Rescatando tradiciones. Entrevista con Margaret Grenier

“We are serving something bigger than ourselves, we are doing it to honour elders and honour our children as well”

Margaret Grenier

A propósito del Coastal First Nations Dance Festival (CFNDF) que se está celebrando en el Museo de Antropología (MOA) de la Universidad de Columbia Británica (UBC), la semana pasada tuve la oportunidad de conversar con Margaret Grenier, la directora artística del festival.

Margaret lleva alrededor de quince años trabajando por conservar y difundir las tradiciones, cultura y danzas indígenas de Canadá, labor a la que se comprometió al darse cuenta de que sus padres estaban envejeciendo y era su deber conservar viva la historia de su pueblo. De ahí su pasión y entrega: “We are serving something bigger than ourselves, we are doing it to honour elders and honour our children as well”

Su trabajo sirve de inspiración a las nuevas generaciones para que logren continuar con el legado de sus antepasados. A continuación, la transcripción de solo algunas de las preguntas que Margaret Grenier contestó para Tintas:

What is your main goal as the artistic director of the CFNDF?

One of my goals is to create understanding. There is so much diversity, there are so many different forms of culture and dance for First Nations people and I think the more that everyone has the chance to experience that, we will begin to understand what that means and get pass some of the things that have limited our ability to represent ourselves in the past.

What is the importance of the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival?

It is unique since there are not many festivals in B.C. that focus on traditional dance, for the most part of the dance festivals focus on contemporary dance. I think what’s unique, is that in this gathering we have dancers –dance artist, that are coming from throughout B.C., also the Yukon, Alaska, other parts of Canada. Sometimes we have international dance artists, and it is one of the few places where we can really see a celebration of traditional art form.

Have you participated with any other First Nations groups outside of Canada?

Yes, we have been very fortunate that we have been able to perform a number of dances both nationally and also internationally. We have had an opportunity to connect with South America. In 2014 we were invited to go to Ecuador for the International Dance Festival there. That was exciting, there were dancers from many different countries, and we were the first Canadian group to be able to present there. Also in 2011, we danced in Cusco, Peru, as part of an indigenous world conference (…).

What is your opinion about the indigenous arts in the rest of America?

What I’ve experienced is a beautiful combining of indigenous art with other influences whether they are Spanish or English, I think that’s quite amazing I think that sometimes we limit ourselves here in B.C. when we don’t open ourselves up to those types of transformations within an art form. When I had the opportunity to work with other artists, I’ve really been inspired by something that I see really honouring what has been maintained through traditional practice but also just a real openness to experience so much and to be influenced by that.

En cuanto al festival, en otra ocasión Margaret comentó que:

As we near a decade of festival performance, it’s truly a thrill to witness the evolution of the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival and its vital role in the cultural fabric of Vancouver (...)

Each season, we endeavor to assemble a talented pool of emerging and established performers, which serve as a critical link in strengthening and upholding the rich cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples. We are honoured by the opportunity to share such a diverse and meaningful array of First Nations artistic practices in the grandeur of the Great Hall at MOA.

El festival concluirá el 8 de marzo, y las presentaciones comenzarán mañana, viernes 5. Para más información, puedes dirigirte a la página:

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