A tragic loss to Calgary’s arts community

 

 

Michael_Green

A great loss to the cultural community in Calgary occurred yesterday near Regina.

Michael Green, one of the co-founders of One Yellow Rabbit, passed away in a tragic automobile accident. Three other people shared the same vehicle with Green, all of whom also tragically died as well. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident also died as a result of the accident.

It is understood that the roads were very icy with drifting snow.

This is not just a loss for the Calgary and Southern Alberta arts communities, but also the theatre and aboriginal community in Regina. The others who also passed away in this accident are listed below:

  • Narcisse Blood was an elder from the Blood First Nation near Cardston. Blood was a teacher and filmmaker who taught at Red Crow Community College, University of Lethbridge and the Indigenous Studies program at the University of Calgary. Narcisse Blood was also involved with the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society.
  • Michelle Sereda, like Green, was a fixture in the Regina arts community. She was a faculty member in the University of Regina department of theatre and the artistic director of a troupe called Curtain Razors.
  • Lacy Morin-Desjarlais was a Saulteux artist who recently began teaching beginners powwow classes at the University of Regina Conservatory. Both Sereda and Morin-Desjarlais had recently worked together on a theatre project.

Michael Green as stated, was involved with One Yellow Rabbit. One Yellow Rabbit was a theatre group which shook up the established order of theatre and performance in the city when it was formed during the early 1980s. Recently, the 29th annual High Performance Rodeo Festival just ended. The Rodeo developed out of activities initiated by One Yellow Rabbit. He was the current artistic curator of the festival and helped shape its direction from the very beginning.

In the fall of 2011, Green took an 18-month leave of absence from OYR to assume the creative producer role for Calgary 2012.

During the Calgary 2012 festival, a new activity was developed to celebrate the signing of Treaty 7 at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877. The signing of this treaty allowed the development of much of southern Alberta and the newly formed society discusses its implications and consequences.

Although the organization’s initial activities have ended, the organization is now more formalized as the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society. In November 2014 the premiere of a Making Treaty 7 performance occurred. Green was a current member of the Making Treaty 7 board.

What makes this more tragic, is that it follows on the recent passing of Richard (Rico) McDowell who, like Green, was closely tied to One Yellow Rabbit. McDowell had roots in the local arts community dating back to the time he was very deeply involved with Ten Foot Henry’s. It was a legendary alternative performance space located on the west end of downtown Calgary between 1982 and 1985. Here, many punk rock bands performed at and it encouraged performative activities and other artistic endeavours at a time when there were few alternative venues located in the city.

It is a great loss to the communities spread across the prairies. I extend my condolences to each of their families. Their legacies will remain.

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