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First Assignment, Gord Downie, Prime Minister Trudeau

I haven’t posted in a few weeks, as things picked up and got busy, really quickly! Here’s why.

On the first week of this month, I got my first assignment with the National Observer, a new up and coming online publication covering news and in-depth reports on under-covered Canadian stories in the area of climate, energy, business, culture and politics. It was exciting in and of itself since photojournalism is what got me into photography to start with.

The assignment was to cover the First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly, I did not really know what I was getting into on that day, but it turned out to be a fairly emotional one. Gord Downie was honoured by the chiefs in a special ceremony and received a spiritual name, Man Who Walks Among the Stars, for his work on advancing the cause of Canada’s First Nations. If that wasn’t emotional on it’s own, the fact that Downie is suffering from incurable brain cancer really drove the tragic element home.

As if this wasn’t enough, Prime Minister Trudeau was also set to speak there. As a matter of fact, he was on stage with Downie. For his speech, he was presented with a gift by young Autumn Peltier, who had prepared a speech but broke down in tears before she could finish it.

Finally, Mike De Souza interviewed Chief Serge Simon of Kanesatake, which yielded some decent portrait. Simon was present at the Oka crisis years ago, when I was 10 years old, and has an awesome perspective on these events, which I only saw through the lens of the young privileged suburban white boy all these years ago.

It was quite the first assignment, and in a sense, it lead busy weeks afterwards, of which I’ll write more about in later posts. But in the meantime, you can read more about the Chiefs Assembly here, and see more images from the day in the gallery below.

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