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Indigenous Stories + Screenings

May 31st, 2017

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Join us for an evening of Indigenous storytelling through the work of two powerful film and exhibition projects in conjunction with the exhibition UNGALAQ (When Stakes Come Loose) by Maureen Gruben.

Thunder in Our Voices with Drew Ann Wake, Gordon Christie and Martina Norwegian
In conjunction with Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) Vancouver 2017
Four Faces of the Moon with Amanda Strong
screening and book launch

Thunder in our Voices
Forty years ago, Justice Thomas Berger of the Supreme Court of British Columbia was asked to hold hearings into a proposed natural gas pipeline across the North Coast of the Yukon, along the Mackenzie Valley, to southern markets. He elected to hold hearings in thirty Dene and Inuvialuit communities along the Valley, where residents demanded that no pipeline be built until their land claims were settled.

This was the first time that many southern Canadians had the opportunity to hear voices from the North, and a vociferous national debate about the pipeline ensued, the first shot in what has become a national discussion about resource development and Indigenous rights.

Drew Ann Wake was a young reporter covering the hearings. Eight years ago she found her audio tapes and photographs from the time. She decided to return, with photographer Linda MacCannell, to the villages along the Mackenzie River so that young people could hear the voices of their grandparents and great-grandparents.

Over the last eight years they have worked with teenagers in twenty-five northern communities, from Trout Lake to Tuktoyaktuk, to produce short films based on images and stories from the Inquiry. The result is Thunder in our Voices, an exhibition of images and films that span five generations of Dene and Inuvialuit history.

During this screening at the grunt gallery, Drew Ann will be joined by Martina Norwegian of Fort Simpson and UBC professor Dr. Gordon Christie, originally from Inuvik, who will discuss how stories told by the Dene and Inuvialuit over 125 years continue to have an impact on the communities of the North. An audience discussion will follow.

Thunder in Our Voices is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Dehcho Divisional Education Council and the University of British Columbia. This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.


Four Faces of the Moon
Four Faces of the Moon is a multi-media installation that provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the elaborate sets, puppets, and props created for the new stop motion animated film by the same name. The story is told in four chapters, which explore the reclamation of language and Nationhood, and peel back the layers of Canada’s colonial history.

A personal story told through the eyes of director and writer Amanda Strong, as she connects the oral and written history of her family as well as the history of the Michif (Métis), Cree and Anishinaabe people and their cultural ties to the buffalo. Canada’s extermination agenda of the buffalo isn’t recorded as fervently as it was in the United States, yet the same tactics were used north of the border to control the original inhabitants of the land. This story seeks to uncover some of that history and establish the importance of cultural practice, resistance and language revival from a personal perspective.

The exhibition catalogue includes texts by Kristen Dowell and Dylan Miner. Copies of the publication will be available for sale.

Read more about the Four Faces of the Moon exhibition here.



Gordon Christie is an Associate Professor of Law,Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia; and is Director of the Indigenous Legal Studies Program. Professor Christie is of Inupiat/Inuvialuit ancestry and specializes in Aboriginal law. His teaching is primarily in the fields of Aboriginal law and legal theory, and his research work is entirely concerned with these two realms (and their intersection). His most recent work focuses on how colonial systems of cultural meaning frame Canadian jurisprudence around Aboriginal rights.

Martina Norwegian is a Dene woman, born and raised in Liildili Kue (Fort Simpson) in the Deh Cho Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada. A leader in her community, she has advocated that consistency be the key for making a difference in local programs & services. As a First Nation member, her participation and advocacy for the “voices not heard” has always been a prime focus, whether in Education, History preservation and in the four quadrants of life. Martina served for many years on both the local and regional Boards of Education. She participated for 27 years in the promotion & preservation of history through the local Fort Simpson Historical Society. Their major accomplishment, through perseverance and dedication of local volunteers, has been the Fort Simpson Heritage Park: identifying local historical landmarks and building a museum which will house artefacts and information about the history of the Dehcho. Although the building is near completion, the real work has only just begun, as we strive to make the difference we want to see in ourselves and our communities.

In the 1970s, Drew Ann Wake worked for the CBC and the National Film Board, covering the hearings of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry as it travelled to thirty Dene and Inuvialuit communities across the North. She subsequently began a career in exhibition design, creating museums and science centres across Europe, in the United States and Canada. She produced thirty educational computer games that ask players to resolve environmental and social issues. Returning to Canada, Drew Ann began working on her current exhibition, Thunder in our Voices, which incorporates interactive video shot with the Dene and Inuvialuit leaders who testified before the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry.

Amanda Strong is an Indigenous filmmaker, media artist and stop motion director currently based out of the unceded Coast Salish territory also known as Vancouver. She is the owner and director of Spotted Fawn Productions, an animation and media-based studio creating short films, commercial projects and workshops. A labour of love, Amanda’s productions collaborate with a diverse and talented group of artists putting emphasis on support and training women and Indigenous artists.

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