Wabanaki Dancers Get Quebecois on Their Feet

ICTMN Staff
8/6/11

MONTREAL—As aboriginals brought their culture to the center of Montreal, side exhibits and events were scattered throughout the city. This performance by Wabanaki artists mixed contemporary and traditional forms of expression by drawing audience members into the snake dance, part of a performance outside the McCord Museum.

The festivities were part of the Montreal First Peoples' Festival, going on through August 9.

Inside, the art exhibit The Indian Act Revisited told the story of the Act's effect on aboriginal peoples and culture. Outside, there were people like Rachel Chainey, 29, and her two-year-old, both of them among a couple of dozen people who jumped up to dance.

"It felt good to do the dance," said Chainey. "I actually felt it to be very powerful and connecting."

She added that being there, and having some Mohawk friends, had brought aboriginal issues home to her in a way that history lessons can't.

"I just realized how we are occupying their land," she said. "It is our duty to get acquainted. We are uninvited guests, so it's just a basic thing to do."

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