The Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society is excited to announce Tom Jackson, one of Canada’s most influential and distinguished actors, musicians and activists, as the company’s ambassador, creative collaborator and producer, as they head into the first production in the 2019-2020 season.
“We are the storytellers, the singers, the clowns and the tricksters. We help the world leap, learn, laugh and love.It intoxicates me to think that as an artistic collaborator with MT7 I get to play the greatest instrument of change in the history of the human race. Thank you for welcoming me to your soil,” said Jackson.
“Having Tom Jackson join Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society is a great honour. With all of his accomplishments, bringing his creative spirit to collaborate on new works is a dream come true for us,” said Oli Siska, Making Treaty 7’s Managing Director.
At an age when most are pulling back, the 70-year-old Calgary-based star is barreling towards the busiest and most glittering chapter in his towering 40-odd-year run at the forefront of contemporary film, TV, and music, and will also be assisting with Making Treaty 7’s season of performances, which opens with 509 from October 10 – 18, 2019, in partnership with Lunchbox Theatre.
509 is a powerful story that weaves the personal experiences of MT7 Artistic Director Justin Many Fingers with a Blackfoot story told to him as a child. The Blackfoot believe that after death, our spirits go to the sacred hills where the living and spirit world meet. There, Napi (the Blackfoot trickster), guides you to the other side, accompanied by the spirit of the buffalo herd.
In a single, life-changing moment, lead character Garret finds himself in this middle place – in limbo between the spirit world and the life he has known. With the stars and midnight blue sky on one side of Highway 509, and sunshine colours of the morning on the other, Garret remembers the story his grandfather told him as a young child and wonders if Napi is coming to take him to the other side.
“509 looks at my Blackfoot First Nations upbringing as a child of our stories, singing, and dance,” said Justin Many Fingers.“Through the characters of Napi (Blackfoot Trickster) and Garret, 509 explores what I call the middle place, the unknown of the spirit world – life or death, real and not real – and hope for what is.”
509 was the first piece Many Fingers created (under the dramaturgy of Michael Greyeyes) after studying the performing arts at the Center for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto. It then travelled to the Native Earth for the Performing Arts Animikiig Writers Program and was awarded grants by Ontario Arts Council’s Theatre Creators Reserve and Aboriginal Arts Projects Programs. 509 was hosted as a work in development at Rubaboo, Alberta Aboriginal Arts Festival, in 2013 and received a workshop residency grant from Canada Council for the Arts in 2014.
What makes MT7 productions different, and important, is that they are grounded in oral tradition from the First Nations of Treaty 7. These are their stories – their truths – as shared by Elders and Knowledge Keepers with artists who interpret and develop them into compelling theatrical performances.
509 Cast & Creative Team
- Christopher Mejaki – Napi, Grandpa, Mother
- Zach Running Coyote – Danny
- Elizabeth Ferguson-Breaker – Dancer/Singer
- Ayla Modeste – Dancer/Singer
- Justin Many Fingers – Writer, Director & Choreographer
- Marshall Vielle – Assistant Director
- Alejandro Ronceria – Dramaturge
- Neil Fleming – Set & Lighting Designer; Production Manager
- Edgardo Moreno – Sound Designer/Composer
- Chad Blain – Audio Engineer
- Jolane Houle – Wardrobe Designer
- Nova Lea Thorne – Stage Manager
- Claire Bolton – Assistant Stage Manager
- Aldona Barutowicz – Publicist
2019 PERFORMANCES of 509 at The Grand
October 10, 11, 12 – 7:30 p.m.
October 13 – 1:30pm (Matinee)
October 17, 18 – 7:30 p.m.
ABOUT TOM JACKSON
His remarkable career includes countless marquee TV roles on hit shows like North of 60, Shining Time Station, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Law & Order. Guest roles in Season 4 of Outlander and Season 3 of Cardinal aired in early 2019 and Season 2 of Red Earth Uncovered follows. 2018 marked the release of The Essential Tom Jackson, a dazzling two- disc, 21-track retrospective spotlighting his inimitable talent as a folk-pop singer/songwriter. There’s also movies, lots of movies, including the dark comedy thriller Cold Pursuit opposite Liam Neeson. The Irish actor joins a long and very boldface list of onetime Tom Jackson colleagues — also including but not limited to — Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Kris Kristofferson, and Sissy Spacek (in 2012’s Deadfall), Bruce Greenwood (2005’s Mee-Shee: The Water Giant), and Bryan Brown (1999’s Grizzly Falls). Notably, many small-and big-screen parts have leveraged Tom’s Indigenous heritage for their dynamic characters.
Justin Many Fingers is a founding member and the Artistic Director of the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society. His Canadian name is Justin Many Fingers, and is a Queer, Indigenous, disabled, and MAD artist from the Kanawa (Kainai) Blackfoot Reserve in Southern Alberta.
Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society presents entertainment pieces and learning experiences for all Canadians. Inspirational, educational, and entertaining, the Making Treaty 7 performances tell a fundamental story of Alberta’s past, and hopes to inspire new relationships across cultures and generations, long into the future. The Society invites all ages and backgrounds to consider an enlightened, sustainable future for everyone, together.