The Gauhati High Court on Monday asked Assam’s Chief Wildlife Warden Ranjana Gupta whether she had taken note of a 2016 Supreme Court order against transfer of elephants while clearing the transit of four juvenile elephants to Gujarat for a religious event.Hearing separate petitions filed by Kerala-born Canadian Sangita Iyer and Guwahati-based NGO Avinava Prayash, a division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice Manish Choudhury sought clarification from the Centre with regard to the operation of the apex court’s interim order in 2016 prohibiting transfer of elephants outside a State by their possessors.The Bench also asked Ms. Gupta to clarify whether she had taken note of the Supreme Court’s interim order when she authorised on June 12 the transit of the elephants to Ahmedabad’s Jagannath Temple for a Rath Yatra on July 4.The oldest of the four elephants — females Joytara and Rani, and males Babulal and Rupsing — is nine years old. ‘Will not survive trip’Wildlife activists had argued that these juvenile elephants would not survive the heatwave while travelling in a metal railway wagon 3,106 km from eastern Assam’s Tinsukia to Ahmedabad.Noting that the railways too had sought clarification on the Supreme Court’s interim order before transporting the elephants, the Bench referred to the March 8 letter of the Project Elephant Division of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change seeking legal steps for the “welfare of the captive elephants, etc., and strict monitoring” to prevent illegal transport of elephants between States.The petitioners’ counsel Bhaskar Dev Konwar, argued that the elephants would face adverse climatic conditions during their train journey to Gujarat.He also pointed out that unlike Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Assam has not framed rules for management and maintenance of captive elephants under Section 64(2) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. He also contended that none of the elephants sent outside Assam on temporary leases have returned till date. The case is scheduled to come up for hearing again on Tuesday.
Advertisement Advertisement Podemski has since produced various projects — from the TV show Moccasin Flats to the film Empire of Dirt and the upcoming doc series Future History — while continuing her acting career, and mentoring and training other Indigenous artists.Her body of work as well as her advocacy will be recognized Saturday as she receives an Award of Excellence at the ACTRA Awards in Toronto.While Podemski said she’s encouraged by the opportunities arising for Indigenous actors and storytellers in Canada these days — with the creation of the Indigenous Screen Office and various government initiatives — she feels there’s more work to be done.“I flip-flop between being super encouraged and inspired, and devastated and frustrated at the state of affairs when it comes to Indigenous stories, and how the mainstream is opening its doors or not opening its doors to the storytellers,” said Podemski, whose film credits include a starring role in Bruce McDonald’s Dance Me Outside.“I’ve been a producer for 20 years and if I was to look back at 20 years, yeah, things are easier today for me. But they’re not as easy as I thought they would be, with the amount of experience that I have.“The similarity that I make often is, ‘Wherever the women’s movement is, the Indigenous movement seems to be behind it.’”Podemski adds that she can relate to the current conversations around female representation in the screen industry.“That’s super important,” she said, “but the parallel story to that is that there is an entire community left out of the storytelling fabric of this entire country and it’s the people, the many, many nations that were here, that are from here.”Podemski has been acting and performing onstage since elementary school. In the late ’90s, she opened her first production company, Big Soul Productions, with Laura Milliken.The company produced projects including the TV series The Seventh Generation and Moccasin Flats.The Seventh Generation, which aired on APTN, was a way to combat “shame in our community,” and tell uplifting stories of triumph and those who overcame the odds, Podemski said.But they had trouble getting funding and had to create financial sponsorships around specific episodes.“At the time, we had a couple of thousand dollars per episode to make the show from a licence fee from APTN and we tried to pitch it to every single network in Canada,” Podemski recalled.“There were two things that we heard; one was, ‘Don’t you have your own network?’ and the other one was, ‘We did a native story last year.’”In 2005, Podemski started her own production company, Redcloud Studios Inc. Her upcoming Future History is about the reclamation of Indigenous knowledge through the eyes of two hosts.“As an actor, I want producers and network executives and writers to know that you don’t have to have a native storyline just to hire a native actor, but why is that such a deeply cemented reality for us?” said Podemski, whose recent acting credits include the series Hard Rock Medical, Cardinal and Private Eyes.“So if I had one wish that I could have (it would be to) just make everyone forget that somehow they had to construct often inaccurate storylines just to get that native storyline in there; we could play lots of different characters.“And then on the producing side, the content-creating side, I would say there is so much potential to create realities for Indigenous characters that are beyond expectation, and whether that’s in the sci-fi realm or the horror realm or comedy, romance, all these different genres.”VICTORIA AHEARN – The Canadian Press Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment About 20 years ago, Toronto-born screen star Jennifer Podemski was growing frustrated with a lack of work for Indigenous actors and storytellers such as herself. She took matters into her own hands by becoming a producer.“It was this mounting frustration and anger around the inequity, I suppose,” Podemski, who is of mixed First Nations and Israeli descent, said in a recent phone interview.“I specifically was frustrated with how native people and native stories were so far behind in terms of relevance and how often we saw them.” Login/Register With: Twitter Advertisement Actress Jennifer Podemski, who is of mixed First Nations and Israeli descent, started her own production company after becoming frustrated with the lack of work for Indigenous actors and storytellers. (MARTA IWANEK / THE CANADIAN PRESS)