Indigenous Performance Initiatives (IPI) and Ode’min Giizis Festival Present Gabriel’s Crossing at Trent University


Compaigni V’ni Dansi Production about Métis Resistance Commander Gabriel Dumont on Stage at NOZHEM: First Peoples Performance Space June 17-20

Monday, June 14, 2010, Peterborough

Métis dance, theatre and history are coming to Peterborough in Gabriel’s Crossing, an innovative production by Vancouver B.C.’s Compaigni V’ni Dansi that tells the story of the Métis Resistance through both traditional and contemporary dance, on stage at NOZHEM: First Peoples Performance Space at Trent University from June 17 to 20, 2010.

Gabriel’s Crossing tells the story of Gabriel Dumont and his wife Madeleine. Gabriel Dumont, a fascinating Canadian historical figure, was military leader and commander of the Métis resistance which was eventually overpowered by Canadian militia after a four-day battle near Batoche on May 12, 1885.The production engages multi-media culture of the Métis on many levels of detail, through a backdrop of projected images of archival photography from the period, intricate beadwork and weaving designs of Métis regalia, storytelling, music and dance.

To create this new work, Compaigni V’ni Dansi founder and artistic director Yvonne Chartrand worked under the mentorship of renowned Saskatchewan Métis writer and playwright Maria Campbell. One of the most celebrated senior writers on Métis culture, Maria Campbell’s first book, Half-Breed, remains an iconic work on this subject. In Peterborough, Ms. Chartrand will be working with emerging and established artists and dancers from this region to re-create this stirring and informative presentation.

The creative team behind Gabriel’s Crossing includes artistic producer Professor Marrie Mumford, Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Arts and Literature at Trent University, director Alanis King, the first Aboriginal graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, and DayStar Rosalie Jones, an instructor in the Indigenous Studies Performance program at Trent.

Gabriel’s Crossing is presented as part of the Peterborough-based Indigenous Performance Initiatives’ (IPI) three-week creative residency in the Indigenous Studies Department at Trent University. The residency provides students and community members with artist gatherings, talks, workshops, and open rehearsals.

“The process is very exciting,” says artistic producer Marrie Mumford, who is enthusiastic about building a community of artists at different stages of their careers, bringing students, professionals and members of the local community together. “This allows us to give opportunities and time for others to use the theatre while supporting our own students.”

According to Professor Mumford, at least one-third of the participants of the project are Trent University students. Students are also involved in performance, production and house management. In addition, assistant director Hilary Wear is among five Trent alumni participants.

Gabriel’s Crossing opens to the public at NOZHEM: First Peoples Performance Space June 17, 18, and 19 at 8 p.m. and June 20 at 2 p.m. NOZHEM is located in Enweying: First Peoples House of Learning and Peter Gzowski College (2510 Pioneer Road) on the East Bank at Trent University. Suggested ticket price is $15 or admission by donation. For reservations please call (705) 748-1011 x7906 or go to the web site.

This project has been made possible through the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, The Canada Council for the Arts and Theatre Trent.

Gabriel’s Crossing is being produced in commemoration of 2010 being declared the Year of the Métis by Canada’s Members of Parliament in recognition of the 125th anniversary of the historic events of 1885 in Saskatchewan; and in celebration of the invaluable contributions of the Métis Nation across Canada which have enriched the lives of all Canadians, socially, economically, politically and culturally.


For more information, please contact:
Hilary Wear at (705) 748-1011 ext 7906 or