By Santee Smith / Kaha:wi Dance Theatre

“The Mush Hole is a story about hope and finding light in dark places, as much as it speaks to intergenerational trauma, it screams resilience. Every single element represented on stage comes from survivors sharing their experiences with us.” – Santee Smith

Premiere Cast: Semiah Smith, Montana Summers, Julianne Blackbird. Photo credit: Ian R. Maracle

The Mohawk Institute a.k.a. The Mush Hole

The Mohawk Institute is the oldest residential school in Canada, after which all others were modelled. Operated in Brantford, Ontario from 1828 to 1970, it served as an Industrial boarding school for First Nations children from Six Nations, as well as other communities throughout Ontario and Quebec. It served as a key tool in the effort to assimilate First Nations children into European Christian society, and sever the continuity of culture from parent to child, leaving a legacy of trauma. After closing in 1970, it reopened in 1972 as the Woodland Cultural Centre.

Production Credits:

Creator/Producer/Director/Performer: Santee Smith, Tour remount: Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Toronto presentation: Young People’s Theatre, Advisors: Geronimo Henry, Thohahoken Michael Doxtater, Roberta Hill, Performers: Jonathan Fisher, Julianne Blackbird, Montana Summers, Raelyn Metcalfe, Composition/Arrangement: Jesse Zubot, Additional Composition: Adrian Dion Harjo, Songs: “Find My May”, commissioned remix by Nick Sherman; “The Storm” by Iskwe; “I Saw The Light” by Hank Williams; “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” by Patsy Cline; “T’will be Glory”, Martin Family Singers from the album “Kaha:wi”, Video Tech/Director: Ryan Webber, Set/Original Lighting Designer: Andy Moro, Costume Designer: Adriana Fulop, Set Construction: Great Lakes Scenic Studios, Production Support/Videographer: Shane Powless, Production Tour Manager/Tour Lighting Designer: Evan Sandham, Stage Manager: Kennedy Brooks, Voice-over: Rob Lamothe, Additional Costumes: Leigh Smith

Production Support: Woodland Cultural Centre, Thru the RedDoor, Art Gallery of Guelph, The Socrates Project – McMaster University

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