Headshot of Barbara Assiginaak ©

Barbara Assiginaak

Last updated: May 5, 2023

Active internationally since 1995, Odawa First Nation composer Barbara Assiginaak (b. 1966; Manidoo Mnissing, Giniw dodem) has had commissions and performances from leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists across Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, Latin America and Asia. As a musician Barbara also plays, performs, and composes on the pipigwan and for voice in the traditional Anishinaabe way. Classically-trained, she holds music degrees and diplomas from Centre Acanthes (France), the Musikhochschule in Munich (Germany), The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), and the University of Toronto. The child of a residential school survivor, Croall is also a direct descendant of hereditary chiefs who signed the major treaties in Ontario and who fought in major battles of the Indian Wars and War of 1812.

Recording credits of her music and performances include: CBC Radio One, CBC Radio Two, Bayerische Rundfunk-Bayern 3, Deutsche Radio Swiss (DRS-II), Radio France, Italian National Television, APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canada), Kennedy Center Live Broadcasts (Washington DC). Awards include: the Glenn Gould Award in Composition (1989), numerous scholarships at the Royal Conservatory of Music/Glenn Gould School (1992-96) and awards from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (1993-98), three nominations for the K.M. Hunter Award (2003, 2007, 2012), a Visual and Expressive Arts Program Award (National Museum of the American Indian, 2009), and a Dora Mavor Awards nomination (2012).

Barbara is also the Founder and Director of Women of the Four Directions (WFD), promoting Indigenous women’s artistic and cultural activities. She has also served as an Advisory Board Member of the First Nations Composers’ Initiative (FNCI). Barbara is currently Artist-in-Residence and Cultural Consultant with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.


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