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ABOUT THE ELEGY

For generations Indigenous ancestral human remains and sacred tools such as pipes, water drums, medicine bundles, birch bark scrolls, and recordings have been held captive by public institutions and private collectors. Elegy of Ancestors is an emergent, Indigenous-led ceremonial expression and performing arts movement that seeks to lift up this timely and important conversation.

Through art, performance, song and story we journey audiences through time and space to experience ancestor stories as an expression of intergenerational love. Our aim is to build public awareness, generate timely conversation through community collaboration led by Indigenous excellence, to ultimately encourage these ancestors and their items to be released one day.

ORIGINS

Elegy of Ancestors as an emergent process builds upon the inspiration of E’daapnigaadeg Shkapjiganan | Picking Up the Bundles 4th ceremonial canoe journey entitled Bbaamkozhwe Nji Minisinook | Paddling for Ancestors that took place from Niagara River to Wards Island in February 2021.

 

The winter canoe journey on Lake Ontario was an immersive spirit-led heart-driven advocacy effort to petition ancestors and recollect memories of protection and defence of the sacred. Further it engaged over 50,000 members of the public on topics such as Climate Change and the connection to Mental Health, cultivating Hope in the midst of a global pandemic and finally the Return of Ancestral Remains and Sacred Items.

Elegy of Ancestors emerged on the final snowy winter day of the canoe journey in the frigid lake conditions of Toronto’s Harbourfront.

 

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CREATIVE PROCESS

Bringing together an entirely Indigenous cast and creative team, each performance throughout the procession draws upon the complex stories of ancestral captivity. We are mobilizing communities from various backgrounds to cultivate community care around old wrongs that need to be made right.

  

The Elegy includes the production of a song, creating a soundscape from 100 year old cylinder wax recordings, creating replica ancestor bones, building costumes, and showcasing Indigenous performers as ancestors themselves.