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5th Annual First Peoples’ Performing Arts Festival of the Thousand Islands Being Held This Weekend in Gananoque

Gananoque – The 5th Annual First Peoples’ Performing Arts Festival of the Thousand Islands, FIRST, NOW and ALWAYS is being held this weekend, Friday, October 15tgh to Sunday, October 17th in Gananoque.

Events are Free of Charge, but indoor capacity will be restricted, so please bear this in mind. Organizers suggest arriving a little early to be sure you will not be disappointed.

Please note that Covid-19 Protocols will be enforced. Participation in any indoor activities will likely require proof of double-vaccination, mask-wearing, and social distancing. Please be kind and respectful of the rules.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FirstPeoplesPerformingArts


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15th, Royal Theatre, 75 King Street E.

6:45 PM Welcoming Ceremony and address by Clarice Gervais and Kevin John Saylor, Co-Chairs of the First Peoples Circle. A smudging will be offered to those attending.

7:00 PM Canadian Screen Actors Award nominee Brittany Brittany LeBorgne (most famous for her role as Zoe on the APTN and CBC hit series “Mohawk Girls”), will be hosting a presentation of the first-run film “BEANS”. Before the film, Brittany will talk about the challenges of being an Indigenous Actor in today’s film and television industry, and how we are seeing more Indigenous Creatives telling their own stories through the Arts.

“BEANS” is the moving true-life 2020 Canadian film directed by filmmaker Tracey Deer (who is Mohawk, and also the creator of the series “Mohawk Girls”). It explores the 1990 Oka Crisis at Kanesatake, which Deer lived through as a child, through the eyes of Tekehentahkhwe (nicknamed “Beans”), a young Mohawk girl whose perspective on life is radically changed by these events.

The film premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was second runner-up for the People’s Choice Award. It was also featured at the 2021 New York Children’s International Film Festival in March 2021, among other festivals. The film won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Picture at the 9th Canadian Screen Awards in 2021, along with the John Dunning Best First Feature Film Award.

After the film, there will be an opportunity for a Talk-Back with Brittany Leborgne, who plays a role in the film.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16th, Royal Theatre, 75 King St. E.

1:00 PM The Indigenous Makers’ Market

First Nations Artisans are being welcomed to share their artistry and crafts with a sale of one-of-a-kind items available.

2:00 PM Acting Up with Kevin and Kyle

Kevin John Saylor is an accomplished actor and director who is a graduate of the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and has his Master’s Degree in Theatre from the State University of New York, where he taught undergraduate acting. Kevin is also a graduate of the Faculty of Education at McGill University. He was honoured to be decorated by the Governor-General of Canada with the Meritorious Service Medal for his contribution to the Arts in Canada through his work with Indigenous Artists. He is the Founding Artistic Director of Turtle Island Theatre in Kahnawake and the current Artistic Director of the Royal Theatre Thousand Islands.

Kyle Zachary is the current Artistic Director of Turtle Island Theatre in Kahnawake. He is an accomplished stage actor and a professional film and television actor. He’s been a popular radio personality in Kahnawake and is currently the Public-Relations Director for the Kahnawake Peacekeepers. And… Kyle’s a Title-Holding PRO WRESTLER! All that to say, Performance (in many forms) is front-and-centre in all aspects of Kyle Zachary’s career and life (his Life-Partner and the mother of his child is also an actor and theatre designer, but they keep the drama at home limited to play readings… until their son, Austin, commands Centre-Stage!).

Kyle and Kevin are old friends and colleagues who speak the same language when it comes to storytelling. This fun workshop will be an introduction to Acting using Indigenous Stories. Expect the unexpected. (to be Livestreamed on Facebook)

5:00 PM The Mother-Daughter Connection (Can’t break this bond), Shannon Olivier and her daughter, Migizi Mishkiki (Kiki) explore storytelling cultural connections and dance through the lens of unbreakable familial bonds. (to be live-streamed on Facebook)

6:00 PM The Indigenous Makers’ Market

7:00 PM Kyle Zachary, The Daddest Bod in the World!

Championship Title holding Professional Wrestler Kyle Zachary, who is half of the enigmatic and charismatic Dad Bod Squad, tells us about the athleticism, the drama and the showmanship of his favourite sport!

Is it a Ted-Talk? Not quite. Is it a demonstration? Not really. Is it funny? You betcha. Will he wear his singlet? We can only hope! (To be Livestreamed on Facebook)

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17th, locations varying, see below

1:00 PM First Peoples Water Walk

People are asked to gather at the Bandstand in Town Park for a Teaching by Knowledge-Keeper Lisa Cadue on the Water Walk. Why is a copper pot used? Why are the water-bearers women? What is the symbolism of transferring water from one river to another? Why do we Water Walk? These basic questions will be answered in a short presentation to allow participants a greater appreciation for this beautiful ceremony. Following the Teaching, Clarice Gervais will offer to smudge participants as their process to the bank of the Gananoque River (Sculpture Park) to collect the water and begin the walk. The Two-Feathers Drum Group will lead the procession with drumming and songs. Participants are invited to bring their own drums and shakers if they would like to join in under the Two Feather’s Drum Group’s leadership. The Water Walk destination is the First Peoples Park of the Thousand Islands, at the foot of Stone Street, on the Saint Lawrence River. (Parts of the Water Walk may be Livestreamed on Facebook)

2:00 PM (approximately)

Dedication of the First Peoples Park of the Thousand Islands

The First Peoples Circle has been working for several years towards this moment. Finally, the land has been municipally recognized for the First Nations of Turtle Island.

At the conclusion of the Water Walk, when the purified water is transferred into the Great River, we will invite guests to speak, and the park will be officially named with a Smudging Ceremony and Gratitude Prayer. From this point onward, the land will officially be called the First Peoples Park of the Thousand Islands. (To be Livestreamed on Facebook)

3:00 PM (approximately)

Participants will walk from the First Peoples Park of the Thousand Islands to Joel Stone Park for an open-air concert at the Amphitheatre. The singing duo ALPHA, which is made up of Angel Kelsey and Donna Lynn Mitchell, present their repertoire of original songs and inspirational favourites. (To be Livestreamed on Facebook)

5:00 PM (approximately)

From the Amphitheatre stage, there will be a closing prayer of Gratitude and Thanksgiving, and a closing address by Clarice Gervais and Kevin John Saylor. The 2021, 5th Edition of the First Peoples’ Performing Arts Festival of the Thousand Islands will be concluded. (To be Livestreamed on Facebook)