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DAREarts / Nee-tum-Ochee-bek (First Roots) Program

  • Status:
    Charity, Non-profit, DAREarts is a not-for-profit charity, founded in 1996. 
  • Main Communities Served:
    Children, FNMI, Youth, across Canada of many ethnicities, aged 9 and up 
  • Main Catchment Area:
    British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, located in rural Ontario near the GTA; 
  • Languages:
    English, First Nations languages 
  • Arts Focus:
    DAREarts uses all the arts as tools to empower children with confidence, courage and leadership skills. Interacting with arts professionals, the children engage in visual arts, media arts, drama, dance, music, fashion, literary arts, culinary arts and architecture while practicing the DARE values of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence. 
  • Main Community-Engaged Arts / Arts for Social Change Activities:
    DAREarts First Roots Program Description: The First Roots program is based on traditional teachings of COURAGE, RESPECT, TRUTH, LOVE, HUMILITY, WISDOM, HONESTY, DISCIPLINE, ACTION, RESPONSIBILITY, and EXCELLENCE, helping Aboriginal youth build their confidence, courage and leadership skills while reconnecting with their heritage. Collaborating with artists, traditional teachers and elders, the youth create a storytelling presentation for their community as a finale to intensive week-long workshops in several arts. In circle discussions, they build mutual trust, honesty and respect among their group. The entire community participates as audience for their presentation and celebrates the youth’s accomplishments with a traditional feast.
    Week-long workshops include:
    Drama: Youth explore how characters from their story relate to real life experiences.
    Dance/Movement: Hip Hop and classical elements combine with traditional dance to encourage positive self-expression through movement.
    Photography: Youth photograph their world, seeing it in new ways to tell their story.
    Film-making: Youth explore appreciating and voicing the beauty of their community.
    Set Building/Design: Youth and Elders work together to build and decorate a large presentation screen, on which images by the youth are projected.
    Music: Youth compose, perform and record a song, with drumming as the heartbeat of the music.
    Fashion/Art: Youth create their own canvases and learn to transfer their designs to fabric (vests) to express their individuality. 
  • Mandate/Mission:
    1. Maintain and operate arts education programs for at-risk children that complement the education system and build confidence, courage and leadership
    2. Promote Canada’s culture and diversity through educational activities that advance awareness and understanding, utilizing the teachings of Canadian arts professionals and native elders, with Canadian champions as role models
    3. Promote the arts to Canadian children through education, to inspire their future appreciation and support for arts and culture. 
  • Additional Info:
    Workshops are taught in English, incorporating First Nations language and culture into song-writing and performance in the Nee-tum-Ochee-bek (First Roots) program.

    DAREarts serves children and youth across Canada of many ethnicities, aged 9 and up, who are challenged by difficult life circumstances which limit their potential. DAREarts' First Roots program brings arts resources to isolated First Nations reserves, working with community elders, artists and traditional teachers.

    DAREarts' head office is located in rural Ontario near the GTA; however, programs are deeply rooted in each participating community, working in partnership with local schools, band councils, artists and arts organizations.
    Our First Roots program began in the northern Ontario fly-in reserve of Webequie in 2007. It has expanded to nearby Marten Falls (Ogoki Post), Sioux Lookout, British Columbia, and to Indian Brook First Nations, Nova Scotia, and is continuing to expand to other isolated communities upon request and funding availability. 
  • Main Contact Name:
    Marilyn Field, President and Founder 
  • Phone:
    (905) 729-0097 
  • Main Contact Email: 
  • Website:
  • Address:
    3042 Concession 3 Adjala, RR1
    Palgrave, ON  L0N 1P0 

Last updated on 2013-08-29 15:49:14. Submitted by: Susan Hindle, Director of Development, DAREarts