Mary Two Axe Early to get star treatment in Kahnawake as part of film fest

By Marc Lalonde

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A Kahnawake icon will be brought to the big screen by a Kahnawake filmmaker as part of the International First Peoples Festival next week with a screening to be held in Kahnawake next week.

Mary Two-Axe Early: I Am Indian Again, which is directed by Kahnawake community member Courtney Montour,- is one of five short films funded by the National Film Board of Canada to be featured at the festival, and one of the festival screenings will be held right here in Kahnawake August 15 at the Legion Hall at 6 p.m.

The Early film, which has won a handful of awards already _ including Best Documentary Short at imagineNATIVE, Best Documentary Short at the American Indian Film Festival, and Best Director at the Weengushk International Film Festival, will tell the story of the Kahnawake icon, who fought for more than two decades to challenge sex discrimination against First Nations women embedded in Canada’s Indian Act, and became a key figure in Canada’s women’s rights movement, fighting for Mohawk woman who challenged sexist and genocidal government policies that stripped First Nations women and children of their Indian status when they married non-Indian men.


Montour speaks with Cree activist Nellie Carlson, Mary’s lifelong friend and co-founder of Indian Rights for Indian Women, and meets with three generations in Mary’s kitchen in Kahnawake to honour the legacy of a woman who galvanized a national network of allies to help restore Indian status to thousands of First Nations women and children. In the film, Montour uses never-before-seen archival footage and audio recordings, as she engages in a deeply personal conversation with the late Kahnawake legend.

The festival will run from August 9 to 18, with another film to be screened in Kahnawake August 15 at 1:15 p.m., also at the Legion Hall. Bill Reid Remembers is the story of the late renowned Haida artist Bill Reid, who despite spending his early life away from his nation’s culture, always kept Haida Gwaii close to his heart. While working for CBC Radio, he started learning how to make jewelry, then later sculpture, using Haida techniques and images, a move that would forever change his life and the Canadian artistic landscape.

The film is a beautiful tribute from Alanis Obomsawin to her friend’s remarkable life and rich legacy.

For ticketing information and for more information on the entire International First Peoples Festival lineup, visit


 Marc Lalonde is a  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter who works out of the

IORI:WASE.  The LJI program is federally funded. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.

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