Welcome and Thanksgiving Address – Janice Hill, Director of the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre
Introduction – Dylan Robinson, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts at Queen’s University
Part 1 – Cheryl L’Hirondelle with Adam Saifer on guitar
Selections from Cheryl L’Hirondelle’s Why the Caged Bird Sings and Singing Land projects.
Part 2 – Marion Newman, mezzo-soprano and Gregory Oh, Piano
Works by Ian Cusson, Barbara Croall, and Marion Newman.
Part 3 – Jeremy Dutcher
Lintuwakon ciw Mehcinut
Pomok naka Poktoinskwes
Lintuwakon ‘ciw Oqiton
INTRODUCTION BY DR. DYLAN ROBINSON
For over 70 years from 1880-1951 the Government of Canada, under the Indian Act, prohibited Indigenous people from
performing their traditional dances and songs. Under Section 3 of the Act, the presentation of songs associated with the sun dance and potlatch were a criminal offence: “Every Indian or other person who engages in or assists in celebrating the Indian festival known as the ‘Potlach’ or in the Indian dance known as the ‘Tamanawas’ is guilty of a misdemeanour, and shall be liable to imprisonment.”
Given the role of potlatch in documenting the history of First Nations across the Pacific northwest, and the status of
Indigenous songs as the medium of law, healing and teachings, the censorship of Indigenous cultural practices was a significant infringement of human rights. At the same time as this censorship was taking place, ethnographers were working with Indigenous people to record their songs and preserve them. Yet in many cases this safe-keeping of songs in museum collections has also made them inaccessible to Indigenous people today.
In the face of this history, Indigenous people have been working to reconnect songs held by museums with their communities, as well as use songs to help strengthen the overall health of Indigenous communities. This concert presents three artists from across Canada who are leading the way in this resurgence of Indigenous music. We are excited to present their work that demonstrates the vibrancy of Indigenous music today.
*Seating for this event is General Admission