Luckily, I get to work with some amazing Aboriginal Elders and teachers. They serve as my personal guides and, all too often, my personal laugh track.
is a Gemini-nominated Host, comedian, writer, actor and all-around communications specialist.
As a stand-up comic he has performed across North America and has appeared on numerous television and radio comedy showcases, including his own national television specials on CBC’s Comics!, CTV’s Comedy Now, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, The Debaters and many other national and regional programs. Don has hosted the 2008 and 2009 Aboriginal Day Live national broadcast on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and served as host for the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards “First Night Festival”.
Don is currently host and writer of the Gemini-nominated television show Fish Out of Water on APTN. The show explores Don’s adventures as an urban Indian trying to learn the traditional skills and wisdom of Aboriginal peoples…with hilarious results!
Don has a background in media, having worked as a writer-broadcaster for CBC, as well as in strategic communications and media relations. For many years he served as Communications Director for the Assembly of First Nations and continues to perform strategic communications policy and planning work with the AFN and other organizations. Don is a member of the Ojibways of Onigaming, a Treaty #3 First Nation in northwestern Ontario
a Cree and Metis comedian, was featured in the 2010 CBC Comedy Special – Turtle Island Too. She has performed at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and Calgary’s Funnyfest. A finalist in various contests, CBC Radio selected her as Best Edmonton Comedian in February 2008. Dawn performs at comedy clubs across North America including New York’s Comic Strip and of course, at various Indian casinos.
Dawn is also a comedy writer and has written for the stage, radio, film and television. Her book, Nobody Cries at Bingo, a collection of humorous essays will be published in May 2011. Dawn was a Writer and Story Editor for By the Rapids, an animated comedy series on Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network. Her comedy writing has also been featured on CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera and Celebrate: The National Aboriginal Day Special.
She began her comedy career in Toronto on stages such as Yuk Yuk’s and the Laugh Resort. In New York, Dawn performed on at the NY Improv, Comic Strip and Laugh Factory; and hosted a weekly comedy show, the Green Mic, in New York City’s East Village. Dawn also had a role on ABC’s One Live to Live. Dawn currently lives in Edmonton, AB, where she’s a regular at Yuk Yuk’s, the Comic Strip and the Comedy Factory.
She is available for comedy performances, as a host for events and as a workshop leader for improvisation and writing workshops for youth and adults.
Popping Wild Rice
Watch the newest season of Fish Out of Water airing on APTN as well as plenty of exclusive web content right here to keep you hooked.
Check out the teaser videos in the Season 4 tab above to see what kinds of culture shock Don and Dawn are in for this year. Plus, enjoy exclusive new Webisodes, available in both English and Cree.
One History of Arrow Making
Don and Dawn in Search of Water
Dawn and Don make a Traditional Cree Medicine
Don Kelly and Dawn Dumont are invited by the Fort William First Nation reserve to see why Mt. McKay and Lake Superior had such a big influence on the lives of this First Nations culture.
Don Kelly and Dawn Dumont visit Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay, ON to re-live the late 1800’s lifestyle of the Cree trader.
Don Kelly and Dawn Dumont head to central Saskatchewan to learn the importance of the Saskatoon berry bush and to learn a traditional gambling game. In addition to learning about an old native prediction, Don and Dawn must see how well they would survive if the native prediction comes true.
Don Kelly and Dawn Dumont join our guides with the Saskatchewan Resource Rangers to learn some skills on how to survive out on the prairies. It is the final challenge of being stalked by a couple of native cowboys, however, that has our duo sweating.
Don Kelly and Dawn Dumont journey to Wabamun Lake near Calgary, Alberta to learn of the traditional native healing medicines found in the forests. From traditional teas to healing poultices, Don and Dawn are passed down a few of the secrets of traditional medicines.
Don Kelly and Dawn Dumont meet with members of the Sunchild First Nation in north-western Alberta to learn about this horse riding and duck hunting culture. Learning to be stealthy, however, proves to be a challenge for one of our D's.
Don and Dawn join Gerald Azure, an experienced Canadian Ranger and Métis, of Bluesky Expeditions in Churchill in northern Manitoba near the coast of Hudson Bay. Dawn and Don must learn to command a pack of sled dogs with this internationally renowned musher. In addition to trying to snare and prepare an arctic hare, Dawn and Don see if they have what it takes to live in this sometimes harsh environment.
Don and Dawn meet with the Stó:lo Nation – People of the River in Chilliwack, BC and soon discover why this place is considered the heart of the people. From salmon fishing to making fish head soup to being challenged to a race using the one man canoe, Dawn and Don experience what it takes to be a proud member of the Stó:lo Nation.
What better way to learn about the history and culture of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nation in BC than to become ambassadors of this new and impressive Cultural Center – Dawn and Don soon find out! After making salmon candy and exploring how the traditional language is making a comeback, we find out who has become the master and who is still left the student during their final challenge.
Don and Dawn travel to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta to explore the ways of the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation otherwise known as the Rocky Mountain people. Packing horses and blazing trails to track big horn sheep are just a few of the skills they will have to master to keep up with this Nation.
Don and Dawn visit with the Crow Nation in northern Montana where they soon realize that they are in training for an “Ultimate Warriors” competition. Will Don and Dawn have the strength and stamina to compete in an endurance competition of long distance running, canoeing and bareback relay horse racing?
Don and Dawn travel to the Huronia Museum and village in southern Ontario, the first re-created native village representing Canada’s beginnings with the lifestyle of the Ouendat peoples prior to the arrival of the Europeans. To get a sense of what life must have been like back in the 17th century, Don and Dawn attempt to build a traditional fire using the drill and bow method; learn how to harvest tobacco plants and must use their muscles to weed, hoe and plant a corn field. After all this, will our city slickers have the energy to compete in a final challenge of survival?
Don and Dawn visit the Iroquois Cranberry Growers, the largest cranberry grower operation in Ontario, owned and operated by the Wahta Mohawk Band. Don and Dawn discover, hands-on, how cranberries were harvested in the traditional manner and how this community is thriving by harvesting, transporting and packing cranberries using modern technology. Having to use traditional methods, however, to create various cranberry products and meals brings Don and Dawn back in time to appreciate the resourcefulness of the Iroquois culture and society.
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Don heads to beautiful Manitoulin Island in Ontario with the host of the Great Lakes Cultural Camps to discover how difficult it was just to get water without our modern conveniences. After local firefighters demonstrate a water rescue with Don as the victim, Don is challenged to a game of snowsnakes with some community youth.
Don makes a traditional meal of hominy and banaha, two staples of the Choctaw diet with women from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. And after learning what skills are need to play in a game of traditional stick ball, Don is challenged to a mini version of the game with some of the local youth.
Don learns how to make a traditional meal of moss in an underground oven with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. After quickly learning some of the traditional dances from the community youth, Don is challenged to dance against some of the nations best slick style dancers.
Don learns how important the coconut was to the Samoan people after attempting to climb a coconut tree to retrieve and husk coconuts. After literally dancing with fire in a fire-knife dance, Don is challenged to make a traditional fire using only traditional materials.
Don meets with members of a historic Hawaiian Village at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu where he harvests and creates a traditional meal of poi, learns to play a nose flute and is challenged to learn the ancient skills of the outrigger canoe and surfing.
Don ventures in to the Florida Everglades in the heart of the Seminole territory to walk in the footsteps of Billy Walker Sr., a Seminole alligator wrestler.
Don visits with the Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina at the Oconaluftee Indian Village. Don discovers how to use the Cherokee's unique weapon of choice – the blowgun and must learn his place in an intense war council.
Don tries his hand at an ancient method of fishing using a torch light along the Mirimichi River in New Brunswick. Don also soon discovers how difficult yet rewarding fishing for eel can be.
Don heads out east to live the life of a traditional Mi'kmaq of the Bear River First Nation near Digby, Nova Scotia. Near the beautiful Bay of Fundy, Don goes fishing for lobsters and smashes together a meal of acorns and moose leg bone. But it is the more delicate work of making wood flowers and digging for clams that has Don struggling during this final challenge.
Don journeys to the home of the Haida Gwaii also known as the beautiful and mysterious Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia. At the Haida Heritage Center, Don is introduced to some of the skills that gave the Haida the reputation of being fierce warriors. Can Don get his inner ferocity going on so he can confront his competitors and avoid tossing himself into the frigid ocean waters?
Don must travel by plane, by car and then by boat down the mighty Yukon River to meet with the traditional inhabitants – the Ta'an Kwach'an of Lake Laberge. In addition to discovering how the soapberry was made into a traditional treat, and how the community is helping to bring back their language, Don must compete in a dance off performing the traditional mating grouse dance.
Don heads back in time to discover the backbreaking work of those involved in the fur trade at Fort Edmonton in Edmonton, Alberta. Not only does Don take part in the prep and launch of a traditional York Boat but he also finds out why the men of that time often died in their early 40's.
Don heads to the Batoche National Historic Site in Saskatchewan, the actual battle site of the valiant last stand of the Metis in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. It is here that Don must re-enact the life of a Metis soldier. Don cooks some lead bullets over an open fire, learns how to prepare and load a muzzle loader and takes part in some language classes in Michif to reflect the language used by the Metis at that time. But when it comes to Don mounting a horse again, fear becomes an enormous hurdle for both horse and rider to overcome.
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Don joins the White Mountain Apache in the highlands of northern Arizona where he must develop and test his scouting skills. But will he pass their traditional endurance test and be able to meet the grade using one of their Apache weapons?
Don visits with the Navajo Nation people at the Navajo Village Heritage Center in Arizona where he overcooks corn bread slightly in the first Native American oven ever and wages his future in a traditional Navajo gambling game. But will having to herd a flock of sheep keep Don from attending his own arranged marriage?
Don travels to the Kahnawá:ke reserve in southern Quebec to experience a few traditional Mohawk activities. From wrestling with the Kahnawá:ke Survival School championship wrestling team to a challenge dance with the Sweetgrass Singers, Don tries his best to fit in.
Don enters the traditional territory of the Eenou people of Northern Quebec at the Cree community of Oujebougomou. Don goes back to the land not only to try to snare and cook his own meal but to carve out for himself a tool necessary to enjoy some good old fashioned beaver tail soup.
Don journeys to the Hay River Dene Reserve to experience the traditional life of the Dene people in NWT. Don prepares for his final challenge by learning what skills are needed to beat his opponents at the traditional Dene games and by filling his stomach with the delicacy of fermented fish.
Don journeys to north-eastern Alberta to the traditional homestead village at Metis Crossing. After trying his hand at harnessing and driving the traditional red river cart, his back at lugging 70 lbs. sacs of supplies and his feet at red river jigging, will Don's energy hold up long enough to complete his final challenge.
Don heads to southern Alberta to the traditional territory of the Blackfoot people with Clifford Crane Bear at Blackfoot Crossing. Don is introduced to the ancient ways of the boiling pit and in to the area of the badlands. Don also experiences first hand which was more deadly – horse stealing or having to bathe in the traditional way of the Blackfoot people.
Don meets with Clarence Trapper from the Moose Factory Cree Nation on the coast of James Bay for the traditional fall goose hunt. Building blinds and goose decoys are but a few of the skills he'll need to conquer on this trip. Will he pass this initiation to manhood?
Don meets with the women of the Ojibway Cree Cultural Center in northwestern Ontario to meet his ultimate challenge: preparing an annual feast. Don must learn quickly if he is going to pull off this community feast which brings together both the modern and the traditional tools and techniques required to make these community members happy.
Don journeys to the territory of the Osoyoos Indian Band, members of the Okanagan Nation where he learns traditional survival skills in some of the last large tracts of desert land left in Canada. But will the rattlesnakes he is forced to capture stop him in his tracks?
Don ventures to the beautiful coastal territory of the Tseycum First Nation in BC for some good old fashioned clam digging and barbequing. He also finds out that piloting an ancient canoe is not as easy as it looks.
Don journeys to Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, home of the highly decorated war veteran, Tommy Prince. Can Don successfully emulate the skills of Tommy Prince to avoid being targeted by some paintballs?
Park in southern Saskatchewan to partake in the living history of the Blackfoot and Siksika First Nations. A game of double ball and practising the ancient skill of the ateyl are but a few of the tasks that Don must participate in to demonstrate their strong connection to the buffalo.
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Don goes back in time with Elmer TwoYoungman, an Elder from the Stoney First Nation in central Alberta. Our Elder helps him to try to break down the stereotype of the 'cowboy vs. the Indian'.
Don journeys to northern Saskatchewan to the traditional home of the Dene people of Birch Narrows. Fishes and squirrels and bears oh my! Elder Eugene Sylvestre takes Don out to Zander Lake, an isolated and remote lodge to track and hunt various animals or be hunted.
Elder Jacob Wawatai has been living off the land as taught to him by his great grandmother for most of his life. Don is hoping that by soaking up a wee bit of Jacob's knowledge, that he too will survive the great outdoors and squash a melon or two.
The Algonquins of Wolf Lake First Nation often traditionally used the mighty rivers as their highways and for their survival. To successfully live the life of a traditional Algonquin, in addition to learning basic survival skills, Don must canoe a set of rapids -solo.
Don meets with Elder Peter Isaacs in the traditional territory of Six Nations where he must face off: a wilderness of animals using his bow and arrow and the world renowned Six Nations Arrows Express team.
Don journeys to Cape Mudge Island on the traditional land of the We-Wai Kai people. Killer whales, traditional clam bakes and legends are the sweeter events leading up to his ultimate initiation the t'lina (glutana).
Don meets Elder Ernie Philip, a world wide champion dancer and entertainer at Quaoout Resort along little Shuswap Lake. In addition to spearing salmon decoys and taking a traditional warrior test, Don must demonstrate his take on a traditional dance to an audience of native elders.
Don finds himself in the traditional territory of the Shuswap people in the interior of British Columbia along the mighty Fraser River. Don attempts the life of a traditional pit dweller while narrowly avoiding setting the village on fire.
Don joins Walter Quinn to assimilate the way of the moose on a traditional moose-hunting excursion. It is an arduous test of Don's survival skills when he is forced to use his own instincts and make a winter camp. It is an ultimate test of survival for Don as he braves the northern Alberta wilderness alone.
Don treks to Woodland Cree country where he discovers what it takes to be a traditional Cree fisherman and dog sled master. During his final challenge Don must rein in his team or suffer the consequences.
Don recreates the life of a 19th century Metis trapper. He must become more resourceful like the Metis if he is going to harvest anything from his own trap line that will be fit for his very first hand built travois.
Don journeys to the prairies of Southern Alberta: the home of the Blackfoot Nation. He learns from Blackfoot elder Mark Wolfleg Jr. what it takes to be a traditional Blackfoot warrior. He is pushed to his limits in his final challenge when he is forced to ride a horse and shoot a bow and arrow at the same time.
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If you would like to request Don and Dawn visit your community and learn some of your unique traditional activities and challenges or to submit a comment, please submit an e-mail to: email@example.com