Kaha:wi Dance Theatre Six Nations of the Grand River / Tkaronto
  • Creator, director, design and performer Santee Smith

SKéN:NEN translates from Kanienʼkéha to mean balance and peace, central themes within Onkwehon:we thinking. Produced by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre and envisioned by Santee Smith, SKéN:NEN culminates the triptych rematriation series (Re-Quickening and Blood Tides), centering Konnonkwehón:we (Indigenous womxn) as lead creatives.

Set in 2050 following an environmental catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions, a Kahnyen’kehàka auntie and niece flee to the Eastern Door / Mohawk homelands in the Adirondack mountains. Escaping rising and virus filled waters, they make shelter in a bunker camp. A diverse mix of climate survivors struggle to build a new community, let by the womxn by embodying knowledge from their Kahnyen’kehàka ancestral practices, condole with the land, listen and synchronize to the shifted Earth. The cinematic story unfolds in a 3D animated Burgoyne Woods and portrays the impending effects of climate change on people.

Santee Smith © Ian R. Maracle


Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (KDT) is an Onkwehon:we organization and one of Turtle Islands’ foremost performing arts companies, acclaimed nationally and around the globe for exquisitely produced, powerful, poetic and resonant performances. Founded by Six Nations based Artistic Director Santee Smith, Kaha:wi (Ga-HA-Wee) means “to carry” in Kanienʼkéha (Mohawk). 

Exploring the intersection of Indigenous and new performance through resurgent process and practice, the company’s works are interdisciplinary, multi-voiced, intergenerational and inter-cultural. Drawing inspiration from research and collaboration, performances question, re-story and transform while adhering to Indigenous process, connection to land, story and spirit of place.

Creative team

  • Creator, director, design and performer Santee Smith
  • Advisors Louise McDonald, Thohahoken Michael Doxtater, Darren Bonaparte, Kahente Horn-Miller, Tehahenteh Miller
  • Dance artists Marina Acevedo, Julianne Blackbird, Montana Summers, Learie McNicolls, Jarrett Siddall
  • Video performers Monique Mojica, Semiah Smith
  • Dramaturgy Monique Mojica
  • Composer and arranger Jesse Zubot
  • Additional composers Adrian Dion Harjo and Hunter Sky
  • Singer-songwriters Jennifer Kreisberg and Semiah Smith
  • Singers Pura Fe and Santee Smith
  • Media design and 3D mapping AVA Animation & Visual Arts Inc. - Emma Lopez, Pedro Narvaez
  • Costume design Adriana Fulop and Santee Smith
  • Lighting design Evan Sandham
  • Set design (portal and platform) Andy Moro
  • Production manager / props construction Lindy Kinoshameg
  • Video production / technical support Shane Powless - Thru The Red Door
  • Photographer Ian R. Maracle

National Creation Fund investment

The National Creation Fund’s investment of $110,000 makes it possible for the creative team to dedicate more time to the final stage of creating the outdoor version of the project, enhances the video projection design, and supports further development of the in-venue version. 


Creation Partners:  Young People’s Theatre - Leaps & Bounds (2017), Banff Playwright’s Colony (2017), Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity - Indigenous Arts Residency (2020)

Presentation Partner: FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, Celebration of Nations, St. Catharines

Production Support: City of St. Catharines Parks & Recreation Department, Solotech Inc., Great Lakes Scenic

Company Sponsors: Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Centre, Toronto Arts Council

Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund

Performance dates

October 1 to 3, 2021:  World premiere, Burgoyne Woods (St. Catharines), presented by FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and Celebration of Nations.