Wasacase shapes Indigenous television productions
- NC Raine | October 24, 2021
Dawn Wasacase is a creative soul who looks for beauty in everything and finds ways of translating subtle and elusive moments of beauty to audiences.
“I've always had attention for the details that resonate with people. For whatever environment you're in, see the beauty present in that,” she said.
Wasacase's medium for creative expressions is visual – she's a television and events producer, a production designer and educator. Her experience runs vast, from producing corporate video to nationally broadcast Indigenous-centred content. It's in that connection to culture where her passion lies.
“That cultural content has the most meaning – no matter your own cultural grounding, when you experience cultural elements that are not your own, it opens your heart and mind to the world, and to others,” she said.
Wasacase, from Kahkewistahaw First Nation, said she grew up poor but the limitations fostered creativity. Her family made use of everything and her mother recognized early on that Dawn had a gift for seeing the possibilities in everything, she said.
After earning an Education degree at the University of Saskatchewan, Wasacase worked as a teacher, then a curriculum writer with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. Her career took a new path after she got a gig with the Indspire Awards show as a cast wrangler – someone who ensures the on-screen talent is where they need to be and on-time. Management at Indspire recognized her gift for leading others and made her Head Talent Coordinator, where she was responsible each year for training 20 young minds for a career in the production world.
“They knew I could provide a safe space for them to learn. It is important for these young people to feel comfortable, ask question, understand what it's like to be in the production world, so they can be part of the bigger success,” she said.
Besides motivating young creatives starting out in the industry, Wasacase has found her own success in creative productions, including on the production team at the Juno Awards, and crafting scenes broadcast on CBC and APTN for the 2021 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“I always say to the youth, pay attention to opportunities around you. Don't dismiss people. You've met them for a reason, you just might not yet understand why,” she said.
“Be open. When you allow yourself to be open, the creativity just floods in.”