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Writer, Professor, Revolutionary.

CALL FROM UNITED STATES TO SAVE FIRST PEOPLES FESTIVAL IN CANADA

Is it possible for the First Peoples to hold a festival worthy of the name in the famous city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada? This insulting question has brutally come to the fore because the Partenariat du Quartier des spectacles (the PQDS), the para-municipal body that funds and administers programs in support of cultural events in the Downtown district, has decided to cut off ALL grants to the 24-year-old, world renowned First Peoples Festival for the year 2014.

What is their reproach against this week-long summer festival of the First Cultures that each year draws more and more enthusiastic visitors to Montreal from the United States and around the world? The lack of a sufficiently innovative program! What an affront to this popular transformative Montreal event that continues innovating every year, combining indigenous films, art, music, dance, poetry, ceremonies, foods, and parades into a week-long cultural event unparalleled anywhere else in the world, even in the face of adversity. For example, despite the PQDS drastic $50,000 cut of funds for the Festival in 2013, the organizers struggled on and even managed to balance the Festival budget! But this time it seems no chances are being taken: the PQDS Board has dealt the Festival a devastating blow, intended to be fatal.

This new offensive against the First Peoples Festival is a test of the commitment of Montreal and government stakeholders to allow a place for First Nations culture in Quebec’s metropolitan heartland and to associate indigenous cultures with Canada’s 150th Anniversary commemorations scheduled for 2017.

We are diverse cultural figures and groups in the United States (listed below). We demand that those granting funds at PQDS, the City of Montreal first and then the government of Quebec take immediate action to reinstate funding for the First Peoples Festival in a way that can allow it to develop and thrive. The First Peoples Festival is the First Nations’ foremost multi-disciplinary festival, an event unique in its genre. “Terres en vues/Land Insights, société pour la diffusion de la culture autochtone,” its driving force for 24 years, must have its funding renewed and expanded.
Montreal, February 28th 2014.

Signatories:

Dr. James D. Cockcroft, writer and poet; Ana Luisa Cardona, arts consultant; Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, writer; etc.
[send more signatures to gabrielle@nativelynx.qc.ca]

[Source: Land Insights, Information and interviews, IXION Communications 514-495-8176 /
judith.dubeau@ixioncommunications.com]