Women of the Fur Trade by Frances Koncan, Presented by Gwaandak Theatre
Set in eighteen hundred and something-something in a small room in a fort on the banks of the Reddish River on Treaty 1 land, near-ish what is commonly known today as Winnipeg, Manitoba, this story follows three women. Cecilia is a British settler, Marie-Angelique is a Métis woman “given up” by her mother, and Eugenia is an Ojibwe woman who sells furs to the inhabitants of the fort. They swear to each other “no man, no land, and no government shall ever come between us”. A bold promise in a time when poet and folk hero Louis Riel is returning to ready a provisional government, and the ever handsome Thomas Scott is surveying the Reddish River in preparation for its annexation into the Canadian State…
Written by mixed Anishinaabe and Slovene playwright Frances Koncan from Couchiching First Nation in Treaty 3 territory, Women of the Fur Trade is an invitation to review what historical narratives we know of the land we walk on. It is an opportunity to recognize Indigenous and Métis heroes and leaders, and all the women and two-spirited folks who were behind the public facing image.
When Gwaandak began work on this piece as an in person production, they determined a “COVID active case threshold” at which point the presentation would necessarily pivot to a digital presentation for the safety of the community. As this threshold has currently been reached, the piece is being filmed and presented online as a digital theatrical production. Artistic Director Colin Wolf says “While the cast, crew, and company are disappointed by this development – we are emboldened by our experience shifting productions in the past, and the potential to reach a broader audience through varied performance times. We are also excited to announce that we are able to add digital performances for school audiences.”