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Mìwàte welcomes public back to sacred Chaudière Falls

CBC News
October 6, 2017

Elder Albert Dumont says sound and light show a mockery, not a celebration, of Indigenous culture

Chaudière Falls, closed from public view for a century, will reopen with an elaborate sound and light show Friday, but not everyone is ready join the welcome back party.

Mìwàte, a production meant to celebrate Indigenous culture, premieres Friday night as part of ongoing Canada 150 celebrations in the capital. Spectators on a public viewing platform will see the roiling water of the falls illuminated to a soundtrack of upbeat music mixed with voice tracks in the Anishinaabe language.

Ottawa 2017 organizers partnered with multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory to produce the looping, 10-minute show after consulting with members of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, as well as local Métis and Inuit communities.

Guy LaFlamme, Ottawa 2017 executive director, told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning Mìwàte will be a “spiritual” experience on the Ottawa River.

“It’s not historical whitewash. We’re talking about the dark side of our history, residential schools, getting people to realize that First Nations have been in this area for 10,000 years,” he said Thursday.

“It’s a multi-sensory experience as you feel the mist from the falls, the sound, the beautiful light projection. At times, it’s going to feel like a rock concert.”

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