“We ask that you, your community, and your organization join us to send a loud and clear message to Canada and the world that we will no longer accept the colonial system of dispossession, expropriation, and oppression that Canada has imposed on us for the past 150 years.” ~ REOCCUPATION
A small group of students wanted to put together an action to speak to Canada’s sesquicentennial. On Wednesday night they went up to Parliament Hill to set up a tipi to host people arriving to perform ceremony on the Hill, unceded Algonquin territory, during the Canada 150 Celebrations. Arrests were made, thankfully people were released and the group went into negotiations with the RCMP and other security. Last night they succeeded in moving their tipi onto the Hill. This afternoon the Prime Minister and his wife met with the group that includes the Bawating Water Protectors. This is a monumental event and an important action. Tonight and tomorrow REOCCUPATION will remain on the Hill. Everyone is welcome to come in solidarity. Food, water, and tobacco is being requested.
5AM Sunrise Ceremony
2PM Outdoor Panel: ‘Land Dispossession and Legal Technologies’ with Fredrick Stoneypoint, Ojibwe, Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, Student in Sociology & Human Rights and more speakers to be confirmed
7h00PM-9PM Indoor Panel: ‘Cultural Appropriation in Art & Resurgence in Indigenous Art’
with Indigenous artists and curators Cody Purcell, Delilah Saunders, Alex Nahwegahbow, and Victoria Ransom (NOTE: This event takes place at The Origin, 57 Lyndale
5AM Sunrise Ceremony
7AM-4PM All Day Action! Join for Details.
6PM Feast and Debrief for Protectors and Participants. Location to Be Announced on Place.
The experience of accessing art is on the schedule for tonight’s OAG opening part of the NAC’s Canada Scene programming.
Artist Carmen Papalia has returned to Ottawa! In May 2016 Carmen was part of a panel at the Ottawa Art Gallery titled “Accessing the Museum.” While here he also “led a radical access workshop with OAG staff and other museum professionals from Ottawa that included a performance of Blind Field Shuttle” says Stephanie Nadeau, OAG’s Curator of Public Engagement.
Now Carmen is back to present his research on the “topic of organizing for accessibility and mutual aid” as part of the exhibit Open Access: A Demonstration. Carmen shares that this exhibit is in “response to the failures that I experienced as a recipient of disability support services.” The exhibit “consists of five tenets that speak to the often overlooked implications of offering support to others, providing the reader with a framework that they can use to assess the support-based relationships that they are invested in.”
WHEN: Thursday, June 22, 2017 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm WHERE: Ottawa Art Gallery’s Annex gallery at City Hall, Ottawa
More on Carmen from the NAC website:
In 2015, Vancouver-based social practice artist Carmen Papalia produced Open Access, a conceptual work that addresses the failures he experienced as a recipient of institutional support services. Through Open Access, Papalia offers a critique of the common, policy-based model for accessibility, which he found was prescriptive and marginalizing by design. This exhibition explores the movement that coalesced after Papalia and a group of artists and activists from Gallery Gachet conducted an unsolicited accessibility audit of the Vancouver Art Gallery. (read more…)
Kevin Loring, the NAC’s new Indigenous Theatre Director in Children of God at the NAC. (www.nac-cna.ca)
Last year the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa announced they would be adding an Indigenous Theatre department to join their already strong English and Théâtre français / French Theatre departments. This decision was announced on “March 24, 2016 when the NAC unveiled details of its Strategic Plan entitled Canada is Our Stage: 2015-2020.”
The NAC, as a national institution, has been a leader in providing programming that serves the diversity of audiences in Canada but they realized they needed to do more.
“When the National Arts Centre first opened in 1969 it reflected the way Canada understood itself at the time, as a bi-cultural and bilingual country,” said Peter A. Herrndorf, the President and CEO of the NAC. “We opened with a French Theatre, English Theatre, Music and Dance Departments. Thankfully that understanding of Canada is changing through the extraordinary work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and through the work of many artists across the country. We are very pleased to be opening the first IndigenousTheatre in the NAC’s history and we look forward to meeting extraordinary candidates from across Canada who will build the new IndigenousTheatre Department.”
Yesterday the NAC announced the name of the new director – Kevin Loring, Nlaka’pamux from the Lytton First Nation. Kevin is no stranger to the NAC. In 2010 Kevin was the NAC Playwright-in-Residence and this past week and half he has been performing at the NAC as part of the cast of the Children of God, a poignant play about the history of residential schools. I had the opportunity to see the performance last week and Kevin’s performance was riveting.
Kevin was also part of the 2012 NAC production of King Lear in the role of Edmund. Outside of his work with the NAC he is also known for his play Where the Blood Mixes which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama in 2009.
Congratulations to NAC for their announcement and to Kevin for his new position as part of this important initiative!
See Kevin perform in Children of Godclosing this weekend. Performance times as follows:
Promotional image for Children of God. (www.nac-cna.ca)
ABOUT CHILDREN OF GOD
From the NAC website:
Children of God is a gorgeous, powerful musical about an Oji-Cree family whose children were taken away to a residential school in Northern Ontario. The story of Rita, a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, Tom and Julia, who never knew she came, pushes toward redemption. Children of God offers a thrilling blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities, celebrating resilience and the power of the Indigenous cultural spirit. Inspired by First Nations music, Payette’s profoundly moving score also includes echoes of provocative Broadway masterpieces such as Fun Home and Next to Normal.
Audience Advisory: Mature themes. Some audience members may find certain scenes disturbing.
Emotional Support Workers are available to provide counseling to audience members who may require it. All are welcome in our support room. Please see an usher for directions.
A Mennonite-led Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights walks to Ottawa.
Today at 2 pm at the Human Rights Monument Ottawa come to welcome the WALK THE TALK group who arrived from Kitchener (they walked the whole way!) in order to bring attention to the fact that the Government of Canada is still not complying with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as promised. This 600 km trek began at Sterling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener and the Walkers arrived last night at Ottawa Mennonite Church. Many Mennonite churches in Canada have offered their support in solidarity with this issue calling on the Liberal government to follow through on their words to implement the UNDRIP.
Along with the rally there will also be a Teach-In tonight at Ottawa Mennonite Church, 1830 Kilborn Ave.
RALLY FOR BILL C-262 WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2017 @ 2 pm WHERE: Human Rights Monument (Ottawa City Hall), Elgin Street, Ottawa
TEACH IN WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2017 @ 7-9 pm WHERE: 1830 Kilborn Avenue, Ottawa
While the pilgrimage is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action (#48, see below) directed to churches and people of faith, all are welcome to attend this rally and subsequent walk through downtown Ottawa, where we will read out key sections of the TRC Calls to Action as well as the UN Declaration.
For too long, too many have spoken fine words of truth and reconciliation, but not matched those fine words with just actions. The pilgrimage, and this final day of activity, are a call to account for political leaders, church leaders, and all segments of Canadian society to meaningfully discuss and then act upon what it means to decolonize a society built on what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission clearly identified as “cultural genocide.”
Please join us to Walk the Talk May 13 with your own signs and banners, in the loving, transformational spirit that builds compassion, connection and community.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action 43, 44, 48 and 49
43. We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
44. We call upon the Government of Canada to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
48. We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a
framework for reconciliation. This would include, but not be limited to, the following commitments:
i. Ensuring that their institutions, policies, programs, and practices comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
ii. Respecting Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination in spiritual matters, including the right to practise, develop, and teach their own spiritual and religious traditions, customs, and ceremonies, consistent with Article 12:1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
iii. Engaging in ongoing public dialogue and actions to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
iv. Issuing a statement no later than March 31, 2016, from all religious denominations and faith groups, as to how they will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
49. We call upon all religious denominations and faith groups who have not already done so to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius.
The CANADIAN MASTERS Series welcomes Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin.
This week NFB documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin will be visiting Ottawa as part of the CANADIAN MASTERS series presented by the Canadian Film Institute in collaboration with Carleton University’s School For Studies In Art and Culture: Film Studies.
The Canadian Film Institute’s Canadian Masters series is an annual celebration of excellence in Canadian filmmaking, featuring extensive onstage interviews, special screenings, and audience discussions with some of the greatest names in Canadian film history. In our 2016-2017 inaugural season, we are honoured to present three extraordinary Canadian masters of the moving image: Atom Egoyan (November), Alanis Obomsawin (January), and Guy Maddin (March). more about the CFI
Alanis Obomsawin, OC, is filmmaker, singer, artist, storyteller of Abenaki descent (born 31 August 1932 near Lebanon, New Hampshire). One of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers, Alanis Obomsawin began her career as a professional singer and storyteller before joining the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in 1967.
Her award-winning films address the struggles of Aboriginal peoples in Canada from their perspective, giving prominence to voices that have long fallen on deaf ears. An Officer of the Order of Canada, she has received multiple Governor General’s Awards, lifetime achievement awards and honorary degrees. (The Canadian Encyclopedia)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26 – Alanis Obomsawin in Person: The Interview
7:30 – 9:30 pm
Arts Court Theatre, 2nd Floor of Arts Court, 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa
$15 (+HST) Tickets available at the door and on sale here Seating for the interview on January 26th is limited. Get your tickets early! More info here
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27 – Screening of “We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice” with Alanis Obomsawin in Attendance
7 – 10 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)
Theatre at Richcraft Hall (Formerly the River Building)
FREE! More info here
Manif Solidaire de la Marche des Femmes à Washington DC. La rencontre d’Ottawa est une de plusieurs événements ayant lieu au pays et sert aussi de lieu officiel de regroupement au Canada.
Parcours: Débute au Monument aux Droits de la personne, se poursuivra via Laurier pour se conclure àu Bronson Centre où auront lieu des présentations à l’intérieur.
Le 21 janvier 2017, nous marcherons.
Nous marcherons en solidarité avec les centaines de milliers de femmes à Washington alors qu’elles investiront la rue de leurs buts communs et de leurs voix distinctes.
Nous exprimerons notre solidarité envers celles et ceux faisant partie de rassemblements semblables partout au Canada et dans le monde pour soutenir les droits des femmes en tant que partie intégrante du respect des droits de la personne. Nous nous unissons contre les paroles, les attitudes et les actions qui causent des clivages telles que nous avons observé au cours des événements de l’année dernière.
Nous affirmerons haut et fort notre soutien envers les droits des femmes de tous horizons.
**ESPRIT DE LA MARCHE & CONSIDÉRATIONS ÉTHIQUES**
Cette marche non-violente, inclusive et intersectionnelle a pour objectif de manifester en faveur des droits des femmes – toutes les femmes – peu importe leur appartenance ethnique, leur croyances religieuses, leur affiliations politiques, leur identité de genre cis/trans ou leur orientation sexuelle. La violence, qu’elle soit pour ou contre la droite, la gauche, le centre ou les indépendants, n’est pas la bienvenue et ne sera pas tolérée. Nous sommes résolument engagées envers le féminisme et l’inclusion sociale.
Femmes et filles, Personnes transgenres ou au genre fluide
Hommes et garçons
Personnes vivant avec un handicap
Personnes oeuvrant au sein d’un métier du sexe
Toutes les communautés religieuses
Défenseurs du changement climatique
Toute autre personne voulant offrir son soutien
Cet événement a été mis sur pied suite à l’élection de Trump à la Maison Blanche en réponse aux attitudes, messages et actions discriminatoires, incitant à la haine, qui ont émergé pendant la campagne et qui continuent d’être véhiculés par les discours politiques partout au monde. Nous reconnaissons que même au Canada, il reste beaucoup de chemin à faire. La violence conjugale, l’harcèlement en milieu de travail, le sexisme à l’école et la dénégation des victimes d’agressions sexuelles représentent tous des réalités d’ici qu’il presse toujours de solutionner. Cette marche servira de plateforme où les femmes les plus marginalisées de notre pays pourront s’exprimer et se faire entendre.
À ce jour, aucun pays au monde n’a encore atteint l’égalité entre les sexes, mais cela ne signifie pas que nous devons y renoncer. Nous ne tolérerons aucune discrimination ni aucune victimisation des femmes, ni aucune violation des droits des femmes, que ce soit par des mots, des actions ou des politiques. Nous ne permettrons pas que nos droits durement gagnés soient floués et nous continuerons notre quête d’une égalité intersectionnelle et substantielle!
“Assez égales”, ça ne suffit pas!
Nous espérons que nos frères, pères, fils, maris et autres alliés masculins marcheront à nos côtés — les droits des femmes font partie intégrante des droits de la personne!
Cet événement n’est que le début. Unissons-nous. Soyez solidaires.
This week Gord Downie premieres his project The Secret Path at the National Arts Centre and on CBC
I had the opportunity to attend the premiere of The Secret Path this past Tuesday at the National Arts Centre. It was not an easy event to get through. Gord Downie along with illustrator Jeff Lemire have created a work that invokes discomfort and deep pain – as it should.
Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack was a young Anishinaabe boy from Marten Falls First Nation. He was only one of 150,000 children that were taken from their parents and placed into residential schools often thousands of kilometres away. Far in physical and emotional distance, a large percentage of these children, an estimated 6000, never returned home.
The Wenjack family was present at the NAC and has been a part of this project to bring awareness not only to the past but also to the present – many Indigenous teenagers must leave their community to attend high school. Having high schools on all reserves would allow for kids to stay in their home communities. This is part of the message of Pearl Wenjack, Chanie’s sister, who shared with the audience at the NAC her memories of her little brother and her hope for his legacy.
Along with the production of The Secret Path video and album a foundation (The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Foundation) has also been established to raise money for projects that promote opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue between Non-Indigenous and Indigenous communities. In the spirit of reconciliation, as Gord Downie says “It’s time to get started folks, we had the last 150 years, now we have the next.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begins Pride Month by raising the Flag on Parliament Hill
Yesterday marked the first time the Pride Flag was raised on a Parliament Hill. A large crowd gathered on the greens for the 3:15 Flag Raising that included an address from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As one speaker said “inclusion is the hallmark of our values.” The moment symbolized that “now matter who you are you are valued and loved.”
The weather was one of those gorgeous sunny days where clouds rolled across a big sky. What I love about Ottawa are the views from the Hill as you look out across the river – the expansive horizons that make you believe that everything is possible. It felt good to be there not to protest but to celebrate. A new day!
TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson moderates a panel of cultural provocateurs speaking on Art & Reconciliation.
“It’s time for the rest of Canada to do the heavy lifting” ~ I Lost My Talk composer John Estacio
On Thursday, January 14 the National Arts Centre hosted a panel discussion on ART & RECONCILIATION prior to the opening night of I Lost My Talk, a performance inspired by the poetry of Mi’kmaq elder and poet Rita Joe. The response to this event was tremendous. Hundreds of people swelled up the stairs from the lobby where the 100 Years of Loss exhibit on the impact of Residential Schools is installed until the end of this week. The event also drew political support. In attendance was the Prime Minister’s wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, the Governor General’s wife Sharon Johnston, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde and former Prime Minister The Right Honourable Joe Clark. I Lost My Talk was a commission by Clark’s family for his 75th birthday. A moving and lovely gift that we all got a chance to participate in and benefit from.
Canadian writer Joseph Boyden speaks on his commission to write the libretto for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star.
It’s encouraging to see a National cultural institution take such a leadership role in implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. It’s also poignantly symbolic to have a National cultural institution recognize, in the present moment, a fact that history has tried to obscure. Both the panel and the performance of I Lost My Talk opened with the National Arts Centre acknowledging that “we are on UNCEDED Algonquin territory.”
On the panel, along with Canadian writer Joseph Boyden and John Estacio, the composer for the musical score of I Lost My Talk, was Rachel Maza, “acclaimed Australian theatre director of Jack Charles V The Crown.” I had the opportunity to attend this incredible play that delved into the impact of assimilation policies on Indigenous people in Australia. Over the course of 75 minutes Jack charmed us with his beautiful way of presenting his biography – a life full of identity confusion and much loss but also an amazing amount of grace due to Jack’s own incredible resilience. I left with many mixed emotions. Find out more about the play…
Jack Charles receives a standing ovation at the closing of his performance of Jack Charles V The Crown at the NAC.
Going Home Star opens this week in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre.
“Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation is the brilliant result of a star-studded collaboration between the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, award-winning Canadian author Joseph Boyden, acclaimed choreographer Mark Godden, and renowned Canadian composer Christos Hatzis. Going Home Star was ten years in the making, first envisioned by late Cree elder/activist Mary Richard and RWB Artistic Director André Lewis. Searing and sensitive, this powerfully emotional classical ballet is the deeply resonant love story of Annie and Gordon, a pair of contemporary Aboriginal young people coming to terms with a souldestroying past. Hatzis’s multi-layered score incorporates music by Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq (winner of the 2014 Polaris Music Prize), Steve Wood, and the Northern Cree Singers.” Read more…
The creative team and performers of Going Home Star speak at the NAC about the ballet during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission gathering in May/June 2015
Also, this weekend at the NAC is Innu author, composer and singer Florent Vollant performing on Saturday, January 30.
“born in Labrador in 1959 and grew up on a reserve named Maliotenam, east of Sept-Îles. He began his musical career in the middle of the 80s and helped to create the Festival Innu Nikamu, which, since its founding, has brought together many musicians and singers from various Amerindian nations.”read more…
Image from Have a Heart Day 2014 on Parliament Hill, Ottawa with former NDP MP for Ottawa Paul Dewar.
First Nations Child and Caring Family Society of Canada files complaint and wins after a long battle!
Congratulations to Cindy Blackstock and the First Nations Child and Caring Family Society of Canada. Today is an important moment as the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that the Federal Government is guilty of racial discrimination against First Nations, Inuit and Métis children.
“Over and over the federal government, under former prime minister Stephen Harper, tried to stop Blackstock with Department of Justice lawyers doing all they could to have her human rights complaint dismissed.
Each attempt was defeated allowing the complaint to proceed.” Read full article on APTN
Below is the livestream of the Press Conference following the Tribunal’s announcement with Cindy Blackstock of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations
In the fight for justice for Indigenous children Cindy Blackstock has engaged local youth. Each Valentine’s Day kids arrive on Parliament Hill to give speeches in support of their peers who have been continually denied equitable education. This popular and positive event has leveraged social media and you can find out more by following #HaveAHeartDay on twitter. You can also join this year’s gathering on Wednesday, February 10 from 10:30 – 11:15 am on Parliament Hill.