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“The other world: the Haweaters”, conference by Giovanni Capriotti



“The other world: the Haweaters”, conference by Giovanni Capriotti

As part of the conference program "Altri Orienti, altri Occidenti", the Italian Cultural Institute and the Language department, Literature and Italian-Cultural Studies of McGill University are pleased to present : "The other world: the Haweaters" conference by Giovanni Capriotti.

Wednesday November 13, 2019, 5pm
McGill University
Bronfman Building, Room 210
1001 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal
Conference in English

When the first European settlers reached Manitoulin Island in the mid-1600s they found a rugged inhospitable environment covered by dense forests and lashed by severe winters. According to oral histories, the Indigenous elders advised the visitors to consume hawberries, a local low bush fruit, to prevent scurvy. To this day, the non-Indigenous people born on the island carry the “Haweater” nickname. Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater island in the world, sitting just off Lake Huron’s northern shore. In the Ojibway language Mnidoo Mnising means “Spirit Island.” Its land is sacred to the “People of the Three Fires”. After the war of 1812, in which several Indigenous nations fought the American invaders alongside the British army, the colonial government declared Manitoulin an insular Aboriginal refuge. The demand for land for settlers eventually cut the romantic plan off, paving the way for colonization. The development of Manitoulin Island depicts, on a smaller scale, the colonial history of Canada – with Indigenous people outnumbered by settlers and caught between the Protestant and Roman Catholic push for dominance in the new world, then lured into signing questionable treaties upon which the Canadian Federation still relies.

Today, Manitoulin Island is one of a few places in Canada where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people coexist on the same land. Of the 15,000 people living there, roughly 39 per cent are Aboriginal by status. Historically fraught, the relationship between the two groups is still affected by such fresh wounds as the Indian Act and Indian Residential schools. However, alienation, lack of employment and small-town boredom bear the same impact on all the islanders. Everybody loves Manitoulin, but everybody leaves at some point and returns at another, while life keeps flowing in the inevitability of compromise. I conceived of “The Haweaters” as the first chapter of a larger project called “Forever on the Fringe,” which aims to examine both Indigenous and colonial societies’ relationship with the land. In “The Haweaters” the focus is on the impact of religion, forced “sedentarization,” rurality and cultural identity within colonialism and its modern forms.

Giovanni Capriotti is an independent documentary photographer and videographer pursuing long-form visual narratives with a focus on unique and intimate stories exposing how time and inevitability of compromise affect individuals, communities, history and the human condition. In addition to his documentary practices, Giovanni deals with brand visual journalism as a Multimedia Image/Video Producer at the University of Guelph-Humber, and continues to accept commissions. He is on the Advisory Board of the Loyalist College Photojournalism Program and runs photography workshops, lectures and talks. Among several accolades that his work has earned him, Giovanni’s long-term project “Boys Will Be Boys” gained 1st Place Sport Stories at the 2017 World Press Photo, while recently ISMEO (Associazione Internazionale di Studi sul Mediterraneo e l’Oriente), awarded him a grant to follow the footprints of its former president and early Tibet explorer Giuseppe Tucci. Giovanni’s projects have been shown in exhibitions and installations at venues around the world, including the World Press Photo Foundation, Contact Photography Festival Toronto, NPAC, Italian Institute of Culture Montreal, DDProject Trieste, Tokyo International Foto Awards, IGR Bingham Cup Amsterdam 2018, PX3 - Prix De La Photographie Paris. WoPZines, an indie publishing house, is his latest ambitious endeavor.


Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Time: At 5:00 pm

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Montréal

In collaboration with : épartement des langues, littératures et cultures -

Entrance : Free


McGill University Department of Languages, Literat