Image source: Montréal First Peoples’ Festival
From August 2nd to 9th the 27th Annual Montréal’s First Peoples’ Festival celebrations kicks off with a special screening of short films by Indigenous filmmakers. This years festival theme is reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people set in the backdrop of Montréal’s 375th and Canada’s 150th colonial anniversary celebrations. It also marks the 10th year anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People – here in Canada we are still waiting for its implementation…..looking at you, Justin Trudeau! The Festival organizers believe that marking anniversaries should be an opportunity to look back and re-examine the legacies and impacts of colonialism on Indigenous Peoples and spark new paths forward that include justice and self-determination. Here are some must see festivals highlights that foster reconciliation:
OSKEHA AND TAWISCARA : THE GREAT GAME OF CREATION
August 3 and 6 – 8:30 pm, Place des Festivals
Reconciliation includes learning about Indigenous Peoples stories, especially creation stories, as they often form the foundation of Peoples culture. The First Peoples’ Festival has partnered with Société du 375e to bring audiences a contemporary take on the Kanien’kehaka/Haudenosaunee creation story, where twin gods portraying opposing forces battle over the creation of the world. As the twins coexist, each impart their traits onto the world such as summer and winter, day and night, and life and death until their final confrontation. The performance will feature musical artist, Ziibiwan Rivers (Anishinaabe), the guidance of writer Christine Sioui-Wawanoloath (Wyandot/Abenaki), and direction of Pierre-Paul Savoie.
SILLA AND RISE
August 3 – 12pm at Jardins Gamelin, Place Émilie-Gamelin – 10pm at Place des Festivals
Indigenous cultures cannot be contained within a symbolic past- they are also contemporary artists, musicians and collaborators. Silla and Rise are an emerging musical trio who blend traditional Inuit throat singing with electronic dance beats that just won the Juno Award for best Indigenous Music Album of the Year for their first album – Debut. Check out their soundcloud page for new and exciting music:
UP AND COMING CHEF, GEORGE LENSER
Ongoing, Place des Arts
Celebrating Indigenous culture through Indigenous Peoples sharing their own cultural knowledge is an important aspect in reconciliation. George Lenser (Nsga’a, Squamish and Wet’suwet’en) brings his knowledge of Indigenous cuisine to the forefront at Place des Arts where he has the gruelling task of preparing food for over 2000 people. Lenser, who currently works at Foxy on Notre-Dame St-W in Montréal, has 9 years of professional experience under his belt with his eyes set on opening his own Indigenous restaurant one day. “The numbers are so high, I’m just trying to make good food that I can just sling out very quickly,” he said. “The organizers have a cool concept going with three bonfires and deer hot dogs. They want people to feel like they are eating at a campfire.”
RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD
August 9 – Cinéma du Parc
Recognizing contributions Indigenous people have made is huge step in reconciliation as these contributions typically go unrecognized. Rumble highlights 10 historical Indigenous figures who have made an impact on American pop culture, ranging from Buffy Ste-Marie, Jimi Hendrix to Link Wray. The film starts out strong with a tribute to Wray and the impact his song Rumble had on musical icons such as Iggy Pop and Pete Townshend. Rumble debuted in late January to rave reviews at Sundance Film Festival, winning a jury award for masterful storytelling in a documentary and is making waves on the film festival circuit.