The final installment of this winter’s Tracking Shots 3 Aboriginal Film Series was a screening of The Pass System (2015) on March 23rd. Toronto-based filmmaker Alex Williams was on hand to introduce and discuss his documentary, which draws on archival research and interviews with academics and elders to illuminate the history of Canada’s enforced (and illegal) segregation of Indigenous peoples on reserves, especially in the years following the Northwest Resistance of 1885. The system required First Nations people to obtain a pass from the local Indian Agent to leave the reserve for any reason, and although it was introduced as a ‘temporary security measure’ it persisted for decades. Stories about this system’s implementation and effects deserve to be more widely known, and we were fortunate to have Alex and local elder Elaine Endanawas on hand to share their insights. The film generated a thoughtful discussion among attendees about how to reckon with this history of restricted mobility and its implications for reconciliation. This year, the series presented a total of eight films ranging from shorts to full-length features. Thanks to all who came out to see these new works and share in the conversation!
Congratulations to all the students in English and Film Studies who have won departmental awards and scholarships this year! The list of award recipients is as follows:
Campbell/Verduyn Prize for Film: Grace Jansen In De Wal
Jim Clark Prize for Drama: Brittany Lazar
Chris Heard Memorial Writing Prize: Danielle LeDuc
Pauline Carole Leavine Scholarship in English: Caroline Weiner, Erin McHarge
Hugh MacLachlan Scholarship: Lindsay Meaning
Barbara Parker Memorial Scholarship: Danielle LeDuc, Denise Springett
Princess Cinema Award: Amanda Mckelvey
Flora Roy Scholarships: Erin McHarge, Aaron Rupert, Carina Rampelt
Paul Tiessen Scholarship in Film: Emily Sider
Weldon and Misser Prize in Poetry: Sarah Best
On Thursday, March 16th, Laurier’s current Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence Ashley Little and the English Students’ Association co-hosted Taking Flight: A Celebration of Creative Writing. Ashley kicked off the evening by reading one of her newest stories titled “Plaza,” followed by readings from the finalists and winners of the ESA’s Second Annual Creative Writing Contest. The contest received many excellent submissions, and all of the runners-up and winners of the contest were on hand to share their work. In the poetry category, the Runners-up were Kyleen McGragh of the Brantford Campus and Jenna Hazard of the Waterloo campus, while Maria Kouznetsova from Waterloo won for her musically-inflected journey through local surroundings titled “Six Impressions of the Walk to Hepcat Swing.”
In the prose category, the Runners-up were Hastings Gresser from the Brantford campus and Jenna Hazard from Waterloo, while second-year English student Sarah Ali (Waterloo) took top honours for her highly inventive transnational piece, “Culling Campaign.”
Following a short intermission, refreshments, and a generous door prize draw sponsored by the ESA, the mic was opened up for other readers, and the audience was treated to a diverse array of creative work by students ranging from first year through to senior levels. Thanks to all who came out to celebrate our campus literary talent!
Dr. Mariam Pirbhai taught her new graduate course, South Asian Canadian Literature, in Fall 2016, in which students were introduced to literary figures and social media artists, and their representations of significant events and issues pertaining to this diaspora, including the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 and the Air India tragedy of 1985. MA student Khadijah Plummer wrote a paper on Farzana Doctor’s recently published novel All-Inclusive, loosely based on the Air India tragedy, and the paper has received an honourable mention on the author’s blog! See link below!
MA students Khadjiah Plummer and Catherine Brunskill will be drawing on work produced for this graduate course, as guest speakers in Dr. Pirbhai’s undergraduate course, Multiculturalism and Literature, in which they have been invited to give presentations on second generation South Asian Canadian vloggers and social media artists, Humble the Poet and Maria Qamar.
Catherine Brunskill’s paper on Ondaatje’s Running in the Family and Badami’s Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? has also been accepted as a paper to be presented at CACLALS for Congress 2017.
Come one, come all to a celebration of creative writing in English and Film Studies! Writer-in-Residence Ashley Little will be on hand to read and speak with aspiring authors at Laurier. For more details, see the poster below.
Good news, poets and prose writers! The deadline for the English Students Association’s second annual writing contest has been extended until Wednesday March 8th. To enter, see details in the poster below.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, there has been a change in the program for tonight’s Laurier Free Film Series screening. Instead of Angry Inuk, the film presented this week will be Alanis Obomsawin’s Trick or Treaty. The screening will take place on Thursday March 2 at 7 pm BA102. Laurier graduate Jaydene Lavallie will still introduce the film.
This feature documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin profiles Indigenous leaders in their quest for justice as they seek to establish dialogue with the Canadian government. By tracing the history of their ancestors since the signing of Treaty No. 9, these leaders aim to raise awareness about issues vital to First Nations in Canada: respect for and protection of their lands and their natural resources, and the right to hunt and fish so that their societies can prosper.
For more information, please contact Katherine Spring via email or at ext. 4149.