Making Treaty 7 sells out five performances following loss of Michael Green and Narcisse Blood
The cast and crew of Making Treaty 7 still feel the loss of the play’s creators, Michael Green and Narcisse Blood, both of whom died in a car accent earlier this year. Despite that, they are continuing to move forward with its ambitious mission.
Making Treaty 7 strives to create social change and a sustainable future for all members of Treaty 7, a peace pact signed between First Nations and the Crown.
Performer Justin Many Fingers says Green and Blood’s presence is missed, but he believes they will live on forever through the play.
“They’re always going to be a part of this project,” he says. “They gave breath to this project through the wisdom that’s in [Making Treaty 7] to the recordings they’ve left, connections they’ve made and the support they always gave us.”
Michael Green, a staple in the Calgary theatre scene and founding member of the theatre company One Yellow Rabbit, played an essential role in the the extensive research and preparation that went into this project.
Many Fingers will remember Green for his courage and determination.
“He had the guts to step forward as a non-native person and actually go to the Treaty 7 communities and knock at the elders’ doors.”
Narcisse Blood, a Blackfoot elder from the Kainai nation, was the backbone of the project. He played many roles for the cast and crew, in and out the production.
Performer Telly James regarded Blood as family. “He played many roles within my personal life,” Telly says. “He was a father figure, a spiritual leader, and cultural leader. When we lost him, we also lost all of that.”
It’s been a huge loss for the cast and crew, but according to Many Fingers, Blood taught them to be resilient.
When times got tough, or the cast would run into an obstacle, Blood would remind them of the Blackfoot word “Iikakimatt” which means “try harder” or “keep trying.”
James says he was unsure if he could be a part of Making Treaty 7 again, but after performing five sold-out shows in three days, there’s no doubt in his mind. “This run has really giving me the confidence that we can continue on with Making Treaty 7,” he says.
James says those five sold-out shows wouldn’t be possible without the cast and crew’s support for each other after the deaths. “It’s all about being that tight-knit Making Treaty 7 family. We all had to be there for each other to make this show happen.”
The editor responsible for this article is Zarif Alibhai and can be contacted at Zalibhai@cjournal.ca
Thumbnail: Actors Telly James and Justin Many Fingers perform a skit on the whiskey trade. Photo by Trevor Solway