Canada History Week 2022

8 JENNIFER HODGE DE SILVA was a pioneering filmmaker in the 1970s and 1980s, and the first Black filmmaker to work consistently with the National Film Board and the CBC. Her documentaries, including her signature film, Home Feeling: Struggle for a Community (1983), explored complex social conditions in Canada. DAN GEORGE was an actor, poet, and public speaker from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Born Geswanouth Slahoot, George began acting at the age of 60. His role as Old Lodge Skins in Little Big Man (1970) earned George an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor, the first time an Indigenous actor was nominated for an Oscar. He often acted alongside other Indigenous actors such as Jay Silverheels. George refused to play roles or be in films that demeaned Indigenous peoples and culture. For some First Nations in the prairies, the Sun Dance is an annual sacred ceremony used to reaffirm spiritual beliefs about the universe. The Sun Dance was, historically, an opportunity to renew kinship ties, arrange marriages, and exchange property. The ceremony was banned under the Indian Act of 1895, along with several traditional Indigenous ceremonies, dances, and festivals. An amendment to the Indian Act in 1951 dropped the ban on the Sun Dance, and some groups continue to celebrate today. BRIANMACDONALD became one of the most prolific and internationally renowned directors and choreographers in Canada in his 50-year career. An original member of the National Ballet of Canada, he went on to establish an international reputation as a choreographer, and later as a director of opera and musicals. Macdonald also directed 19 stage productions as an associate director of the Stratford Festival. MENAKA THAKKAR was a dancer, choreographer, director, and teacher who had a profound influence on the development of Indian classical dance in Canada. Although noted as a distinguished performer of classical styles of Indian dance, she drew critical attention for her innovative development of these forms. STAGE AND SCREEN A woman dancing Bharatanatyam, one of Thakkar’s styles (Howesjwe/ National Film Board of Canada (Michel Bussieres/ Chief Dan George (Too Tall Paul/Flickr).