André Dudemaine, artistic director of the First Peoples Festival, has unveiled the first glimpses of a promising 2019 edition, as well as National Indigenous Peoples Day.
The Montreal festival is proud to announce that it will open with the world premiere of NIN E TEPUEIAN (Mon cri), a documentary by Santiago Bertolino, which follows the spectacular emergence of Innu poet-author-actor Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, who was introduced to the public in the Unité 9 television series. The festival will delve into the gender issue, Indigenous version, with exhibitions, conferences, and meetings on bi-spirituality.
Furthermore, the Guild will present recent works by the young multitalented Atikamekw artist Meky Ottawa, who is noted for creating an enormous mural-tribute to Alanis Obomsawin. Dudemaine is delighted: “It’s the surge of the new Indigenous identity, which is being renewed without burning down all bridges.” The famous documentary Kanehsatake, 270 ans de résistance will be screened in Mohawk in Kahnawake to mark the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.
Outside, at the Place des Festivals in Montreal from Aug. 7 to Aug. 11, shows by local and international artists will be presented every evening. Katia Makdissi-Warren will combine Mongolian throat singing with Inuit katajjaq, Buffalo Hat Singers and Northern Voice bring hearts in tune with traditional drums and songs. Mohawk spiritual leader Sedalia Fazio and expert in haka and other ancestral Maori arts Mahia Mihirangi will take part. Finally, as in prior years, the Nuestroamericana Friendship Parade will conclude the festival in beauty and joy.
Closer to us…
June 21 is a day that’s dedicated to the First Nations, and all are invited to celebrate it on the Quai de l’Horloge, a historic part of Montreal that was already a hub for intertribal meetings, trade, and marriages before the arrival of Europeans. Catherine Boivin, a young multidisciplinary Atikamekw artist who is full of promise and the winner of the 2018 Manitou-Kiuna Prize, will present a multimedia performance on the site of the Lune Rouge pyramid thanks to a partnership with the Guy Laliberté company. “This choice is a gesture of confidence in the future,” Dudemaine emphasizes. “A certainty that the arts of the First Nations will achieve more avant-garde set-ups and succeed in moving into today’s media of expression.” After a tobacco ceremony, to the rhythm of the Deer Family Mohawk Dancers and Singers, dancers will lead their audience on a walk toward the St. Lawrence river to celebrate the land, sun, dialogue, and openness. Dudemaine notes that “the island was the heart of America, and I hope to see a cultural centre dedicated to the First Nations built on this identified, ideal, and symbolic land.” All the preliminary studies were submitted last year. Will this year’s festival include an announcement? To be continued.
Translated by Isabel Garriga
The First Peoples Festival will take place from Aug. 6 to 14 in Montreal.