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Alberta

Alberta’s Distinguished Artist Award Recipients Announced

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9 minute read

June 16, 2021

Alberta’s Distinguished Artist Award Recipients Announced

(Calgary, AB) The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation is pleased to announce that artist Faye HeavyShield (Blood Reserve, Kainaiwa Nation, AB), writer and filmmaker Cheryl Foggo (Calgary, AB), and dance choreographer Vicki Adams Willis (Calgary, AB), have been selected to receive the 2021 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award.

Arlene Strom, chair of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation said, “Albertans can be proud of these three whose contributions have pushed the boundaries of art to reflect Indigenous identity and expression; present a more inclusive and diverse view of Alberta’s history; and define the province as a beacon for jazz dance artists. Each has contributed immeasurably to the development of the province’s artists, arts communities and expanding art disciplines.”

Faye HeavyShield, Visual Arts

Faye Heavyshield

Over the past 30 years, Faye HeavyShield has been one of Canada’s pre- eminent artists within Alberta and the Blackfoot Confederacy. Currently living on the Blood Reserve in southwestern Alberta, Faye studied at Alberta University for the Arts in Calgary.

Honouring her Kainaiwa (Blood) Nation, the striking landscape they dwell within and the Blackfoot language which she speaks, Faye HeavyShield’s legacy of three-dimensional art and sculpture including recent installations incorporating photography and delicately constructed paper figures make her a senior figure in the artistic and cultural renaissance of Indigenous nations in the country.

“…My art is a reflection of my environment and personal history as lived in the physical geography of southern Alberta with its prairie grass, river coulees, and wind and an upbringing in the Kainaiwa community. I would say the environment is an extension of myself because it’s always been there, from the time I was a child. It was one of the first things that I saw and smelled. I consider it a part of me. The landscape is an extension of the body because we’re dependent on it, and to flip that, the landscape is dependent on us…” Faye Heavyshield

Beyond her personal practice, Faye is actively involved with her community by working with youth through art programming and creating cultural connections for children in care.

Cheryl Foggo, Playwright, screenwriter, film maker, author

Cheryl Foggo

Creating a more inclusive and diverse view of Alberta’s history through her plays, films, books, articles and multi-media presentations has been Cheryl Foggo’s life work. Profiled in Who’s Who in Black Canada and the recipient of the 2008 national Harry Jerome Award for The Arts, Foggo has applied her talent as a researcher and writer to uncovering the compelling but overlooked stories of Alberta’s Black settlers and

cowboys. Most recently, the award winning National Film Board feature- length documentary, John Ware Reclaimed (2020), highlighted an earlier thriving Black community in the province often left out of the history books.

Her seminal, autobiographical book, Pourin’ Down Rain: A Black Woman Claims Her Place In The Canadian West, is a powerful narrative of Foggo’s ancestors’ journey from enslavement in the United States to Western Canada. The book, first published in 1990, received the distinction of a special 30th anniversary reprint in 2020. Her books for young people: Dear Baobab, I Have Been in Danger and One Thing That’s True have garnered many commendations between them, including One Thing That’s True being short-listed for the Governor General’s Award. In addition to her books, Cheryl Foggo has published prose in more than 40 journals and anthologies.

Two new productions of Foggo‘s plays are scheduled in 2021 with the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton and the Urgency Collective in Calgary, and her short play The Sender is currently available through Toronto’s Obsidian Company’s 21 Black Futures Project. As a cultural activist, mentor and volunteer she advocates for writers and Black artists.

Vicki Adams Willis Performing Arts: Dance

Vicki Adams Willis

Vicki Adams Willis has changed the face of jazz dance in Alberta and Canada. A co-founder nearly 40 years ago of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD), she is foremost a teacher and choreographer of more than 35 original productions. She is recognized as a true leader in the world of jazz; an acclaimed ground-breaking choreographer who created one of the most unique jazz dance companies in the world, and the key person to ensure Calgary, Alberta as a viable dance centre for serious jazz artists. She has helped to change the very course of the jazz dance art form by influencing students, dancers, musicians and audiences with her strongly researched and brilliantly creative work.

Jazz dance is a misunderstood art form. Born of African parents and of the Black American experience, Vicki Adams Willis acknowledges herself as a guest in this form and has demonstrated her deep understanding of, and utter respect for, the authentic roots and history of jazz through her research, teaching and choreography. The company she co-created in 1984 – Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) has gained international recognition. It has been referenced in articles, dissertations, anthologies and, most recently, in an award-winning international film: Uprooted–The Journey of Jazz Dance, which had its Canadian premiere at the 2021 Toronto Black Film Festival.

“..These three ground-breaking women have offered important contributions to the arts in Canada. Their creativity has brought new light to their respective disciplines and created countless opportunities for us all to learn, grow and explore fresh ideas. Artists like this are essential to the vibrancy of our communities and we are truly fortunate to have them as cultural leaders in our province and country as a whole…”

Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta

The laureates will each receive a handcrafted medal, a $30,000 award and a two-week residency at the Banff Centre’s Leighton Artist Studios. The awards patron, the Honourable Salma Lakhani Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, will present the awards at a celebration hosted by the Community of Lac La Biche and Portage College, Lac La Biche campus, at an awards event June 10 and 11, 2022.

The awards are funded through an endowment established with private donations and gifts from the Province of Alberta and Government of Canada. The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta serves as honorary patron of the awards. Since its inception, 23 Distinguished Artists and 63 Emerging Artists have been recognized across Alberta with this significant honour. See details at artsawards.ca

The 2021 Distinguished Artists were chosen from nominations received and reviewed by a jury of experts overseen by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Jurors for the 2021 Distinguished Artist Awards were Mary-Beth Laviolette, visual arts curator and author; John Estacio, 2017 Distinguished Artist and JUNO nominated composer; Seika Boye, scholar, writer, artist and Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies; Jordan Abel, Nisga’a writer from Vancouver and Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta teaching Indigenous Literatures and Creative Writing.

Click to learn more about the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation.

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Alberta

Alberta politician hosts sold-out conference on COVID jab harms with Drs. Trozzi, Bridle

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Calgary-Lougheed MLA Eric Bouchard                                                                                                  Alberta Politics / YouTube

From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

The ‘Injection of Truth’ event organized by MLA Eric Bouchard included well-known speakers critical of COVID mandates, including Dr. Byram Bridle, Dr. William Makis, canceled doctor Mark Trozzi and pediatric neurologist Eric Payne.

An event hosted by a newly elected member of Alberta’s legislative assembly, which featured prominent doctors and experts speaking out against COVID vaccines and mandates, sold out in Calgary this week

Dubbed “An Injection of Truth,” the event took place on June 18 in Calgary and was hosted by the Calgary-Lougheed Constituency Association of the United Conservative Party president Darrell Komick and MLA Eric Bouchard. 

The event was geared around the question, “What’s scientifically different today than 2020? And why are an excess number of Alberta’s children dying?”  

“Many doctors and medical experts are saying that the COVID mRNA shots that began use in 2021 in Alberta are unsafe and ineffective for children. An Injection of Truth Town Hall is hosting world-class experts to present the medical and scientific case for stopping COVID mRNA injections in children,” the event’s website noted.  

The “Injection of Truth” event included well-known speakers critical of COVID mandates and the shots, including Dr. Byram BridleDr. William Makis, canceled doctor Mark Trozzi and pediatric neurologist Eric Payne. 

Bridle, who has been reported on by LifeSiteNews extensively, is an Ontario virologist, vaccinologist, immunologist, and associate professor of viral immunology in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph. He is critical of the COVID shots and said at the event that all his concerns regarding the COVID shots have been “repeatedly proven correct by scientific data.”  

“COVID is less dangerous than the flu for children,” he said.  

He noted how research shows “multi-dosing with lipid nanoparticles” that the mRNA jabs use “is dangerous,” explaining how years ago this was the reason the use of lipid nanoparticles was “abandoned” by Big Pharma except for a “few” who “clung onto it.” 

“It was supposed to be a one-and-done technology, not 10 doses,” he said.  

Payne noted that when it comes to public health officials, it seems “they’re trying to pretend they never said these things” because the “lies are coming down from the very top.”  

Payne observed that he knows of not one healthy child who died from COVID, even though the government messaging was that kids as young as six months old should get the shot.  

He noted that when it comes to the COVID shots, they are not even “vaccines.” 

“To call these things vaccines, it’s just not the truth,” he said, referring to them as an experimental drug based on mRNA technology. 

Payne and four other Alberta doctors launched a lawsuit against Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) mandatory workplace COVID jab policy in October 2021. 

Trozzi, who was stripped of his medical license by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for speaking out against the COVID shots and was a guest speaker at the LifeSiteNews 2023 general meeting, observed that the COVID crisis would have been over sooner if everyone just lived their normal lives. 

He said all that was needed was for the vulnerable to be isolated and that it was important kids were exposed to the virus to build immunity. He observed how mortality rates for kids were already on the rise before the COVID shots came out due to isolation causing damage to their immune systems. 

The COVID shots were heavily promoted by the federal government as well as all provincial governments in Canada, with the Alberta government under former Premier Jason Kenney being no exception. 

The mRNA shots themselves have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children. 

As for AHS, it still is promoting the COVID shots for babies as young as six months old, as recently reported by LifeSiteNews.   

The full event has now been posted to YouTube and is available for all to watch freely.  

Conversation about COVID jabs ‘should have happened four years ago,’ says politician   

MLA Eric Bouchard spoke with LifeSiteNews about the “Injection of Truth” event, saying that open discussion about the COVID injections is a conversation that “should have happened” four years ago.

He noted that the speakers invited to the event all “presented their own data, factual peer-reviewed data,” and that “they were all canceled” in some way for simply asking questions. 

Bouchard said that his event had the full support of his local constituency board. 

“They voted 22-1 to championing the Town Hall,” he said, which was attended by UPC president Rod Smith.  

Bouchard noted that he did have pushback from the “mainstream media” over the event, but the decision to host the conference never wavered.

Bouchard said that despite being invited to the event as well as a press conference, members of the mainstream media failed to show up, which he says shows how one-sided they were and still are in relation to asking hard questions about COVID jabs and mandates. 

Bouchard became a first-time UCP MLA in 2023 after an election that saw UCP leader Danielle Smith elected as premier of the province on a pro-freedom and pro-business platform. Smith’s election followed the resignation of Premier Jason Kenney, who suffered low approval ratings after implementing a number of COVID-related mandates, including lockdowns.

Ironically, Bouchard is now the MLA representing the same riding Kenney represented until stepping down as party leader. Bouchard is a former restaurant owner who was forced to close in part because of the Kenney-mandated COVID lockdowns.

Bouchard, as reported by LifeSiteNews earlier this year, has praised the anti-mandate Freedom Convoy protesters for standing up for what “was right.”

Under Kenney, thousands of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare and government workers lost their jobs for choosing to not get the jabs, leading Smith to say – only minutes after being sworn in – that over the past year the “unvaccinated” were the “most discriminated against” group of people in her lifetime.  

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Alberta

Alberta parents want balance—not bias—in the classroom

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From the Fraser Institute

By Tegan Hill and Paige MacPherson

74 per cent of parents in Alberta believe teachers should present both sides of controversial issues (e.g. sexuality/gender, climate change) or avoid them entirely.

With the Alberta government set to test its new draft social studies curriculum in September, a new poll reveals a clear consensus: Alberta parents of K-12 children want schools to provide balance—not bias—in the classroom. And when it comes to controversial material in schools, they want to make their own choices for their children.

Specifically, the poll (conducted by Leger and commissioned by the Fraser Institute) found that 88 per cent of Alberta parents (with kids in public and independent schools) believe teachers and the provincial curriculum should focus on facts—not teacher interpretations of those facts, which may include opinions. Only 10 per cent of Alberta parents disagreed.

Moreover, despite ongoing debates in the media and among activists about K-12 school policies, curriculum development, controversial issues in the classroom and parental involvement, according to the poll, the vast majority of parents agree on how schools should handle these issues.

For example, 74 per cent of parents in Alberta believe teachers should present both sides of controversial issues (e.g. sexuality/gender, climate change) or avoid them entirely.

An overwhelming majority of Alberta parents (86 per cent) believe schools should provide advance notice when controversial topics will be discussed in class or during formal school activities. This isn’t surprising—many parents may want to discuss these issues with their children in advance.

In fact, when controversial topics arise, about three quarters (73 per cent) of Alberta parents believe parents should have the right to remove their children from those lessons without consequence to their children’s grades. Of the minority who do not believe parents should have this right, most said “children need to learn about all topics/viewpoints, regardless of their parents’ bias.”

And almost nine in 10 Alberta parents (89 per cent) believe classroom materials and conversations about potentially controversial topics should always be age appropriate.

These polling results should help inform provincial and school-level policies around parental information, consent, school curricula and teacher curriculum guides. For instance, given that parents overwhelmingly favour facts in classrooms, curriculum guides should require the teaching of specific details (e.g. the key players, dates and context of specific historical events). Currently, teachers are allowed to interpret events based on their opinions, which means students may hear completely different interpretations depending on the particular teacher.

While the preferences of parents with kids in K-12 schools are often presented as contentious in media and politics, polling data shows a clear consensus. Parents overwhelmingly value balance, not bias. They want their kids taught age-appropriate facts rather than opinions. And they expect prior notice before anything controversial happens in their kids’ schools. According to most parents in Alberta, none of these opinions are controversial.

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