The play/film

 'FrontRunners' by local author to receive honours

November 16, 2014


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Leading up to the Pan Am Games to be held in Toronto in 2015, Laura Robinson's play 'FrontRunners' that focuses on aboriginal runners and their 800 km journey with the 1967 Pan Am Games torch is about to gain further recognition and honours.

The play FrontRunners: Niigaanibatowaad was written in 2000 by Robinson when she was writer in residence at the University of Calgary and was later adapted to film in 2007 with the Aboriginal People's Television Network.

Nine out of ten of the runners came from residential school and have become heroes for many who suffer from the shadows the residential school era continues to cast. Robinson dedicated the play to the archives of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Edmonton this year where one mention of the runners brought great applause.

The play toured in Southern Ontario and Scandinavia in 2005 in universities across Canada. The film has also been used by the United, Anglican and Presbyterian churches in  their work towards righting relations in congregations on issues of race and residential school. 
The runners are returning to Toronto to be honoured at Osgoode Hall by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Mississauga of New Credit.



The Story


In 1967 ten First Nation boys--all good runners and students--successfully ran 800 km with the Pan Am Games torch from St. Paul, Minnesota to Winnipeg only to not be allowed into the stadium. They had to give the torch to a white runner. In 1999 Winnipeg hosted the Pan Am Games again, realized what had happened, tracked down the original runners, apologized and 32-years later, the runners finished the journey and brought the torch in. 

FrontRunners: Niigaanibatowaad is the story of those runners from residential school. It is a story that revisits memories--horrible memories and wonderful ones. It is about the resilience of First Nation people and what it means to be a runner and a bearer of fire. Ultimately, this film is about truth, reconciliation and creating a future for First Nation youth. Meet three of the original 1967 torchrunners. This is not a film for children.



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In honour of the occasion several screenings will be held...

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20: 7:00 pm, OISE, Room 2-212, 252 Bloor St W, Toronto


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21: 7:30 pm, St. Mathias Anglican Church, 171 Kortright Rd. Guelph

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22: 4:30 pm, Saugeen Wesley United Church, Hwy 21 by the Amphitheatre, Saugeen First Nation

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23: 1:00 pm, Nawash United Church, by the Community Centre, Chippewa of Nawash First Nation

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25: 7:00 pm,

Temple Sinai, 210 Wilson Ave, Toronto

All screenings are free/by donation. For more information: laura.robinson@sympatico.ca

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Monday, November 17, 2014