Indigenous Arts Program


As the newest program with Paprika Festival, the Indigenous Arts Program provides personalized, flexible training and support to young Indigenous performing artists of any experience and skill level. We connect Indigenous youth with Indigenous artists and mentors who provide holistic artistic, emotional, and spiritual support. Program participants are provided the tools and guidance to create a fully original piece of performed art (could be theatre, dance, music, poetry, performance art…anything!). Mentors and guest artists help connect program participants with community and the Indigenous arts scene in Tkaronto and beyond (including Paprika partner company, Native Earth Performing Arts). Participants have the opportunity to return for a second year in this program to further develop their training and their original work and deepen their relationships with new collaborators and mentors in community. Have questions about the program? Email



Veronica Johnny

Program Facilitator

Veronica Johnny is a Cree/Dene mixed-heritage, multi-disciplinary artist, musician & workshop facilitator from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada. She lives in Northern Ontario and travels across Canada sharing her music, writing and art. She recently completed a 3-year Music Industry & Performance program at Centennial College in Toronto.  Veronica is the front woman & rhythm guitarist of her high-energy rock’n’roll band, The Johnnys. She is also a Traditional Indigenous hand-drummer of the Bear Clan, Grand-Daughter of Medicine Man – Celestin Chalifoux and Great Grand-Daughter of Traditional Drummer Sophie Ralla. Veronica strives to share, teach, inspire, empower, ground, assist, encourage, learn from and mentor youth and women across Canada. She believes it is important to help people understand how powerful they are; to embody the image of a powerful strong woman and to help people feel better in the moment. Veronica’s focus is to share with youth & women of all ages; in schools, festivals, community centres, friendship centres; and live stage performances across Canada.

Michaela Washburn

Program Advisor

Michaela Washburn hails from Alberta and is a proud Métis artist of English, Irish, French and Cree descent. Now based in Toronto, her expertise spans theatre, film, television, hosting, writing, spoken word, clown, improvisation, workshop facilitation and stand-up.

An award winning artist for her portrayal of Louis Riel in VideoCabaret’s Confederation Series, Michaela also has multiple nominations. Most notably, for the Ontario Arts Council’s Indigenous Arts Award and the K. M. Hunter Artist Award for Theatre. She has performed internationally at festivals and theatres in Wales, Aruba and across Canada and the United States.

Selections of Michaela’s writing have been published in three different in California entitled Great Poets of Today, a collection of work by queer artists entitled Queering the Way, and most recently in Theatre Passe Muraille: A Collective History. Her first play, Water Under the Bridge, which she co-wrote with Carrie Costello, toured with Carousel Players, followed by a week of performances opening the 2013/2014 season for the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company (now known as Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre).

Upcoming, Michaela makes her debut with Nightwood Theatre in Grace, followed by her debut with Tarragon and Green Light Arts in Guarded Girls.

Also, keep an eye out for Washburn as she joins Season 3 of Baroness Von Sketch and Season 3 of Kim’s Convenience.

Michaela Washburn