Flags were lowered on Thursday February 12 in Regina and Ottawa as Canada mourned the deaths of four prominent artists in a horrific car wreck two days earlier.
Michele Sereda, 49, a co-founder and artistic director of the experimental theater company Curtain Razors; dancer and powwow instructor Lacy Morin-Desjarlais, 29, Saulteaux and Métis, of Regina; Michael Green, 58, of Calgary, a co-founder of the theater company One Yellow Rabbit, and Blackfoot elder Narcisse Blood, 60, Kainai First Nation, were riding together on their way to Piapot First Nation when the Subaru Outback driven by Sereda collided with a truck driven by Morley Hartenberger, 59, who also died.
The four had been heading to speak to students at Payepot School, where Sereda had taught for five years, and where now there are grief counselors on hand, CBC News reported.
Blood and Green had worked together on Making Treaty 7, a multifaceted theatrical performance that retells the story of the founding of southern Alberta by including the First Nations perspective into a cornucopia of aboriginal and non-Native musicians, dancers, poets and other performers, according to its website, which mourned their passing.
“The board and staff of Making Treaty 7 are deeply mourning today the tragic loss of Elk Shadow/Pona Ko’taksi, also known as Michael Green, and Middle Bull/Tatsikiistamik, also known as Narcisse Blood,” Making Treaty 7 said in a statement. “Elk Shadow was the founder and visionary behind the Making Treaty 7 project. We celebrate today his commitment to a shared belief that ‘We are all Treaty people.’ We are committed to ensuring that his spirit will live on. Elk Shadow, One of Long Vision, had no boundaries and could not see color. He was an inspiration to everyone he touched.”
Likewise the University of Regina, where Sereda and Morin-Desjarlais had deep ties, expressed grief and condolences.
"Lacy and Michele were fantastic role models for our students and were dedicated to working with First Nations communities," said University Dean of Fine Arts Rae Staseson in a statement. "Michele’s energy and vision touched everyone she worked in our faculty and we are very proud of her accomplishments. She was a regular visitor in our Faculty with many collaborations and projects on the go.”
Morin-Desjarlais had recently performed in the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company's Rez Christmas show as well as teaching at the university. Her powwow class has been canceled for the term because of her death, the university said.
"As we begin to mourn Lacy's death, we echo the sentiments of many in saying that Lacy was a bright light in the arts community and we will miss her,” said conservatory program coordinator Christa Eidsness in the school's statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Lacy's family and friends."