This project began over a year and a half ago from a discussion Leela Gilday and Melina Laboucan-Massimo had while sharing their experiences of how both their grandmothers passed away after contacting tuberculosis. While Leela unfortunately did not have the privilege of meeting her Etsi, Melina was in the process of grieving her recently passed Kohkom. They decided to premiere the piece at the Talking Stick Festival – A First Nations Performance Arts that happens annually in Vancouver, BC.

The 20 minute piece is an inter-disciplinary performance combining modern and traditional dance accompanied by live music consisting of 2 part female harmony, guitar, and various drums. The piece also explores how dance interacts with multi-media through live visuals throughout the performance. The performance reflects on how foreign diseases i.e. tuberculosis have affected our communities even to our present day. The theme revolves around the grief and loss we experience with the passing of loved ones namely our Elders. The piece journeys through various stages Native people have experienced before and after the process of colonization from strength and pride to loss of culture to mourning and remembering.

Project statement (pdf)

Dancer/Choreographer: Melina Laboucan-Massimo
Music: Leela Gilday
Drums: Juli
Live visuals: Leena Minifie
Technical support: Quentin Rogers