised us all by engaging everyone in the room in an impromptu dance. It was a wonderful start to Landspeak 2022.

Landspeak Visit/Cruinniú/Kiyokēwin 2022 · Traditional Music Session

Date: Sun, 20. Nov, 2022 · 6:00pm

The visiting delegation will be welcomed to Ireland, at a traditional music session, to be held in a local pub in Midleton, Co. Cork.

Reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report

Date: Thu, 30. Sep, 2021 · 7:00am–Mon, 20. Dec, 2021 · 2:00pm


On September 30, 2021, Canada’s National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, we began a public reading of the Executive Summary of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Following the opening of the reading on September 30th, we met weekly on Zoom for two hours every Monday, and read the report out loud.

On Monday 20th December, 2021, we finally completed the reading, with the “Calls to Action”. The reading took place on Zoom, with an open invitation to all to take part in the reading. There was also an open invitation to come just to listen.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Closing Performance 2: Music

Date: Sat, 20. Mar, 2021 · 7:00pm


This event is the second of the two closing performances for Landspeak — one on either side of the Atlantic. In this session, there will be music and song — full details coming soon.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Closing Performance 1: Poetry Reading

Date: Sat, 20. Mar, 2021 · 6:00pm

This event is the first of the two closing performances for Landspeak — one on either side of the Atlantic. In this session, two indigenous poets, Gregory Scofield and Louise Bernice Halfe, will read from and discuss their work. The event will be moderated by Cheryl L’Hirondelle.

These two poets are among the most acclaimed Indigenous writers of Turtle Island, and both create poetry that is inspired by their deep knowledge of the Cree language. Métis poet Gregory Scofield often writes about the interplay of land, ancestors and language, and Cree poet Louise Bernice Halfe has often explored the roles of Cree women in history and in the contemporary world. Join us for this celebration of Indigenous poetry and community.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Saturday Storyteller Session

Date: Sat, 20. Mar, 2021 · 5:00pm

Métis storyteller Rob Malo and Irish storyteller Nuala Hayes share stories that explore language and belonging. These storytellers are celebrated for their dynamic performance styles and their engagement with listeners of all ages. This session, moderated by Warren Cariou, will take “online storytelling” in exciting new directions and will be hugely enjoyable for all.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Film Panel: Movings Images, Dynamic Languages

Date: Sat, 20. Mar, 2021 · 3:15pm

The film panel Moving Images, Dynamic Languages brought together Indigenous filmmakers from the land now known as Canada and filmmakers working as Gaelige (in the Irish language) on the island of Ireland. The panel was moderated by James Kelly and June Scudeler.

Looking particularly at language and identity, and at teachings and story, the panel was an opportunity for these filmmakers to connect and address the importance of fostering and nurturing indigenous languages, stories, teachings, and memory.

The panel was divided into two conversations, one after the other. The participants in the two conversations are listed below, along with a link to a film from each filmmaker, or a link to a selection of their work as shown on the website of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

Filmmakers, first conversation · Moderated by James Kelly

Filmmakers, second conversation · Moderated by June Scudeler

This event was sponsored by imagineNATIVE.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Day 4: Opening Song

Date: Sat, 20. Mar, 2021 · 3:00pm

The renowned sean-nós singer and musician, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, opened the fourth and final day of Landspeak. Muireann’s work A Chonaire, a retelling of the Irish mythological tale Togail Bruidne Dá Derga, gives a sense of her work.

The final day of Landspeak 2021 had a thematic focus on music, song, and cinema, and Muireann’s opening led into the film panel Movings Images, Dynamic Languages.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Friday Storytelling Session

Date: Fri, 19. Mar, 2021 · 8:00pm

In this session, Irish storyteller Jack Lynch and Tlicho Dene writer and storyteller Richard Van Camp shared their stories about connection to land. These renowned artists examined themes of environmental ethics as well as the relationship of traditional knowledge to global communities. The session was moderated by Warren Cariou.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Panel Discussion: minority languages – hopes for the future?

Date: Fri, 19. Mar, 2021 · 6:30pm

Three passionate language activists discussed their work on this panel, moderated by James Kelly.

The award-winning author Nicola I. Campbell discussed working in the Nłe7kepmxcín or Halq’emeylem languages; Úna-Minh Kavanagh spoke about the award-winning We Are Irish project, and Linda Ervine discussed Turas, a project connecting people from Protestant communities to their own history with the Irish language.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Language and Story Seminar

Date: Fri, 19. Mar, 2021 · 5:30pm

This event, a seminar exploring language and story, was moderated by Warren Cariou, and presented by Sherry Farrell-Racette and Cheryl L’Hirondelle.

In “Harps, Shamrocks, and the Red Saloon: the Métis/Fenian Alliance of 1869-1870,” Sherry Farrell-Racette told how in 1869, the Métis of the Red River Settlement replaced the company flag at the Hudson’s Bay post of Upper Fort Garry with a flag that featured a harp and a shamrock alongside the French fleur-de-lis. The Métis/Fenian alliance this act represented was short-lived, but the flag remains a visual reminder of a story with equal measures of tragedy and farce.

Based on her own perspective and recent history, Cheryl L’Hirondelle spoke of what songs show about the relationships between nations, and she proposed a way forward between Ireland and Indigenous nations.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Writers on land and environment

Date: Fri, 19. Mar, 2021 · 4:00pm

In this session, moderated by Warren Cariou, two extraordinary thinkers discussed the connections between language and land in their own cultural contexts.

Okanagan writer and professor Jeannette Armstrong has written about her people’s territory as the source of their n’sylcin language and stories.

In Thirty-two Words for Field, Irish writer and filmmaker Manchán Magan writes about the embeddedness of the Irish language within the very soil of Ireland.

Both are fluent speakers of their traditional languages, and both have explored in rich detail the profound knowledge about the environment that is held in those languages.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Discussion: Language and Story

Date: Fri, 19. Mar, 2021 · 2:45pm

Inspired by an encounter with an urban coyote, Aubrey Hanson’s “Morning Coyote, Night Fox, Urban Métis: A Métissage on Writing and Presence” weaves three narrative strands into reflections on being on urban lands, writing during the pandemic, and Indigenous resurgence.

Oein DeBhairduin’s Why the Moon Travels (2020) has been described as “a haunting collection” in which “brave vixens, prophetic owls, and stalwart horses live alongside the human characters as guides, protectors, friends and foes while spirits, giants and fairies blur the lines between this world and the otherworld.”

In this discussion, these two perspectives were juxtaposed in an exploration of language and story, moderated by Renée Hulan.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Day 3: Opening Song

Date: Fri, 19. Mar, 2021 · 2:30pm

An opening song from Raymond Sewell, l’nu performer from the Mi’kmaq district of Kespek.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Sport, community, identity, and nationhood

Date: Thu, 18. Mar, 2021 · 7:30pm

This discussion explored how the games we play influence and reflect identity — with perspectives from the Iroquois game of lacrosse and the Irish game of hurling. The discussion was moderated by the Irish Ambassador to Canada, Dr. Eamonn McKee.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Games and Sport Seminar

Date: Thu, 18. Mar, 2021 · 6:00pm

In this seminar, Cathal Billings and Regina Uí Chollatáin presented two perspectives on the history of the revival of gaelic games.

In “Speaking Irish with Hurley Sticks: Gaelic sports, the Irish language and national identity in revival Ireland,” Dr Cathal Billings explored the revival of Gaelic games and the Irish language and their central roles in the formation and expression of Irish national identity during the period 1884-1934. Professor Uí Chollatáin (Ollamh Sinsearach agus Cathaoir na Nua-Ghaeilge) revealed a Canadian dimension to the Gaelic Revival in “The Canadian Gael: Revision and Revival.”

The session was moderated by Renée Hulan.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Lacrosse Roundtable

Date: Thu, 18. Mar, 2021 · 4:10pm

A discussion which explored identity, sovereignty, partnerships and alliances.

This panel discussion, moderated by Michael Kennedy, explored the nature and history of the game of lacrosse — a “medicine game” from the Creator which has been shared with the world by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, which comprises six tribes of indigenous people of North America.

The discussion considered the relationship between lacrosse and identity, including issues of sovereignty which are of particular relevance for the Haudenosaunee. The panel also explored connections between the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team and the Ireland lacrosse team, which recently made global headlines in relation to the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, which will feature lacrosse but which had initially excluded the Iroquois Nationals (the 3rd ranked team in the world) from participation.

The discussion also explored how collaboration, co-operation, partnership, and alliance can be of mutual benefit for the international lacrosse community.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Day 2: Opening Song

Date: Thu, 18. Mar, 2021 · 4:00pm

The second day of Landspeak began with an opening song performed by the Akwesasne Women Singers. This unique group was formed in 1999—by Bear Fox, Katsitsionni Fox, Elizabeth Nanitcoke, and Iawentas Nanticoke—driven by the urge to protect and preserve the Kanienkeha (Mohawk Language), traditional Kanienkeha:ka (Mohawk People) customs and stories, as well as the oral traditions that are passed down from grandmother to grand-daughter.

A sense of the talent and dynamism of this group is given in the performance below, recorded in 2012, of “Ka’satstenhserowa:nen” (“The Women’s Power Song”).

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Day 1: Closing story

Date: Wed, 17. Mar, 2021 · 6:15pm

The closing of the first day of Landspeak was offered by Joseph Naytowhow. In a counterpoint to the opening blessing at the beginning of the day, the closing focused on storytelling — and included a story from Joseph, about how we are all connected.

To get a sense of Joseph’s unique perspective, see some of his thoughts below about stories, indigenous values, and theatre, in an interview given to the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival in 2020.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Opening Session: Language, Land, and Song

Date: Wed, 17. Mar, 2021 · 5:15pm

In this opening event, we explored how song connects with land and language. Our special guests performed songs in their native languages, and shared their thoughts on this subject.

Landspeak Conference 2021 · Day 1: Opening Song and Blessing

Date: Wed, 17. Mar, 2021 · 5:00pm

Opening prayer and song from acclaimed Cree knowledge-keeper, storyteller and songwriter Joseph Naytowhow. The renowned Plains/Woodland Cree (nehiyaw) singer-songwriter and storyteller offered an opening song and blessing, on the invitation of the organisers of Landspeak.

This song and blessing led into the opening full session with Liam Ó Maonlaí and Pura Fé, and was then given a counterpoint in the day’s closing, when Joseph returned to offer a story to close the day.

Landspeak Conference 2021

Date: Wed, 17. Mar, 2021 · 10:00am


The Landspeak Conference 2021 was a series of free online talks, workshops, events, and activities, seeking to build connections between Turtle Island and Ireland through explorations in culture, sport, creativity, language, and the environment.

Landspeak brought together singers and storytellers, filmmakers and musicians, athletes and academics, online, from March 17–20, 2021.

Based on the idea of two lands speaking to each other, and resonating with Jeanette Armstrong’s concept of “Land Speaking,” this gathering provided a space for learning and building lasting relationships between the people of Ireland and the Indigenous peoples from different nations and territories of Turtle Island.

Landspeak was presented by the ICUF, in partnership with the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture in the University of Manitoba, the Centre for Canadian Studies in University College Dublin, and the Craig Dobbin Visiting Professor, University College Dublin.


Indigenous languages, story, and song come from the land, and connect Indigenous people to their cultures and to each other. By protecting and promoting their languages, Indigenous communities affirm the sovereignty denied under settler colonialism. Thus, the gathering acknowledged how the history of Indigenous dispossession and the Irish diaspora are entangled within the settlement of what is now Canada, while learning from the experience of colonization and decolonization on the island of Ireland and across North America, such as the revival of language and culture in Ireland and Indigenous nations. In word, song, and image, Landspeak was a space where Indigenous and Irish voices are heard.


All events that were part of the Landspeak Conference 2021:

Day 1, March 17, 2021:

Day 2, March 18, 2021:

Day 3, March 19, 2021:

Day 4, March 20, 2021:

Landspeak was organised with the assistance of the Government of Canada/Landspeak a été organisé avec l’appui du gouvernement du Canada. The ICUF is supported by the Government of Ireland, through the Emigrant Support Programme of the Department of Foreign Affairs.