Layla Black

Blood and Water

A family’s story of blood, pain, trauma and truth and the healing power of water

Great Art for Great Lakes Layla Black – Blood and Water

Layla Black is an Indigenous Entrepreneur with a passion for helping others share their message, grow their businesses & impact the world with their vision. Over the past decade she has dialed in and mastered Social Media Engagement, Leadership Development, with a special passion for empowering female entrepreneurs worldwide. Creating a Global Online Women’s Community for thousands of women around the world has been one of her most rewarding projects.

“Reaching back into my Indigenous Community with my skill set has been a powerful reconnection for me. Helping First Nations understand the world of Social Media and how to leverage the internet to grow their ideas and small businesses is a passion of mine.”

Join in and discover who the very special guests are. See the Great Art for Great Lakes ‘TV’ schedule for full workshop details and sign up to participate.

Layla’s Cultural Journey As A Mohawk Woman

I was taught not to talk about the fact I am an Indigenous person, that it would hold me back, and I was told to hide it and feel shame about it. This was a direct result of colonization. My great Grandmother Susan was taken from her family and attended a Residential School in Brantford Ontario. She literally had the RED beaten out of her.

When she raised my Grandfather, a lot of this trauma was passed down. He was nervous to go deep into the Reservation, he would tell me not to put my last name on Resumes. We were never taught anything about our identity as Mohawks, it was just a word on my status card.

Finally, my brother sister and I decided we had to take control of our own paths along our cultural journey, and reclaim our Identity. Currently we are learning our language of Kanyen’kéha (Mohawk) and attending ceremonies and plugging back into the heartbeat of the community.

Now, being able to work with Indigenous Entrepreneurs on their Marketing and Branding, and inspiring new Entrepreneurs to go after their ideas and share their gifts… that’s been such a rewarding feeling.

The inspiration for this project comes from my Papa, Gord Staats.

My Papa never knew his Mohawk culture, it was not his fault. In fact, he learned the exact opposite. He was passed on a blanket of shame about his identity as an Indigenous man. My Great Great Grandmother attended the Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford. The Native children there were stripped of their language, their hair, their families, culture and identity.

How does the water come into play?

My Papa never was given the gift of knowing his culture, but he always taught us the significance of water.

He dug 4 ponds on his land, which provided clean drinking water to all the houses for his family. He would lead conferences, teaching others how to dig ponds, filter the water, and sustain themselves. So he may not have known his culture, but he knew water. That was part of his blood.

For Blood and Water, I will be connecting to people within the community, through virtual style discussions, about their connection to water. Everyone from Juno Nominated Musicians, Authors, Indigenous and Non-Indigenous, both Elders and youth. These capturing stories, moments, and experiences will be used in the production of a Mini-Documentary. Additionally I will co-write a song with some very special musical guests for the film using the feedback from the interviews as inspiration.



October 17

Starts at 3pm

Join artist Layla Black for this very special premiere screening of her short film "Blood & Water"!

This live event will also feature exclusive talks with participants and a live performance by Layla and her siblings.

This event is FREE with registration for those joining online through Zoom.


August 8

Starts at 1pm

"Blood and Water" with Layla Black

Riverside Performance with Layla Black & Logan Staats

Join us for this exciting, intimate riverside concert with Layla Black and Juno-award nominated artist Logan Staats! Layla will lead a guided walk down the Grand River. Enjoy an afternoon of sharing stories, singing traditional songs, and learning the medicines along the water’s edge with Elder Grandfather Blackbear. We ask that everyone bring their rattles, drums and music makers to join along.

As a participant, you will have the opportunity to share your connection to the water as a part of Layla’s “Blood & Water” short film, to be publicly premiered later this year! Throughout the day, Layla will be igniting discussion and interviewing participants about their experiences with Lake Erie & the Grand River.

Only 30 spots available – please email Alexis at to reserve your spot!

Special Guest speaker – Elder Grandfather Blackbear

Logan Staats

Born on the Six Nations Reserve and raised in the small ghost town of Brantford, Ontario – Logan Staats started writing and performing music in his early teens.

Logan is fresh off his win on The Launch, a new TV show, that gives Canadian singers a shot at stardom. Staats was chosen out of 10,000 applicants to be featured on the inaugural season of the series and was mentored by Canadian country megastar Shania Twain. The song that Staats performed is called, The Lucky Ones, and was written by Grammy nominated songwriter busbee.


June 24

Zoom Interactive workshop

"Blood and Water" with Layla Black

Workshop 2: Impact and Audience Building for Story Sharing

Please join us for our next GAGL TV WORKSHOP for BLOOD AND WATER  🎉  In this interactive online workshop, Layla will guide participants through the process of sharing their stories to a digital audience for contribution to her work “Blood and Water”.

In Workshop 2, Layla will work on building your confidence on camera and give you strategic steps towards sharing on social media, and guidance on how to utilize online outlets for income streams.

Workshop Includes:
  • Time for Video: Confidence Building and Hacks for Recording
  • Top 5 Digital Media Outlets to share your story once you’ve crafted it
  • Secret Facebook tricks to tap into like-minded people in your target audience.
  • Strategic Methods to monetize your story to create an income stream.

In Workshop 1, we came to understand what our stories are, as well as ways to structure them. It’s now time to start sharing. If you were unable to join us for Workshop 1, it is available to view here in advance of Workshop 2.

As part of the Great Art for Great Lakes project, the stories completed by participants will be featured in Layla’s “Blood and Water” installation, to be publicly installed later this year!


May 22

3:00-4:00pm, Zoom Webinar

"Blood and Water" with Layla Black

Workshop 1: Digital Storytelling in a Digital Age

Please join us for GAGL TV WORKSHOP, Digital Storytelling in a Digital Age,  🎉

Today’s world is changing, and as audiences shift online it can feel like a crowded space.

As the first stage of Layla’s, Blood and Water project, we will be learning how to stand out from the noise online and create real emotional connections with your audience.

No matter who you are or what you are promoting, your story matters.

Workshop Includes:
  • How to turn your Biggest Failures into your Biggest Assets
  • Scriptwriting Secrets from Hollywood Storytellers
  • Simple Resources and Apps to engage better online
  • A Storytelling Template that you can replicate to communicate to the heart of your audience.

Layla Black will be crafting a collective documentary on the story of “Water” and invites all who participate to contribute to the documentary with their own stories.

In this workshop she will give you the outline to properly craft your story, and in her second workshop she will be sharing tips for recording video and confidently telling that story when being recorded.

As part of the Great Art for Great Lakes project, this process will aid Layla’s “Blood and Water” short film, to be publicly premiered later this year!