The Basques: Rurality, Resistance, Resilience

Documentarians Julien Gagnon-Rouillard and Robert Majewski explore different facets of rural life by documenting alternative projects taking root in the Basques of the Bas-Saint-Laurent region.

Coproduced by Julien Gagnon-Rouillard and Robert Majewski

Posted January 21, 2021

Our project is a documentary experience with two facets: it is the conjuncture or an interactive documentary and a nomadic documentary installation that will be presented through Quebec and Canada in 2021–2022. We aim to explore the different facets of rural living through the documentation of alternative projects taking place in the Basques region in Bas-Saint-Laurent.

Through our documentation of initiatives such as organic farms, cooperative cultural projects, collective housing and the historical and social factors that paved the way for these projects, we intend to show how grassroots organization and alternative entrepreneurship can lead to an original response to the crisis we face collectively, might it be economic, ecological or social. To paint a full picture of the region, we also trace the past of the sites and people that colour the area.

Beginning in 2021, we will share aspects of our work through video and other multimedia here on Canada’s History as we progress to our project's completion.

Watch the whole series

The Basques: Embracing Rurality

In this introduction to the documentary “The Basques : Rurality, Resistance, Resilience,” several members of the community — including Soraïda Caron, Wina Forget, and Nicolas Falicimaigne — offer their reasons for moving into a rural area.

The Basques: Returning to the Land

In this interview with Maurice Vaney, back-to-the-lander, city councillor and important actor in the local cultural scene, we compare how things were in Trois-Pistoles back in 1974 with how they play out today.

The Basques: Taking Part in Culture

In the past 60 years, the Quebec region of Les Basques has had a strong relationship with the arts.

The Basques: Protecting the Land

The Basques community is known for its activism around social and environmental issues.

The Basques: Retracing History

The regional county municipality of the Basques is located in Mi’kma’ki and Wolastokuk territory, in the heart of the Wabanaki confederation.

The Basques : Telling the Tale

Gabrielle Ayotte Garneau carries on the Basque storytelling tradition with a legend that has thrilled her neighbours for decades.

Julien Gagnon-Rouillard

An interdisciplinary artist interested both in visual arts as well as pedagogy and activism, a position from which Gagnon-Rouillard questions individual and collective responsibilities, and also the extent — or sometimes the absence — of the communal power to act. He is completing the final year of his MA in visual arts at UQAM. His current research explores alternative economic structures, particularly in how they can be tested in the context of a social practice of art through the exploration of the concepts of degrowth, resilience, conviviality and radical ruralism. Visit Julien Gagnon-Rouillard's website

Robert Majewski

A photojournalist based in Trois-Pistoles, Québec, Majewski spent his childhood years between Québec and Poland. Studying anthropology ignited his interest in documenting how humans live, how they express culture and how they interact with one another. Through photo and video projects, he aims to address current and pressing social issues, resisting the oppressions forced upon them. Majewski is presently completing an MA in journalism at Concordia university. His research concentrates on alternative journalism models that explore ways to produce news stories that give more agency to the audience and that offer solutions to problems by reporting on acts of resilience. Visit Robert Majewski’s website

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