First Peoples performing arts festival
Royal Theatre on Sept 17
Christ Church in Gananoque will be joining with the Royal Theatre to present a special First Peoples’ Performing Arts Festival on September 16-17 at the Royal Theatre.
“In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action for churches, the Parish of Christ Church Gananoque invites its parishioners and the local community to take part in a healing and reconciliation event,” said Jennifer Palmer of Christ Church. “Narda Kathaleen Julg, a Mohawk musician who lives on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, will share some personal experiences regarding her life as a First Nation’s person and the relevance of where we are today. She will also sing her award-winning song that reflects the traditional Iroquois Thanksgiving address.”
A long time in themaking, three different groups will be performing over the course of the event. First up at 2 p.m. on the Saturday will be a panel presentation called “A Look at Mohawk Girls”, featuring show creator Tracey Penelope Deer, who will be discussing scenes from her APTN TV hit “Mohawk Girls”. Joining her will be Brittany LeBorgne, Canadian Screen Actor Award nominee. At 7:30 p.m. that evening, they will present The Blanket Exercise and Healing Songs.
“Following Narda’s opening song and reflections, participants will be introduced to a teaching tool to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non- Indigenous peoples in Canada,” said Palmer. “The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we’re rarely taught. Following a time of reflection and sharing, musicians Doug Green and Aboriginal Artfest winner Margaret Sue Anderson will perform songs including ‘Gather the Children’, a song poignantly sharing the story of children sent to Residential Schools. The evening will end with music celebrating hope that this time of truth and sharing will be a step toward reconciliation.”
On the 17, the Barbara Diabo and Marian Snow Dance Collective are proud to perform Dances from the PowWow Trail; SkyDancer – The Quebec Bridge Disaster, at 2 p.m.
“In 1907 when the Quebec Bridge collapsed during construction, 33 Mohawk ironworkers from the small reserve of Kahnawake fell to their deaths, causing a wave of after- effects that stretched out to the whole world,” said Diabo. “As direct descendants of this disaster, Michael (composer) Diabo and I (choreographer) and have created a contemporary dance piece that brings the past to the present that we believe will haunt you, charm you, and bring new understandings of Aboriginal people.”
The event is being held at the Royal Theatre, where owner Kevin John Saylor (a Mohawk of Kahnawake) is proud to be able to share this cultural achievement with others. He conceived of this festival as the Royal’s opportunity to celebrate Native contributions to the Performing Arts scene in Canada.
There is no charge for Truth and Reconciliation event on Saturday evening, however donations to the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation are welcome. All funds are gratefully appreciated.
A special presentation of ÒSky Dancer The Quebec Bridge DisasterÓ will be shown at 2 pm on September 17 at the Royal Theatre as part of the First PeoplesÕ Performing Arts Festival.