On The River

On the River is a 60-minute live performance of music and video that tells the story of the Cree, Dene and Métis peoples’ community of Fort McKay, through the lens of the life of former chief, Dorothy McDonald-Hyde.

Songs written and performed by members of Asani and Maria Dunn with video by Don Bouzek of Ground Zero Productions.

(Sample video/song segments below.)


On The River - Background and Show Description:

Fort McKay is located on the Athabasca River, just north of Fort McMurray, in the midst of major oil sands sites. The community has experienced tremendous changes since the 1950s. On The River explores these changes with song and video, telling this story through the lens of the life of former Chief Dorothy McDonald-Hyde.

In 1980, Dorothy McDonald-Hyde became the first elected female Indigenous chief in Alberta. She served several terms, during which she helped Fort McKay develop from a small cluster of houses without basic services into a self-sufficient community with full services. She also fought oil sands companies to protect the health and safety of her people. Later, she worked to set up the Fort McKay Group of Companies, creating employment to help the community benefit from the resource development already taking place.

On The River is a live performance that combines songs written by Asani and Maria Dunn with video interviews from people who knew Dorothy McDonald-Hyde.

Asani is an Indigenous women’s trio from Edmonton: Debbie Houle, Sarah Pocklington and Sherryl Sewepagaham. This circle of First Nations and Métis women have performed across Canada and internationally at such venues as Carnegie Hall (New York) and The Kennedy Centre (Washington, DC). Their debut CD Rattle and Drum was nominated for 11 music awards, including a Juno nomination for Aboriginal Recording of the Year, and received a 2005 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award (CAMA). Asani composed the theme song for the CAMA’s in 2005 and the honouring song for the Esquao Awards in 2009. With their second recording Listen, Asani received a 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year and a 2010 Indian Summer Music Award for Best Spiritual Song.

On The River is produced by Ground Zero Productions, a professional theatre company founded in the early 1980s. Ground Zero has toured Maria Dunn’s other multimedia shows--GWG: Piece by Piece, Troublemakers, Packingtown--throughout Alberta and Canada. The company’s Artistic Director, Don Bouzek, has created the video segments for this show. His award winning video work has been broadcast by Access-TV and is featured on many websites.

Development of On The River received special funding from the Canada Council for the Arts (Theatre Section - Artists and Community Collaboration).

Ground Zero Productions thanks the Fort McKay First Nation, Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts and Edmonton Arts Council for their support.

Please see Contact Page for Ground Zero Productions booking contact info.

More information: http://gzpedmonton.org/projects/view/on-the-river