First Peo­ples per­form­ing arts festival

Royal The­atre on Sept 17

The Gananoque Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - LOR­RAINE PAYETTE For Post­media Net­work

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.

PHOTO BY CH­ERYL BEL­LOWS

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.

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