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Making Treaty 7 founding member Troy Emery Twigg dies

Troy Emery Twigg, one of the founding members of Making Treaty 7, has died.

The Calgary theatre company, which recently received 20 nominations from Calgary theatre critics for its most recent season of work, made the announcement on Instagram Friday.

“It is with heavy hearts that Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society acknowledges the passing of our friend, colleague, brother, alumni, founding member and past Artistic Director, Troy Emery Twigg,” it said.

“A proud member of the Kainai Nation, Troy grew up in southern Alberta. He knew from a young age that he was meant to be a dancer. So, he left the reserve and moved to Toronto.”

Twigg told Barb Livingstone he was bullied in high school. “I was a two-spirited, weird kid,” he said, in a Calgary Herald profile after he was named a Compelling Calgarian in 2020.

He received a fine arts degree from the University of Lethbridge and master’s in dance studies from York University in Toronto, before returning to Calgary in 2012 to help Michael Green and Narcisse Blood start Making Treaty 7.

Both Green and Blood died in a 2015 car crash in rural Saskatchewan.

Some of Twigg’s work that toured nationally and internationally included Iitahpoyii; They Shoot Buffalo, Don’t They?; Dancing The Universe in Flux; Pulse; and Static.

In 2018, Twigg performed in Making Treaty 7’s production of Okotoks by Justin Many Fingers at the Jubilee in Calgary, among many other MT7 productions he performed in, and the touring version of Omari Newton’s Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy produced by Vancouver’s Urban Ink Productions.

Twigg also taught courses on Indigenous performing arts at the University of Lethbridge, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Centre for Indigenous Theatre and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

“An accomplished dancer, director, choreographer and actor, Troy was known for mentoring and propelling forward many young Indigenous arts careers. He was always encouraging fellow Nitsitipii to follow their dreams and reach for the stars! ⭐,” the Making Treaty 7 Instagram post said.

Troy Emery Twigg (Photo courtesy Blaire Russell Photography/FacebookDanceCollectionDanse)

“Troy was not only essential to the beginnings of Making Treaty 7, he was instrumental in bringing together the original cast. He introduced Michael Green to the right Elders (including Narcisse Blood) and prepared him to be able to properly attain their needed support. Troy was the bridge that brought our company to the Blackfoot people, and to the communities. We would not be where we are without his talent and generosity.”

Making Treaty 7 artistic director Michelle Thrush posted a photo of Twigg and reflected on his passing on her Instagram page Thursday night.

“You had this gift of bringing people together to create, so many people, so many projects and visions,” she wrote.”You were a collaborator, a comedic instigator, and a movement orchestrator. You carried vision, a true Nitsitipi artist whose gift was bringing people together to create.

“Like Michael and Narcisse, like how you introduced those two souls – and from that union, Making Treaty 7 was born.

“You had no idea of the magic you wielded, no idea,” she continued. “We are all grateful for what you created. It was all you wanted to do was create. Have affect on this world through story and dance.

Troy Emery Twigg, Making Treaty 7 (Photo: MT7)
“You carried a lot in your journey my friend. You made a difference. You used your art to affect all of us and you made a difference in this world. I’m truly glad our paths crossed. Say ‘oki’ to them all when you get there.”

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