Broken Ice: Indigenous Sonic Salve from the North

Thu, Feb 1, 7 pm (6 pm doors)
First Avenue
Tickets: $25

Broken Ice: Indigenous Sonic Salve from the North brings northern Indigenous bands to First Avenue’s main stage as part of The Great Northern 2024. The lineup, curated by Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit and Unangax̂), will feature Alaska-based multidisciplinary performer AKU-MATU (Iñupiaq); an expansive powwow performance by powerhouse group Bizhiki comprised of Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings (Bad River Ojibwe), Joe Rainey Sr. (Red Lake Ojibwe), and S. Carey, grounded within a visual landscape by Finn Ryan—followed by Galanin’s Sub Pop Records band Ya Tseen as the headliner with specially commissioned video work by artist Jaida Grey Eagle (Oglala Lakota). The evening will be hosted by award-winning Minneapolis journalist Kate Nelson (Tlingit). Chef Brian Yazzie (Diné/Navajo) of Intertribal Foodways will be present with his Nativ Bowl pop-up, serving dishes with Indigenous ingredients.

About the Artists

Nicholas Galanin is one of the most vital voices in contemporary art. Born in Sheet’ka (Sitka, Alaska), Galanin is Tlingit and Unangax̂; he creates from his perspective as an Indigenous man. His work calls for an accounting of the damages done to land and life by unfettered capitalism while envisioning and advocating alternate possibilities. For the 2020 Biennale of Sydney, he excavated the shape of the shadow cast by the monumental statue of Captain James Cook, a call for the burial of monuments to violent histories, which ArtNEWS and Artsy called a defining work of 2020. Land Swipe—a painted deer hide that depicts the NYC subway map, marked with selected sites of police violence against Black youth—was called one of “the most important art moments in 2020” by The New York Times. His work spans sculpture, video, installation, photography, jewelry and music; advocating Indigenous sovereignty, racial, social, and environmental justice, for present, and future generations.

Indian Yard, his first album for Sub Pop, marks his debut with his band Ya Tseen (“be alive,” and a reference to his Tlingit name Yeil Ya Tseen), including Zak D. Wass and Otis Calvin III. Rich with emotional range and sharp awareness, Indian Yard explores love, desire, frustration, pain, revolution, and connection through the magnetic expressions of an Indigenous mind. The lusty electro-soul cascade of “Close the Distance,” the lithe funk frolic of “Get Yourself Together,” the insistent weight of “Back in That Time,” sung in Yupik: these 11 tracks put Galanin, Ya Tseen, and Indigenous art at large in a current musical conversation with the likes of Moses Sumney and TV on the Radio, FKA Twigs, and James Blake.

Allison Akootchook Warden (aka AKU-MATU) is an Iñupiaq poet, installation artist, and performance artist and a tribal member of the Native Village of Kaktovik. In 2022, her poem “we acknowledge ourselves” was featured in the Land Acknowledgements issue of Poetry Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review published her poem “portal traveler,” and her poetry was part of Insidious Rising, a hyphen-labs project for Google Arts and Cultures. At the 2022 Time Based Arts Festival at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, she debuted “taigruaq,” a performance art piece with collaborator Aqqalu Berthelesen. She is the recipient of a 2019 United States Artist Fellowship in traditional arts, a 2022 Art Matters Artist2Artist Fellowship in interdisciplinary arts, a 2022 Rasmuson Individual Artist Fellowship in music composition, a 2018 Rasmuson Individual Artist Fellowship in new genre, and a 2018 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellowship in music. She is currently working on an album, writing poetry, and is scheduled to open her social practice installation The Inuit Futurism Center at the Anchorage Museum. She lives in a cabin in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Bizhiki: The ethereal vocals and visceral drumming of Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings (Bad River Ojibwe) and Joe Rainey, Sr. (Red Lake Ojibwe) blend harmoniously into the contemporary soundscape multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer S. Carey.

Expanding upon the collaborative energy of the Eaux Claires Music Festival, where Bizhiki first took shape, the performance is multidimensional and engrossing. Connecting the songs is a lyrical narrative in which Jennings and Rainey share pieces of the Anishinaabe experience around identity, loss, and revitalization, grounded within a visual landscape created by filmmaker Finn Ryan.

The talented performers’ diverse instrumentation—including powwow drums, percussion, drum programming, electric bass, synthesizers, guitars, piano, and vocals—expertly evoke the lived Anishinaabe experience in a unique format. Audiences will be welcomed to gather in an intimate community to connect experientially and emotionally to Native American culture, all through the crisp lens of art and collaboration.

Jaida Grey Eagle is an Oglala Lakota freelance documentary photographer  currently located in St. Paul, MN.  She is a member of the Women’s Photograph, Indigenous Photograph, and 400 Years Project. 

Jaida served as a Report for America Fellow with the Sahan Journal as a photojournalist. Jaida researched Native photography as a Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Native American Fellow for the upcoming exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts titled In Our Hands: Native Photography From 1890 to Now in which her role evolved to co-curator on the project. 

Jaida is a co-producer on the Sisters Rising Documentary, which is the story of six Native American women reclaiming personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of ongoing sexual violence against Indigenous women in the United States and has recently received an Honorable Mention at the Big Sky Doc Festival. 

She holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts emphasizing Fine Art Photography from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

An Alaska Native Tlingit tribal member, Kate Nelson (host) is an award-winning writer and editor based in Minneapolis who focuses on amplifying important Native American change makers and issues. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Artful Living, a top independent boutique lifestyle magazine. She has interviewed such luminaries as Padma Lakshmi, actor Mo Brings Plenty, and chef Sean Sherman and written for publications including Esquire, ELLE, the BBC, The Daily Beast, Architectural Digest, W Magazine, Teen Vogue, Bustle, Andscape, and more. A lifelong storyteller, she's also an avid equestrian and a pop culture aficionado.


​​​​​​​Please note that photographs and video footage may be taken throughout this event. These will be used by The Great Northern and its partners for marketing and publicity, our archives, on our website and in social media.

Thank you to the NEA Arts Challenge program, Marbrook Foundation, Solar Bear, and Native Sun for their support of this project.

This event is funded in part with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.