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Ryan McMahon

Digital Media Maker & Community Activator

Ryan McMahon is an Anishinaabe comedian, writer, media maker and community activator from Couchiching First Nation in Treaty 3 Territory. As the founder & CEO of Makoons Media Group, Ryan brings indigenous stories to light through conversations, research & investigation. He provides audiences with an in-depth, challenging analysis of the indigenous experience & the reconciliation movement. Ryan inspires audiences to play their part in building a more equitable country.

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Presentations

Two Moccasins, Two Worlds
“You have two moccasins on your feet, walk in both worlds, Grandson. Learn what they learn, always remember where home is though.” A highly personal keynote, Ryan shares his story of failure & triumph and charts his path from a kid that grew up “in the bush” to becoming the first Indigenous comedian to ever a record a full mainstream comedy special with CBC TV. At times, heartbreaking, at times hilarious, Ryan’s honest take on the intergenerational effects of residential school on him and his family, his (re)connection to culture & ceremony and the balance it takes to live in today’s contemporary context is all covered in the this forward-looking & challenging keynote presentation.

iPhones, Bush Tea & Dibajimowinan
Dibajimowinan (deh-bazh-im-oh-we-non) is the word for “storytelling” in the Ojibway language. In this keynote, Ryan explores how Indigenous storytelling is the key to moving reconciliation forward in Canada. The only way Canada (as a country) and Canadians can begin to wrestle with reconciliation is to hear, understand & accept the stories and experiences of Indigenous Peoples. Canada must come to grips with its last 150 years as a country. In this presentation, Ryan delivers a poignant reflection on why storytelling, community, and the internet are integral to moving forward under the project of reconciliation.

Red Man Laughing – Reflections on Reconciliation
This multimedia keynote shares the discoveries, stories and challenges of Ryan’s groundbreaking 5th season of his podcast Red Man Laughing. Ryan brings audiences behind the scenes and into the world of the show in a critical, with an in-depth and challenging analysis of the reconciliation movement in Canada today. The shows 5th season has set the bar high in terms of ways independent or mainstream media can/should respond to the calls for reconciliation.

Seeking Mino-Bimadiziwin
Mino-Bimadiziwin (mee-no bim-ah-dizz-ee-win) translates to, “the good life,” in the Ojibway language. This powerful presentation addresses Ryan’s philosophy on how we may approach the good life we all seek – through balance within ourselves, our families, our communities and our Nations. He deconstructs how we can apply indigenous natural law concepts to our own lives & communities to return back to health & happiness.

Platform Plus

Film Screening & Discussion | Colonization Road

This 90 minute presentation starts off with a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary, Colonization Road and is followed by a talk & question and answer period with the films star,
Ryan McMahon. The film unpacks the suite of policies & legislation that expedited the creation of Canada and examines how these policies were put in place at the cost of Indigenous Peoples. The film is not so much an indictment on Canada, as it is a look at Canadian history through an Indigenous lens. The film was made as an effort to create a common place to start, a common language to speak, when we look at the possibility of reconciliation and a pathway forward in Canada.

Entertainer | Comedian

Armed with a degree in Theatre & as a graduate of the prestigious Second City Conservatory (Toronto), Ryan’s comedic storytelling style is fast paced, loose & irreverent as he explores the good, the bad & the ugly between Indian Country & the mainstream.

Since 2010, McMahon has recorded 3 National comedy specials (Welcome To Turtle Island Too, UnReserved & Red Man Laughing) & 2 taped Gala sets at the prestigious Winnipeg Comedy Festival. In 2012, McMahon became the 1st Native comedian to ever record a full mainstream comedy special with CBC TV (Ryan McMahon - UnReserved) and later that year made his debut at the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, QC where he was named to the NEW FACES list at the festival.

Panelist/In-Conversation

  • Mr. McMahon's show was exceptionally well designed to put the audience at ease, first nations and others alike. His material walked the delicate line between good-natured satire and ridicule...Mr. McMahon controlled the audience with the deft hand of a maestro directing a symphony. He brought us all up to the point of ruckus laughter and then eased us back into sober reflection...Fantastic experience. I would recommend Ryan McMahon to anyone who appreciates comedy. I would equally recommend Ryan McMahon to anyone who appreciates honest social commentary and political participation. 

    - Attendee, Mi'kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre Faculty of Education Lecture
  • You have a remarkable talent for saying hard things in a way that opens us to new possibilities and a new willingness to see the world differently. Like all great comedy, yours has a basis in the realities of life, including those that are the products of our darker and less admirable humanity…you opened that door for us to walk through without fearing it in your presentation and in the perceptions you brought to the very lively and positive Q and A. You generated a wonderful positive energy at an event.


    - Board Member, YMCA Canada
  • His presentation and workshop were both very well received. There was some tough subject matter covered during the conference and Ryan’s sensitivity mixed with humor really seemed to work with the audience. He rolled with the punches when last minute changes came up during the day and was an all around a pleasure to work with.

    - Project Coordinator, Yukon Government, Department of Health & Social Services, Mental Wellness System Improvement Project

Summary Profile

One of the most decorated Indigenous comedians/writers/media makers working today, Ryan McMahon’s voice has become vital to both Indigenous & non-Indigenous communities – his comedic storytelling style is fast-paced, loose & irreverent as he explores the good, the bad & the ugly between Indigenous Country & the mainstream.

Ryan has blended the best practices of life skills, leadership programming, cultural teachings and Indigenous worldviews to create presentations grounded in fun, challenging & practical pedagogies that engage & activate communities. He tailors each presentation to the goals of the host community.

Recognized as one of Indian Country’s most decorated stand up comedians, Ryan has recorded 5 national comedy specials since 2010 (Turtle Island Too (CBC TV, 2010), UnReserved (CBC TV, 2012), Red Man Laughing (CBC Radio 1, 2015), CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival (Hystereotypes (2011), Good Neighbour (2014). He’s appeared at the prestigious Just For Laughs festival a number of times and tours North America independently. McMahon’s special, “ “Ryan McMahon – UnReserved,” made him the first Native comedian to ever record a one-hour mainstream comedy special. McMahon’s comedy is irreverent, boundary-pushing, and forward-looking as it investigates the good, the bad and the ugly between the collision of Indian Country and the mainstream.

Ryan has written for The Globe and Mail, VICE, the New York Times, and the CBC. Currently, Ryan and his team at Transatlantic (Samantha Haywood & Stephanie Sinclair) are getting set to shop a few projects to publishers, including a book (“A 12 Step Program For Decolonization In Canada – A Seriously Funny Investigation Into Canada’s Addiction to Colonialism.”) based on the RTDNA 2018 award-winning radio series, 12 Steps To Decolonization, that McMahon created, wrote and performed for CBC Radio 1’s flagship show, Day 6 With Brent Bambury in the summer of 2017.

McMahon’s podcasts, Red Man Laughing and Stories From The Land, have garnered over a million and a half downloads over the last handful of years. His podcasting, documentary and digital storytelling are an extension of the Indigenous radio storytelling tradition and has been a part of a new and exciting Indigenous storytelling community that embraces the collision between the internet, technology and storytelling.

He’s the CEO of the Makoons Media Group and is currently building the worlds only independent Indigenous media platform, Indian & Cowboy, which is committed to digital publishing and the internet.

RT @jayme_poisson: If you were interested in our pod today on the relationship between police and indigenous people in Thunder Bay, there i… (2018-12-19 02:27:54)
RT @TashaSpillett: I’m so thrilled, grateful and a little stunned by the love this story has gotten in the short time it’s been in the worl… (2018-12-18 05:54:34)
Celina Reitberger, of Fort William FN, as the Chair of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, is thrust into the mi… https://t.co/SzCNEo4Hwz (2018-12-18 03:29:23)