August 17, 2018

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RENAE MORRISEAU ON WEAVING RECONCILIATION: OUR WAY

RENAE MORRISEAU ON WEAVING RECONCILIATION: OUR WAY

Scene from Weaving Reconciliation:Our Way| Image source: David Cooper

Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way, which speaks on residential school survivors, intergenerational trauma and resilience, will make it’s Tkaronto debut at The Artscape Sandbox on June 6, 2018.

Weaving Reconciliation centres on the Old One, played by Jonathan Fisher (Pottawattami), a residential school survivor on a healing journey where he witnesses the resilience of his family reconciling with their own experiences of the residential school system. Dream like sequences weave together with improvised scenes with The Trickster played by Sam Bob (Tulkweemult) and Indigenous youth performers from Tkaronto. The improvised scenes represent resilience, resurgence, responsibility, and reciprocity as the Old One reflects on his life: the hardships, feelings of remorse for his wife, being an absentee father, and his hopes for the future.

Writer Renae Morriseau (Cree/Saulteau), included some of her own life experiences to reflect on meaning of reconciliation in the production. “My family lost their lands, have been separated and are a mixture of traditional ceremonial peoples and Christians. That’s in the play – how do you untangle that?” In order to gain further insight and inspiration Morriseau spoke with residents of the Downtown Eastside, her family and friends, and read books on decolonial thought. Morriseau also has received cultural teachings from Secwepemc, Okanagan, Nlaka’pamux, Cree and Anishnaabe Nations through ceremonial song and stories.

“We have all been impacted by Canadian policy and legislation. We have also been impacted by the Canadian ideology that negated our story for so long,” said Morriseau. “For Natives reconciliation is often about our inner journey to how we define our truth. If your non-Native, I hope you can take away that it’s ok to grieve with us,” explained Morriseau. “We understand that feeling guilty is a part of your reconciliation process, however, grieve with us and you’ll understand how hope has been the choice many of us made to be a part of Canadian society.”

“What is the pulse of current cultural practice for our young people?” Morriseau asks. “How do they navigate their lives with their world view and that of Canadian society? Their voice is the hope that helps our residential school survivors. They are our future in how our Indigenous knowledge will carry on.”

*All performances of Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way have been moved to Artscape Sandbox due to a building emergency at Daniels Spectrum. Artscape Sandbox on 301 Adelaide Street West, (Adelaide Street & Widmer Street). Please email me at boxoffice@nativeearth.ca or call (416) 531-1402 if you have any questions.

Renae Morriseau Bio:

Renae is Cree and Saulteaux from the Treaty 1 Territory of Manitoba and has worked across Canada and Internationally in film, television and music since the early 80s. She is honoured to have received cultural teachings through social and ceremonial songs and stories with the Secwepemc, Okanagan, Nlaka’pamux, Cree and Anishnaabe peoples. Renae toured internationally with her singing group M’Girl; served as Aboriginal Storyteller at the Vancouver Public Library and directed Down2Earth, an APTN TV Series on green-energy developments and sustainability projects in Maori (New Zealand) and First Nations (Canada) communities. Community building projects include the winter outdoor production Contest of the Winds with Caravan Farm Theatre, the community play Tuwitames with Splatsin Language Program (Secwepemc Nation)/Runaway Moon Theatre, and co-writing In the Heart of a City:The Downtown Eastside Community Play and Storyweaving with Vancouver Moving Theatre.

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About The Author

Erica Commanda

Born in Toronto, Erica Commanda (Algonquin/Ojibwe) grew up in the small community of Pikwakanagan. From there she moved across Canada living in Ottawa, Vancouver and now Toronto, working in the bar/hospitality industry, mastering the art of listening to stories from her regulars while slinging and spilling drinks (at them or to them). And now through a series of random decisions and events in life she is on a journey discovering and mastering her own knack for storytelling as a Staff Writer for MUSKRAT Magazine.

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