New streaming platform focuses on Indigenous art, wisdom and land

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024 2:44pm


Image Caption

Sandra Laronde
By Sam Laskaris
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A hugely popular and successful ZOOM call a few years ago has led to the creation of a new Indigenous streaming platform.

Sandra Laronde, a member of Temagami First Nation in northern Ontario, has launched a platform called Aki Creators.

The platform, which can be accessed at, is being billed as the world’s first Indigenous streaming service that focuses on the intersection of art, wisdom and land.

It will host various Indigenous mediums, including films, dance, talks and digital projects.

Laronde founded Red Sky Performance in 2000. She is the executive and artistic director of the company, which creates Indigenous dance, theatre, music and media performances.

The official launch party for Aki Creators is June 5 in Toronto, but the platform has been live since May 10.

“When you go online you see everything that is out there,” Laronde said. “But I never saw anything that is like this.”

Laronde said she was thinking about ways to help people connect more to land.

“And I thought ironically, in some ways it will be through the digital space, particularly for younger people,” she said.

The idea for Aki Creators was hatched back in 2021.

“During COVID we did this really interesting thing where we did a ZOOM basically talking about Indigenous wisdom,” Laronde said. “We had a whole wisdom series, because I thought that’s what people were looking for. And our very first ZOOM, we had 5,000 people on it.

“We thought ‘Wow, there’s a real appetite for Indigenous wisdom if you bring the right people to speak on certain topics’.”

Aki Creators is a subscription-based platform. Monthly fees are $19.99 and an annual membership costs $199.99. A free seven-day trial is available.

“We’d love to update content every month,” Laronde said. “And we also have a series there called Red Talks.”

There are currently seven Red Talks available on the platform. They feature changemakers, leaders and artists talking about a variety of topics related to art, culture, wisdom and leadership.

The initial Red Talks posted include interviews with Indigenous rights advocate Autumn Peltier and authors Michelle Good and David A. Robertson.

The site also currently includes Land Dances Us, a 12-minute film that is written, directed and choreographed by Laronde. It combines performance and Artificial Intelligence.

Land Dances Us is about a woman who falls to earth through a hole in the sky. She finds a connection to the natural world and realizes she shares the fate of trees.

“We will be populating the site with more Indigenous content and more Red Talks as we move along,” Laronde said.

The goal is to have the platform grow rather quickly.

“We’re hoping in the first year we get 5,000 subscribers,” Laronde said.

“It is a subscriber-based platform,” she said. “But we do also have free content that people can look at as well.”

Laronde anticipates the majority of the subscribers will be from Canada and the United States.

“It is global,” she added. “And people have signed up from Mexico, Australia and Germany to date.”

Laronde is hoping a mix of people as subscribers.

“I would love to see as many Indigenous people there as possible,” she said. “I do see it as a platform for everyone though. I do see it as for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Anybody that wants to learn about Indigenous art, culture, wisdom, land. I’m really looking at a gamut of voices to come into our fold.”

Laronde said she’s hoping to get speakers with more radical approaches to land and other people who are talking about change that is more along the lines of reconciliation.

“I’m really interested in both of those topics being discussed on this platform,” she said.

And over time she’s hoping to have more global voices involved.

“I think being Indigenous has been very defined to date through the Commonwealth,” she said.

“I’m really interested in the other voices that are out there that may not be part of the Commonwealth, but are Indigenous populations as well.”

Indigenous creators from around the world have an opportunity to be involved with the platform. They can currently fill out a form and upload their work. A decision will then be made whether to include it. See the website for details.

Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.