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Drama professor earns provincial arts award

Daniel David Moses is being recognized as one of Ontario’s key figures in Aboriginal arts and as an advocate for Aboriginal culture.

Daniel David Moses is the 2014 recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award. (Supplied Photo) 

The associate professor in the Department of Drama at Queen’s University recently received the Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award for his work as a poet, playwright and essayist.

Mr. Moses, a Delaware who hails from the Six Nations of the Grand River, arrived at Queen’s in 2003 as a Queen’s National Scholar. Adding to the significance of the award, he says, is that the jury was composed of fellow Aboriginal artists from a broad spectrum of art forms.

“Often an artist spends their time in their room, working away just making things,” he says. “You don’t necessarily know if the audience is there, but this is evidence of it.”

Created in 2012, the $10,000 award celebrates the work of Aboriginal artists and arts leaders who have made significant contributions to the arts in Ontario.

Mr. Moses credits his time at Queen’s for helping him get to where he is today in an arts career that has spanned more than 30 years.

“It’s been a wonderful supportive time for me,” he says. “It’s allowed me to clearly think about the art forms I work in and find ways of communicating the ideas I have about them – poetry, plays and essays.”

In selecting him, the jury noted that Mr. Moses is: “one of the key figures of Aboriginal theatre, both artistically and academically, and is developing an essential Indigenous archive. He is committed to telling the stories that created this country and is an advocate for Aboriginal culture.”

Mr. Moses is also co-editor of An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English, a founding text for the study of Canadian Indigenous literature, the fourth and 20thanniversary edition of which was published in 2013.

Among his 13 published plays are Coyote City, a 1991 Governor General’s Literary Award nominee, The Indian Medicine Shows, the 1996 James Buller Memorial Award winner, and Almighty Voice and His Wife, which in January and February 2012 completed a national Canadian tour. His most recent poetry collections are River Range and A Small Essay on the Largeness of Light and Other Poems.