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Congress Coffee
215 36 Ave NE #1A, Calgary, AB, T2E 2L4

As part of its ongoing free film screening series, Congress Coffee in Calgary will host a screening of John Ware Reclaimed, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Cheryl Foggo.

John Ware Reclaimed (Cheryl Foggo | 2020 | 1h 12 m)

Is it possible to love someone who died before you were born? Cheryl Foggo believes so. John Ware Reclaimed follows author, playwright, and filmmaker Foggo on her quest to uncover the rich and complex story of John Ware, the iconic and larger-than-life Black cowboy who settled in Alberta prior to the turn of the 20th century. As she researches the many truths of Ware’s life amid the superficial myths and mistellings surrounding him, she recalls her childhood in Calgary, Alberta. She revisits her own experiences of racism, and her family’s pioneer history as part of the 1910 migration to western Canada to escape violence in the southern United States. She also evokes the often-suppressed history of a thriving Black presence in the Canadian west: the Black cowboys, ranchers, labourers, and farmers who lived, worked, and raised families here, including earlier generations of her own family in northern Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Part ode, part eulogy, part mystery, with views of sweeping prairie landscapes and music inspired by John Ware, the film reveals Ware to be a rounded and sometimes enigmatic man, and reaffirms him as a major figure in Albertan—and Canadian—history. Foggo’s archival, genealogical, and archaeological research, and her creative reimagining of John Ware’s life and family, show who he might have been, how he might have lived, and what his legacy means for a version of Canada that often denies its history of anti-Black racism.

Learn more about the film here.

Looking for discussion materials? View the NFB Education study guide here.


Find more information on upcoming screenings on the Congress Coffee website.

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