The Rivers Speak

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Promotional video about the Rivers Speak Community Play
Video by Village Electric


The Rivers Speak Community Play was produced in September 2017 and was the culmination of our first five-year community-engaged project.  

The project began with a week of community-engaged art-making activities in August 2013 in Mississaugi First Nation and Blind River involving over 200 participants and culminating in a multi-disciplinary pageant performance.  

Following the success of that project, we engaged in a multi-year community-engaged process leading toward a community play with the communities of Mississaugi First Nation, Blind River, Elliot Lake, and Serpent River First Nation.  

From 2013-2017 we undertook the following activities: artistic facilitation; story gathering; community conversations; relationship building; artistic skill development; and partnership development, always incorporating both Settler and Indigenous community members, organizational partners, artists, languages and art forms into the process.  

In all over 3000 people took part in the project. The process was guided by an advisory group of local Anishinaabe Elders, youth and knowledge holders.

The final production of the Rivers Speak Community Play took place at the Mississaugi First Nation PowWow Grounds. The play was based on stories shared by community participants and wove together stories, legends, music and dance from Anishinaabe, Francophone and Settler traditions.  

Over 60 community participants aged 4 to 85 from towns and reserves across Central Algoma were involved as actors, musicians, dancers, and makers, guided by a team of 20 professional artists. The play was performed over 7 days in French, English and Anishnaabemowin and was attended by over 600 people.