For Immediate Release:
Montreal, June 14th 2016
For its 26th edition, First Peoples’ Festival will showcase its activities in Montreal at Place des Festivals in the Quartier des spectacles, but also at Concordia University, UQAM and Kahnawake, where a selections of films will be screened and in the streets for the traditional grand Nuestroamericana parade where nations from throughout the world come to celebrate Montreal’s cultural diversity and the First Peoples of the Americas.
In the opening slot of this week celebrating First Nations’ identity, we discover the film 100 Tiki by Dan Taulappapa McMullin, in the presence of its director.
On the festival roster, here are some works whose creator will accompany them: Mekko by Sterlin Harjo, from the Seminole Nation, creator of the remarkable Barking Water (2009), winner of the Best Film Award at the American Indian Film Festival, Chasing the Light by Blackhorse Lowe. From South America, several films will be screened such as Hija de la laguna, a documentary by the Peruvian Ernesto Cabellos Damián or Lo que lleva el rio by the Venezuelan Mario Crespo.
The festival comes to a close on August 10th with the screening of the film Le cercle des nations, a choral film presented as a world premiere in the context of the World Social Forum taking place in Montreal this year.
From July 14th to September 3rd, as every year First Peoples’ Festival will present a show in partnership with the Canadian Guild of Crafts. This year, it is Pulpe Fiction by Abenaki artist Sylvain Rivard. “Using ancient techniques and mixed media, such as paper and bark, I try to create a contemporary ethnological art that is closer to Aboriginal identity and goes beyond cultural mixing”, declares the artist, who adds; “There is a question to ask! Why should artefacts be left to scientists and art to First Nations artists when syncretism is possible”? A pluridisciplinary artist, Sylvain Rivard draws upon his knowledge of ancient craft techniques in his collages that have illustrated his many works for young readers.
Thanks to his works, with their undeniable evocative power reminiscent of colours and textures of the four elements, Sylvain Rivard leads us to the heart of the Abenaki imagination.
These collages are a perfect example of Rivard’s constant concern with incorporating practices typical of art crafts in the contemporary world.
Abenaki culture will have pride of place at Place des Festivals, where Sylvain Rivard will also be showcasing traditional craftwork, transforming ash trees, on Friday August 5th at 3 p.m. and Sunday August 7th at 7 p.m.
For Abenaki people whose material culture is intimately connected to the use of this tree, this resource’s increasing scarcity, caused by the emerald ash borer, makes this relationship more dramatic still. But paradoxically, the preventive felling of many ash trees is also seen as a possibility of getting a supply of them and a cultural resource. Place des Festivals, transformed into an Amerindian site, will host the central element of the display. Using several trees cut down on the island of Montreal, bearers of Abenaki cultural traditions will be on hand to illustrate the traditional process of transforming Ash wood in public demonstrations of chopping trunks, splitting the lignous material obtained, colouring and dyeing wood splints.
Workshops open to the public will initiate visitors to these different processes. Cultural workers and artists will round out the initial encounter. Old photographs, descriptive panels, stories and poems will lend meaning and depth to the activity. Amidst the other creations, an Aboriginal DJ will be invited to create a work based on the sounds and rhythms accompanying the processing of the Ash.
The concerts on stage near the Grand Teepee, Place des Festivals
Digging Roots Thursday August 4th at 8:30 p.m. They won a Juno award for their album For the Light sung in Anishinabemowin and English.
Shauit, August 5th at 8:30 p.m. Already on the First Peoples’ Festival roster in 2014, the Innu singer with a reggae vibe will launch his new album during this evening.
Soirée ÉlectroChoc, with DJ XS7, Saturday August 6th at 8:30 p.m. Alexander Jerome is a Micmac musician from Gesgapegiag. Under his stage name DJ XS7, he creates electronic music with an Aboriginal input.
Kawandak and Logan Staats, Sunday August 7th at 8:30 p.m. Logan Straats is a young Mohawk author-composer-performer who hails from Six-Nations. For the first time, he will be performing with the Kawandak group, and its admired – and virtuoso – arranger and double bass player, Normand Guilbeault. An original presentation from First Peoples Festival 2016.
Images of great rock hits revisited by Amerindian tradition:
Riel Benn takes a fresh look at rock’n roll classics by creating stunning disc covers, which, through his facetious imagination, link well known songs to the Amerindian cause, which is a bit less known. The artist is a modern Trickster who turns the order of things on its head, and leads us, by this merry detour, to better understand First peoples’ realities.
A presentation by Productions Feux sacrés in partnership with First Peoples Festival at the Ashukan space for the original works (and the entire series) starting on August 3rd, and on St. Catherine Street, for the large-scale reproductions, August 3rd-7th.
A travelling art exhibit
ᐊᐛᓯᔅ awaasis, a Naskapi word that means animal, is a travelling art exhibit that will begin in the Aboriginal community of Kawawachikamach (Naskapi Nation) in mid-July, and which will travel to Montreal for the First Peoples Festival 2016.
The exhibit will grow in scope as it travels and enable the creations of a platform for exchanges between different Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. The exhibit’s central theme, insects and animals, will help pinpoint the bio-cultural diversity involved in insect-plants-humans relations through two different cultures and spaces: the urban space of Montreal (Quebec) and the rural and sub-Arctic space of the Naskapi nation of Kawawachikamach (Quebec).
The Innu oral tradition passed on by Rémi Savard
In partnership with Recherches amérindiennes du Québec, the official launch of Rémi Savard’s book Carcajou à l’aurore du monde, Fragments écrits d’une encyclopédie orale innue will take place at Zone Libre bookshop. Rémi Savard is an anthropologist. He has worked in the midst of Inuit and Innu communities in Québec and Labrador.
He has published many essays, compilations and articles on the Innu oral tradition – in particular about Kuekuatsheu (Carcajou), one of their cultural heroes. Moreover, he has been a titular professor at the Anthropology department of Université de Montréal and a guest professor at the University of Beijing (China) and the University of Hohot (Inner Mongolia).
Detailed schedule at the end of June at www.presenceautochtone.ca
From the office of: