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Poundmaker Indigenous Peoples Festival brings international eyes to Cree Nation

The Poundmaker Cree Nation’s fourth Indigenous Peoples Festival saw not only worldwide artists flock to their event, but international viewers as well.

Miawayta Culture Incorporated, who put on the August 6th to 8th event, says moving the event to online due to the pandemic was a challenge, but one that came with rewards.  According to their data, they had 2000 viewers on the festival website from 13 different countries. Their videos were watched for a combined 150 hours in total.

Miawayta Culture Incorporated Director Floyd Favel says the event was a resounding success in showcasing Indigenous art and the community.

“We managed to feature local performers and youth, Indigenous youth, to a global audience and honour their art and presentation. So we have high hopes for the future [and] for next year.”

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The Festival featured numerous artists from Canada and across the world, including Anishnaabe performer Émilie Monnet, Cree artist Kent Monkman and spiritual leaders like Sioux Chief Arvol Looking Horse. They also shot a feature play, an Indigenous retelling of the Russian play Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov. Some of these scenes were shot on the Poundmaker Cree Nation, and others shot in Poland.

Favel hopes that the takeaway from the event is that people see Indigenous art and the festival as something all cultures can take part in.

“Indigenous performance is a multicultural art. It welcomes everybody, and all people take part because all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people take part as presenters in this festival. In this way, we’re breaking boundaries within this country, if not globally.”

Favel adds that should COVID-19 restrictions be lifted by next year, they will look to use live streams to broadcast their videos again, while still doing live shows.

People can watch videos from the 2020 festival online at the Miawayta Culture website. 

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