Rezolution Pictures’ television series Mohawk Girls was nominated for three awards at 2017 Canadian Screen Awards, one shy of their record four nominations, set in 2016. The nominations didn’t turn into Canadian Screen Award statues at the March 12 nationally televised gala. But being recognized for the second straight year alongside Canada’s best was an honour in itself, said Brittany LeBorgne, a Kahnawake Mohawk who plays the character Zoe on the show.
“It’s a Native show, on a Native network, about Native people, and it was recognized as one of the top five comedy shows in Canada,” said LeBorgne. “We’re telling our own stories and that’s important on so many levels.”
And while Mohawk Girls was the only Indigenous television series nominated for best show in its category, Indigenous actors and projects were recognized throughout. Eric Schweig was nominated for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series, The Pass System was nominated for Best Editing in a Documentary, and Julian Black Antelope was nominated for Best Guest Role in a Dramatic Series. And a feature film called Maliglutit, set in 1913 Nunavut and centred on an Inuit caribou hunter, was nominated for Best Picture alongside Race, the Jesse Owens biopic.
“We were nominated alongside Kim’s Convenience,” said LeBorgne. “To have two of the five shows in the comedy category focused on minorities is telling of how things are changing.”
The show’s nominations were for Best Direction in a Comedy Series (Tracey Deer), Best Writing in Comedy Series (Cynthia Knight), and Best Comedy Series. The trophy for Best Comedy Series went to a new series, Letterkenny, which was the big winner in the TV comedy category.
“The only award Letterkenny didn’t win was for Best Actor and Actress. Best Actress went to Catherine O’Hara from Schitt’s Creek,” said LeBorgne, who was nominated in the category the year prior. “She won the award last year too.”
“I still consider myself a beginner in this industry, even though we’re about to start filming Season 5,” LeBorgne told The Nation. “At the cocktail party before the event, I’m always like, who am I going to see this year? I’ve always been a huge Christopher Plummer fan because of The Sound of Music. So, I was just like, ‘I can’t believe he’s standing next to me.’”
But the real award for the cast, crew and producers is having a blast doing what they love.
“I’m so proud of our show, and of Tracey and Cynthia, and of all the girls. We have such a great time every year and we’ve really become a family. To be recognized as one of the best when we’re having so much fun, is the icing on the cake,” said LeBorgne. “But the nominations say something too. They say our stories as Indigenous people matter and our stories as Indigenous people are important.”