2018 Making Treaty 7
This year’s theatrical production is grounded in the Blackfoot word KAAHSINNONIKS which roughly translates to ancestor. Building on past Making Treaty 7 productions we take a fresh look at the history and legacy of the events at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877. Making Treaty 7 is a unique intertwined work of dance, theatre, music and poetry built on guidance and stories from Treaty 7 Elders, and through them our Kaahsinnoniks. The performance takes its audience on a journey through history to better understand the true spirit and intent of the treaty, while investigating the consequences and the implications Alberta faces today.
Creating the Show – Artists and Treaty 7 Elders
The process of Making Treaty 7 is grounded in artists listening to Elders. From its inception in 2012 to this year’s production, the roots of our productions are always based in the spirit of learning from our Elders who have generously shared their wisdom to inform and ensure the truth and authenticity of our stories.
Birthed as a legacy project when Calgary was named the 2012 Cultural Capital of Canada, Making Treaty 7 has grown through several iterations. We used materials such as the review process begun in 1991 to gather the “collective memory” of Treaty 7 Elders – published as The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7 by Treaty Elders and Tribal Council, with Walter Hildebrandt, Dorothy First Rider and Sarah Carter. The production Making Treaty 7 was deeply influenced by these testimonials.
Performers communicated with the people of Treaty 7 territory: Elders from the Blackfoot, Stoney Nakoda and Tsuut’ina Nations and consulted urban Indigenous peoples and settler narratives. From this tremendously complex mixture of stories, the artists weave their legends, dance and song to resonate with the very frequencies of the land itself to create a complex memory piece about Treaty 7.
Every year the Making Treaty 7 show is re-imagined and re-invigorated by going back to the roots of the Elder’s voices to uncover new storytelling materials.
New Show Dates Coming Soon
What People Were Saying at the Premiere
“Absolutely moved by @MakingTreaty7 last night. The combination is stories, songs, and history all tied together into a narrative was incredible. Well done to everyone involved!”
“Thank you @MakingTreaty7 for a wonderful, beautiful, heart examining and informative evening. I took my mom- the only thing she said on the way home was ” I think I have some learning to do” She grew up down the street from TsuuT’ina. Thank you.”
“I am fortunate to see tonnes of theatre. Tonight witnessing a performance of Kaahsinnoniks (our ancestors) by @MakingTreaty7 was more than theatre. It was a history lesson, a teaching moment, a truth spoken loud.”
“Everyone should see this. It will change you. @MakingTreaty7 . . . #neverforget #makingoftreaty7 #nowordstodescribe #myhearthurts #thankyouforsharing “
“I have been feeling very raw since I saw @making_treaty_7
“Beautiful group! And wonderful to spot @nenshi at Kaahsinnoniks (our ancestors) by @MakingTreaty7. The performance was powerful, funny, uncomfortable, thought provoking. #allthefeelings. Never seen a crowd so silent leaving a show. #Breathtaking Thank you
Kaahsinnoniks Cast and Crew
Sable Sweetgrass is an Indigenous writer, performer and educator. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts – Santa Fe, NM and a BA from University of Calgary. Her theatre experience includes the original Making Treaty 7 Banff Creative Residency as well as working on Native Earth Performing Arts – Weesageechak Begins to Dance. Sweetgrass is a published author in Initiations: A Selection of Young Native Writings and currently is an Experience Facilitator with the Calgary Public Library.
Telly James is a talented actor, musician and writer who graduated from the theatre program at Mount Royal University. He has been a part of the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society since the initial conversations began in 2012. He is proud to be a member of the writing team for this year’s theatrical version of the Making Treaty 7 show.
Nova Lea is pleased to be working on a new project with the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society. Although this is her first show with the society, she enjoyed getting to know the team while working on We Are All Treaty People, a collaboration between the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society and Quest Theatre. Her summers have been filled with the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show (1999-2018). Her career has also kept her busy working on such shows as I Meta Bully on the Hill, My Grandma’s Eyes, The General, Baloney! (Quest Theatre); That’s Danger (Work Plays Schools Program); That Men May Fly (Lunchbox Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Theatre Calgary), Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You and The Actors Nightmare (The Citadel Theatre), Private Lives (Northern Light Theatre). She also enjoyed the opportunity to return to her home province to work on The Hobbit (Theatre New Brunswick).
Assistant Stage Manager
Claire is delighted to be a part of the stage management team as Assistant Stage Manager for The Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society with Kaahsinnoniks. Selected stage management credits include: Richard III; All’s Well That Ends Well; Julius Caesar; King Lear (The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth Productions); 1984 (Scorpio Theatre); Reefer Madness (Front Row Centre); Curious George; and An Impossible Question Means A Journey (Alberta Dance Theatre); Heathers: The Musical (Cappuccino Musical Theatre); NIN[E] and The Foursome (DeFakto Theatre); The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook (Ground Zero Theatre). Along with being a stage manager, Claire is an actor and dancer, as well a member of Quest Theatre’s Artist in Residency Program and Calgary Opera’s Let’s Create an Opera Program, where she helps bring the joy of theatre to children all over the province.
Jolane is a member of the Blood tribe and is graduate of the University of Lethbridge. She holds a BFA in Fine Arts as a theatre technician and a diploma in Fashion Design from Lethbridge College. She has worked in several capacities of costuming from stitcher to Head of Wardrobe which include: New west theatre (Lethbridge), Stage West theatre (Calgary) and Alberta Theatre Projects. With over a decade of working in theatre she also is an active member of IATSE 212 for film and television. Some union credits include The Revenant, Alpha, Damnation and most recently the TV series Lost in Space.
Billy Merasty is an Indigenous actor and writer of Cree descent. He was born in Brochet, Manitoba. He started his career with Native Earth Performing Arts at the age of 23, launching his acting career after graduating from the Native Theatre School for aspiring First Nations artists. He is now celebrating 35 years in the Performing Arts. Merasty has worked extensively on the stage, films and television as an actor and has written one play, Fireweed, produced in 1992. His second play, Godly’s Divinia, is currently in development. In 2010 he received the Order of Manitoba (Order of the Buffalo Hunt) in recognition for his many years as an Aboriginal role model from the Province. Bill is honoured to be in Calgary to be a part of Making Treaty 7’s Kaahsinnoniks production.
Marshall is an Indigenous Actor, Director, Podcaster, and Drag Performer from the Kainai Nation in Southern Alberta. He is a current Artist-in-Residence at Trickster Theatre and a recent graduate from the University of Lethbridge where he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts specializing in Theatre Performance. Marshall is especially interested in using theatre for community development, having been involved in various projects both locally and internationally aimed at using artistic practices to encourage social change.
Marshall is very excited to be make his acting debut with the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society and would like to thank his family, friends, and artistic mentors for their endless love and support!
Select acting credits include: Two Gentlemen of Verona, Blow Wind High Water (Theatre Calgary), Working It Out (Work Plays), Dreams, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Unlimited: A Collective Creation, Sauce for the Goose (University of Lethbridge), March of the Red Coats (The Fort Museum), and The Ugliest Girl Meets Elvis (Empress Theatre). Select directing credits include: Naked (Chinook One Act Festival), SCORN, alterNatives (University of Lethbridge).
Alanna Blue Bird
Alanna is a Blackfoot Dene writer, poet, and a performing artist who uses her creativity to empower youth. She is from Tsuut’ina Nation and expresses herself through poetry, photography, film & Quillwork. She has travelled to multiple countries and communities to share her spoken word poetry, and facilitates Native Wellness Institute workshops. Alanna gets inspiration for her poetry from her traditional and spiritual way of life. 2015 was the first time she shared her spoken word to the public. Since then she brought this talent to several diverse audiences. She received an award scholarship from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts where she was recognized as a “ 2017 Emerging Artist”. One highlight of this journey was when Alanna went to New Zealand and was apart of the “2016 Uplift Spoken Word Poetry Tour”. Recent projects that she is very proud of is a tour in southern Alberta of 50 elementary schools, with the theatre production, “We are all Treaty People”. A powerful 45 minute play that told the dynamic story of Treaty 7 people and its beginning. Alanna had the wonderful opportunity to work as Artistic Director for the Calgary Stampede Show Band 2017 production of “Mosaic”. She worked alongside with the Directors to create a production that addressed Indigenous peoples history in Canada. Alanna currently resides in Calgary, AB where she continues to create multifaceted art.
Originally from Siksika Nation, Elizabeth is a Calgary based artist focusing on theatre and dance. Select stage acting credits includes: We Are All Treaty People (Quest Theatre, Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society), Survival Cycles, The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs (TheatreXtra), The Christmas Tree (Torchlight Theatre), Carrie: The Musical, Dreams (University of Lethbridge). Elizabeth would love to thank her friends and family for their constant love and support.
Most recently, Cimmeron provided production design (Set, Lighting and Video) for a new work created by Productive Obsession called My Fair Lady the Punk Version. Prior to that, she designed lighting for Twelfth Night at Theatre Calgary with director Jillian Keiley. She also worked with Jillian at the Stratford Festival in 2017 on the critically acclaimed adaptation of Bakkahi. She was recipient of two Betty Mitchell Awards for Outstanding Lighting Design: Sailor Boy (Ghost River Theatre and Czapno Productions) and Confessions of a Paperboy (Ghost River Theatre). She was also recognized with a Sterling award for her design of The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan (Old Trout Puppet Workshop). Participating in the development of experimental forms in theatre is the primary inspiration for the bulk of her design work. She has worked with several theatre and dance companies across Canada as a primary collaborator in the creation of new works for the stage. Selected designs include: for The Old Trout Puppet Workshop, Famous Puppet Death Scenes, The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan and Ignorance, for One Yellow Rabbit, Dream Machine, Featherland and A History of Wild Theatre, for Springboard Dance, Almost Wanting to Fall, for Ghost River Theatre, Sailor Boy, The Alan Parkinson’s project, Confessions of a Paper Boy.
Jeff Charlton is an actor and theatre creation artist currently based in Calgary Alberta. Jeff is a University of Lethbridge Alumni with degrees in education and fine arts. He has studied and interned with movement artist Lisa Doolittle and worked alongside Justin Many Fingers, Troy Emery Twigg, and Alejandro Ronceria. He has received directorial training from Gail Hanrahan. Selected theatre credits include; (Moon, Moon, No Moon, dir. Blake Brooker), (Come Home, dir. Jeff Charlton), (Making Treaty 7, dir. Michelle Thrush), (Declaration, dir. Andy Moro), (Okotoks, dir. Justin Many Fingers), (The Bear, dir. Jeff Charlton), (509, dir. Justin Many Fingers), (Caucasian Chalk Circle, dir. Gail Hanrahan), and (Don’t Dress for Dinner, dir. Monique Prusky). He received awards for outstanding male actor, playwriting, and directing in the 2016 and 2017 One Act play festivals in both local and provincial settings.
Caitlin Connelly is an internationally touring musician based out of Banff, Alberta. While mainly focusing on her folk duo, Johnas & Connelly, she has gratefully played with multi-faceted artists in beautiful venues around the world and travels extensively in contribution to creative projects. She is passionate about leaving the world in a better state than when she arrived and continues to use her art to help that cause.
Danzel (“Boo”) is from the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. He has been a drummer in the Eya-Hey Nakoda band for many years. Dan has been part of the Making Treaty 7 performances since 2013, first as a member of the Eya-Hey Nakoda band and now in his new role as drummer of this theatrical version of the show. He loves drumming and singing, and he feels good when he knows he is reaching the audience with his music. Dan would like to thank his uncle Anders Hunter for the many opportunities to drum and sing, including this theatrical experience with Making Treaty 7.