Storytellers’ festival comes to Fort Battleford

The summer of 2018 is an important time for the people of Poundmaker First Nation.

This is the year their historical leader, Chief Poundmaker, will be exonerated from the false charges of treason that led to his imprisonment and decades of subsequent repression for the community. In honour of this history, Miyawata Culture Inc. is hosting a storytellers’ festival as a celebration of contemporary and traditional culture.

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July 4 at 2 p.m., an art show will open at the Chief Poundmaker Museum. Featured in this show will be a painting donated by Toronto-based world-renowned Cree artist Kent Monkman. This painting captures the decisive moment on May 2, 1885 when Chief Poundmaker prevented further bloodshed by stopping the warriors determined to attack the retreating Canadian forces. Also featured are local visual artists Dana Standinghorn, Melanie Favel, Burt Ward, Christine Cameron and others to be confirmed.

July 5, will open the summer-long storytellers’ festival at the Chief Poundmaker Museum, with local tribal historians reciting oral history. That afternoon Fort Battleford will have the legendary and iconic Kahentinetha (Kahentinetha Horn) of Kahnawake, Mohawk Territory, along with Tekarontakeh sharing Kanien’keha:ka/Mohawk knowledge and history. Dr. Lanny Real Bird, Crow Tribe, Mont. will do a presentation on the rare art of the Plains Indian sign language, once used by tribes from Saskatchewan to the Mexican border.

July 22 presentations at Fort Battleford will be centred around performances at 2 and 7 p.m. Sylix performance artist Mariel Belanger will present her show, Illegal: Let us Live. This is followed by excerpts of the work-in-progress, Uncle Vanya, an Indigenous adaptation of the classic by Chekhov with an Indigenous and non-Indigenous cast.

July 25 at 7 p.m. will feature the Sacred Voices-Indigenous Youth Concert. Indigenous youth and children will be presenting songs and music based on traditional music or an Indigenous language.

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