By Randolph Lewis
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Additional resources for Alanis Obomsawin: The Vision of a Native Filmmaker
Although popular culture had for centuries romanticized the raid, the young Obomsawin also knew the tale from another source, Théophile Panadis, a living link to the historical event. Abenakis who were alive at the time of the raid has passed their stories to Panadis’s grandmother (born in 1830), who then passed them to Panadis and he, eventually, to young Obomsawin. ”32 In this sense, only three long generations—in fact, just three human voices—separated Obomsawin from a searing event in the mid-eighteenth century, which may explain why it seems so alive in her music.
Odanak was not gone forever, not in 1759, and not for young Obomsawin, although the world of her childhood was shaken by violence and loss. Soon after her father’s death, she endured another traumatic experience that would affect her as much as the absence of her parent. “I remember the exact change,” she says, thinking back almost six decades to the beginning of her dark times at Three Rivers. 0pt P ——— Normal P PgEnds: , (14 ABENAKI BEGINNINGS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 started school late, she was the tallest in her class but was beaten up almost every day.
Born in 1934, just two years after Obomsawin, into a traditional Jewish family in Montreal, Cohen had gone to prestigious McGill University, formed a county-western band called the Buckskin Boys, and then won major awards for his poetry and prose with works carrying titles such as Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956) and Flowers for Hitler (1964). A glamorously brooding ﬁgure often seen in a cape and beret, Cohen was intertwined with half of Montreal’s sizable milieu of artists and intellectuals, earning a reputation as a “lover of women and eternal hipster .