Elaine is Anishinabe and Cayuga, from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, in southern Ontario. She has worked as a freelance Indigenous Performing Arts activist/promoter/manager/TV and radio producer full-time for 34 years. She now makes her home on the Capilano Rez, on the unceded Squamish Nation territory in North Vancouver, British Columbia, for the last 15 years.
Elaine is Manager for JUNO winner, Mohawk blues piano man Murray Porter, also from Six Nations, full-time for the past 15 years, but has worked with him throughout the years since 1990. She was also Associate Producer on his JUNO award-winning CD, `Songs Lived & Life Played’, and has emerged as a lyricist on his recordings, with a couple of songwriting credits on this release and his new album release, and is now a member of SOCAN. She’s Associate Producer on his new album, ‘STAND UP!’, and co-wrote with Murray Porter two new songs for this recording, which was released in February 2019.
She helped create the `Best Music of Aboriginal Canada’ recording category for the JUNO Awards in 1994, with Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Curtis ‘Shingoose’ Jonnie, and was the first Chairperson. In March 2018, Elaine was gifted from Buffy Sainte-Marie the JUNO she had just won to acknowledge Elaine’s work in establishing the Indigenous JUNO category. She served on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) from 2004/6, and was the first Indigenous person on this Board, and a volunteer for 12 years for CARAS. She is also on the JUNO Blues Committee since 2017, and the Indigenous music category for the last 2 years. Elaine also served as a juror over the years for the: JUNO Awards; Canadian Folk Music Awards; West Coast Music Awards and is an Industry Advisor for the Indigenous Music Awards. Elaine is working with the Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards, which will be held virtually at the National Arts Centre in 2021 in Ottawa.
Elaine is an award-winning radio and television producer who was also a producer, writer/host for ‘Rez Bluez’ a variety television series for 2 seasons on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). The show won an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award in 2008. Her radio documentary series ‘The Aboriginal Music Experience’ won two Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, a Native American Journalist Association award for best radio documentary and was also a finalist for the prestigious New York Festivals in radio for arts and culture. Elaine was also the first female and to win ‘Blues Booster of the Year’ at Canada’s national blues awards, The Maple Blues Awards in 2003. She was a co-presenter of ‘Rez Bluez’, with the Toronto Blues Society on FaceBook on Friday’s in October & November 20/20, which featured some of the best of Indigenous blues musicians.
She was also was a consultant with Valerie Birdgenneau to develop the Aboriginal Performing Artists Inventory for the 2010 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games, in Vancouver, BC. With Pura Fe Crescioni, and Guy ‘The American’, she was also a consultant to DixieFrog Records in France, for their 3 CD box-set “Indian Rezervation Blues & More”, which featured 33 Native blues and folk musicians from all over North America. This box set is only available in Europe. She recently wrote an essay ‘Rez Rocket Romance’ that was part of Indigenous Toronto, published by Coach House Books.
Over her career, Elaine has emceed many concert stages: on Oct. 9-11/18, she emceed the Mainstage at Council Fire’s Indian Residential School Survivors Legacy Celebration, at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto; Rez Bluez shows in Toronto, London, Ottawa and Vancouver, since 1993; LheidlI T’enneh Aboriginal Pavilion at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C.; the 2004 Opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, in 1992 at the Smithsonian Institute’s ‘Festival of American Folklife’, both in Washington, D.C.; Planet IndigenUS at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre; also emceed the screening of ‘Once Were Warriors’ on Granville Island, in Vancouver 2018, with star Rena Owen present.
In 2019: she served on a jury for the First Peoples Cultural Council in January; participated in the First Indigenous Music Summit at the North American Folk Alliance in Montreal & Balbancha aka/New Orleans; she is Publicist for the ‘2 Rivers Remix’ Festival in Lytton, B.C. in July 2019/20 . She was also a regional and national advisor for the 2018/19 APTN National Indigenous Music Impact Study. In June 2017, she was the Festival Manager for the Kanata Festival, an 11-day festival in downtown Vancouver. She also co-ordinated the All-Star Six Nations Showcase with Six Nations Council of the Grand River, during the Assembly of First Nations in 2014 in Toronto, and again in 2016, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The show featured Murray Porter, Graham Green, Gary Farmer, Santee Smith, Derek Miller, for a total of 77 traditional and contemporary Dancers/Artists/ Musicians/Sports Heroes. From 1990 to 1996, with her late Mother Rita, they launched the All Nations Talent Group, that represented 40 Indigenous Performing Artists. Throughout her career, she has conducted many workshops to Indigenous Youth on various aspects of the music industry throughout Canada, as well as workshops on ‘Rez Bluez’ at various
music festivals, universities, colleges and high schools across Canada, U.S. and France.