The dual launch of Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair’s Centering Anishinaabeg Studies (UMP) and Al Hunter’s Beautiful Razor: Love Songs and Other Lies (Kegedonce Press) on April 10 at McNally Robinsonwill also feature the Winnipeg bluesman.
Billy Joe will be joining Al Hunter. Their collaboration is called Spoken Word & the Blues: Al Hunter with Billy Joe Green.
Also speaking at the event will be CAS contributor Julie Pelletier, Chair and Associate Professor in the Indigenous Studies department at the University of Winnipeg.
See you at McNally’s! (The event is in McNally Robinson’s atrium on Wednesday April 10 at 7:00 pm. Light refreshments will be provided!)
Billy Joe Green
“Way back in the woods, among the evergreens” is where Anishinabe rock & roll guitarist Billy Joe Green ( aka ‘Osawi Kinew of the Anishinabe Aki-ing Territory) first heard the soothing, comforting, thick chords and melodies of his dad’s, David Green’s guitar. Dad sang the country blues standards of Jimmie Rogers, Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and Wilf Carter. Uncle’s Cecil and especially ‘The talking guitar’ of Robert ‘A-Go’ Green, along with brother Richie, helped fuel the fire within the young guitarist.
Billy Joe was then, just in the nick of time, yanked from a dull life of school boy drudgery and incompleteness by his guitar mentor and life-long friend, Martin Tuesday. Still in his teens, he was asked to perform with a fiery group of young Indian musicians who called themselves ‘the FEATHERMEN’. He jumped at the chance and it changed his life forever. He entered the group on second guitar but soon learned all the songs and was quickly exchanging and weaving lead guitar lines with Martin Tuesday. After a struggling 2 year stint with ‘the FEATHERMEN’, Billy Joe armed only with a pair of sunglasses, fake i.d. and a Les Paul Jr., advanced quickly into the ranks of the then flourishing barroom scene, learning how to play and survive the life of a bluesman.
As one of Canada’s premier blues guitar slingers, Billy Joe earned his rambunctious, no frills approach to the guitar honestly, as a rockin’ swaggering sideman for such acts as THE FEATHERMEN, JACK’S SCOUTS, CHEZ BOJECK, WHYTEFEATHER, KID SILVER BAND, WILL JOE TRAVEL EXPEDITION, ALEX PARENTEAU BAND, PERCY TUESDAY, ROBBIE BRASS and countless other than main stream configurations of bluesy, rockin’, high voltage, loud and progressive bands. He’s worked with the drive & passion that would frustrate most musicians throughout western Canada and for a time in the western USA, patiently & diligently trying to find a place for his music. Billy Joe has been described as ‘an incredibly talented, diverse and well-traveled musician’ by John Scoles for SCENE Roots & Blues Magazine, and the description is well-earned.
Three decades later, with a brand new CD/DVD (FIRST LAW OF THE LAND) and 4 other CDs under his belt, 2 JUNO nominations, a 5 win sweep at the 2006 Winnipeg Blues.Com Music Awards, a Best Blues CD Award at the inaugural 2006 Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards, the Best Male Artist at the 2002 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, a Best Aboriginal Recording Award at the 2001 Western Canadian Music Awards and countless other nominations, Billy Joe still pursues his love, passion and devotion for the electric guitar.
Julie A. Pelletier
Dr. Pelletier, descendant of the Wesget Sipu Band, earned her PhD and MA in Cultural Anthropology at Michigan State University. Her dissertation involved applied anthropological research in an Ojibway community in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This research, which focused on tribal identity and its relationship to ceremony and ritual, was funded by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Her interest in tribal identity includes recent research on Indian casino gaming, a site of contestation as essentializing notions about the “Noble Savage” conflict with the new stereotype of the “Rich Indian” who has given up his identity to be a capitalist. Dr. Pelletier is also interested in the economic impact of Indian casinos on surrounding communities and is compiling longitudinal data on perceptions of American Indians in those communities.
As an award-winning teacher, Dr. Pelletier has published on decolonized pedagogy with Dr. Becca Gercken who also helped found the American Indian Studies program at the University of Minnesota – Morris, a former Indian boarding school. Dr. Pelletier has done fieldwork in Aotearoa/New Zealand which influenced her understanding and application of decolonized methodologies, and she has written on the linkages between Indigenous and feminist methodologies with sociologist Dr. Jennifer Rothchild.
Dr. Pelletier is a proponent of education as a tool of empowerment and is excited to facilitate the transition of what has been the Aboriginal Governance Program at the University of Winnipeg to its new status and identity as the Department of Indigenous Studies, offering a BA in Indigenous Studies and an MA in Indigenous Governance. The mission of the department remains the same: to educate Indigenous and non-Indigenous students about the unique place of Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada and around the world by providing a strong grounding in Indigenous policy, cultures, issues, and representations – preparing them to take an active part in the self-determination goals of Indigenous communities.