Virginia Barter Métis Filmmaker & Television Producer

School Programs


Métis Historical Writer, Storyteller, Musician, Filmmaker / TV Producer


As an Indigenous (Métis/Cree) artist, I have been working in partnership with the Toronto District School Board now for several years, providing learning support in the classroom.  My artistic practice is multi-disciplinary. My focus is to support teachers and students in understanding Métis history and culture through filmmaking, storytelling, music, drama, and traditional crafts and visual art forms.
During COVID, with the help of the TDSB Urban Indigenous Education Centre, many artists have adapted their programs to the new online reality.  All my current programs – covering all grade levels – can be adapted for online learning.
NEW: Ontario NBE3 Curricula, Grade 11 English FNMI Studies


New topics . . .

Life in the Cree communities of James Bay.

Learn about the unique culture and histories of these old communities in Northern Quebec and Moose Factory, ON.

Waskaganish Journal:

This year (2023/24) I am teaching in the Cree community of Waskaganish, in Northern Quebec. So, I have developed a new speaker series on life in Eeyou Istchee – the Cree traditional territory of Eastern James Bay.  This is my family’s home territory and we have a long history here, which is the subject of my Master’s thesis.  Learn about the fur trade that was established here in 1668. Also learn about the impact of the James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement, the modern-day treaty between the Cree and the Quebec government that has brought unprecedented economic development to this isolated region. From climate change to education, we’ll look at the challenges of wild fires and preserving language and culture and how the future is shaping up for the young people of Eeyou Istchee.



August 19, 2022 Mayor Tory apologized to the Métis for the City’s role in supporting the military actions against the Métis in 1885.

I can help make this part of your curriculum. Read more under “Mayor Tory’s Apology to Métis” dropdown menu. Resource links are also provided.


Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Actions; residential schools

What does healing look like for Indigenous people? What does it look like for all Canadians?  Through guided discussions, poetry, and art activities we will explore these questions. Discussions of dreams and connection to land and nature will be explored through my writings: A Weaver’s Tale: Reflections on healing, love, land and reconciliation.   

Can also include discussion on:

  • MMIW:  “Walking With Our Sisters” project 
  • Métis history through the works of artists Christi Belcourt, Sherry Farrell Racette; Jennine Krauchi;  
  • Environmental justice – Grassy Narrows; water warriors – honouring Josephine Mandamin 


MÉTIS CULTURE AND HISTORY THROUGH THE ARTS:  Beading and Fingerweaving Traditions

Beadwork and sashes are iconic symbols of Métis culture. They are a form of storytelling, connecting one generation to the next. In my workshop presentations, students will learn about Métis culture and history through these two traditional artforms.  Students will have an option for creating their own projects in a series of online collaborative workshops.

Click here to view a fingerweaving demo:


Art Gallery of Ontario – update

Onsite tours . . . The AGO is open once again for on-site tours!  Book your school. 

VSP continues!  Since March 22, 2021, I have been doing programming with the AGO as an Indigenous Art Educator.  Our Virtual School Programs, which began during the COVID closure, have proven so popular that the AGO has decided to continue them.  We are now in our third year of VSP.

How it works . . . VSP is offered Monday to Friday with a special theme of Indigenous Art & Artists on Tuesdays. These webinar style sessions broadcast across the country and beyond and are free.  There are 4 sessions each day: 2 for grades JK – 3; and 2 for for Grades 4 – 8). Note: High school sessions are not being offered virtually at this time, but the in-person tours are in full swing again for all grades.  For booking information, visit: 



TDSB Partnership Programming 

Elementary School Programs  . . .

I am still doing in-person and virtual school visits through my regular partnership programming through the TDSB, and other boards of education.  This is what I can offer a typical full-day of programming and workshops:

Students learn fur trade history through storytelling, music, dance, film and visual arts, as well as hands-on artifact displays and cultural items.  Themes also include natural history, conservation and ecology with an Aboriginal perspective.  Also contemporary themes of identity and culture can be explored through my TV series “Urban Aboriginal”. 


View my downloadable printable trifold brochure.  

(Please note the brochure has been updated in 2018 to reflect the changes in the OAC Artists in the Schools Program grants. Also see details below under Pricing.)

Click on links for high resolution printable PDFs:  

Artist brochure 2018 Pg 1 & 2 – Virginia Barter

Artist brochure 2018 -double sided print out – Virginia Barter copy

Print a double-sided tri-fold brochure. (Note: May need to flip image on short side in printer options to print out correctly as a doubled-sided tri-fold)

As a storyteller and filmmaker, my presentations are interdisciplinary, covering a wide range of curriculum subjects – history, geography, social studies, science, music, art. (Specifically with a Métis and Cree cultural focus.) I tell stories about fur trade family life.
Presentations typically include a hands-on display of Métis artifacts and cultural items and educational panels. Workshops may include dramatic re-enactments and filmmaking – “heritage moments”, as well as media studies.

I can do a variety of things depending on your needs. Here are some suggested options:

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1. History Through Films – the story of Samuel HEARNE .

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2. Urban Aboriginal TV Series  – contemporary issues and themes – media studies.

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3.  Métis and Fur Trade Cultural Displays – (history, geography, Aboriginal culture ) 

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4. Storytelling – “Searching for the Silver Fox” – Fur Trade Family History; and “The Four Directions” – storyboard/map project. Digital storytelling projects and more.

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5. Métis and Cree Music, Dance and Culture – (physical movement and cultural learning)

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6. Louis Riel Day theme – Métis historical events and stories, (history of the Northwest)

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7. Eco stories: “Dare to Be Deep” – marine conservation video presentation, featuring Haida ceremonial dancers – (science and Aboriginal culture)

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 8. *Canadian Boreal Forest Initiative – sustainable development in Canada’s great northern forest 

* Saving the Carolinian Forest – Southern Ontario’s unique eco system – science of wetlands conservation and forest management.

(*Urban Aboriginal TV series and media research project.)

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Vary depending on presentation needs and materials.

Estimate $250 for a single class presentation (25 students, 1 hour) (plus travel if outside Toronto.)

TDSB Teachers note:

Starting fall of 2019 – I have an accredited Partnership Agreement with the Toronto District School Board. 

Contact me directly at: Ph: 416-312-9457

(See my Artist Brochure for more information.)


ONTARIO ARTS COUNCIL – Artist in Education programs CHANGES! 

For the past several years I have presented many of my artists in the schools programs under a grant provided by the  Ontario Arts Council.  I would like to thank the OAC for making this program possible. It provides an opportunity for teachers and artists to work together intensively to create extraordinary projects with their students, at a cost that is affordable to the schools.  There are now new program guidelines where schools can apply directly for grants. If you are interested in participating in this program, here is some brief information: 

New for 2020 . . . next deadline Sept 15



The program supports projects that bring together Ontario-based Indigenous artists or Elders to:

  • work with individuals or groups of people from a community on collaborative activities that create a meaningful arts experience and transmit artistic skills and knowledge
  • teach arts workshops in schools during the upcoming school year, engaging children and youth in creative, active, hands-on and in-depth arts experiences

Other grants for consideration . . .

  • The Indigenous artists in northern Ontario fly-in communities category, with a maximum grant of $17,000, is now open to community arts projects, as well as school projects.

See the OAC website for details on application deadlines and funding details:

If you are interested in collaborating on a project, contact me to discuss it. 


Teachers take note for 2017 . . .

 TDSB Arts CO-OP Program runs at Eastern Commerce.   This program runs from Feb. 21 – mid June.   (Drama, dance and film/media.) I was the facilitator for the Film/media strand in 2017.  To learn more about the program, contact Lorraine Suthern at the TDSB Arts Department or the Aboriginal Education office.  This is open to students of all backgrounds. Aboriginal students are especially encouraged to apply.


I was selected as a writer in residence for “Just Read It” program for the 2016/17 school year. Thank you to the TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD for this wonderful support of local authors. 

Click on these links to see the list of authors and their bios, as well as the schools who won visits last year.