My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their soul and spirit back."
 

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—Louis Riel
 

Yves Sioui Durand

2017 Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award (Theatre)

Writer, theatre and film director, actor and producer

Writer, director, filmmaker and actor Yves Sioui Durand is a pioneering figure in contemporary Indigenous theatre and the founder of Ondinnok, Quebec’s first French-language Indigenous theatre company. In a career spanning over 32 years, he has become known for his transcultural exploration of the contemporary Indigenous experience through richly allegorical mythology. His artistic creativity updates an age-old cultural legacy for a contemporary audience while respecting ancestral codes, and as an artist, he believes passionately in the reconstruction of Indigenous cultures through art.
 
Born in 1951, Mr. Sioui Durand is a member of the Wendake Huron-Wendat Nation. He has written close to 20 stage plays and directed some 28 productions. From 1985 to 1995, his large-scale outdoor performance, Le porteur des peines du monde (The Sun Raiser), was presented in Canada, Europe and Mexico. Other plays include La conquête de Mexico, a prophetic vision of the fragmentation of Indigenous cultures; Kmùkamch the AsiaindianHamlet the Maliseet, about the tragic search for identity among Indigenous youth; and Rabinal Achi, based on pre-Columbian texts that are among the greatest treasures of Amerindian literature. His latest play, A World that Comes to an End – Lola, addresses the genocide of the Indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego and the racist themes that underlie violence against women.
 
Mr. Sioui Durand has also introduced theatre to Quebec’s remote Indigenous communities. From 1995 to 1998, he coordinated a “theatre of healing” project among the Atikamekw in Manawan, long before truth and reconciliation made the headlines.
 
In 2010, he directed Mesnak, Quebec’s first Indigenous feature-length film, which has been screened at numerous festivals and won awards in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, including those for best film and best direction at the Santa Fe and San Francisco film festivals.
 
In 2004, he partnered with the National Theatre School of Canada to develop Quebec’s first Indigenous theatre training program, and since 2013, has been directing Le printemps autochtone d’art, a biennial, multidisciplinary cultural event. 

Yves Sioui Durand’s awards and distinctions include the Festival TransAmériques Américanité Award, the Bernard Assiniwi Award for lifetime achievement, and the Huron-Wendat Nation Award for lifetime artistic achievement.