IMAGE: Christi Belcourt
REPOSTING FROM FACEBOOK (authour Dave Cryderman)
To Barb Kentner,
We’ve never met, but I want to say I am sorry. I’m sorry you had to go through life in a world so hostile to you that it killed you. I am sorry to your family and to your daughter as they live through that as well. I can only hope that death brings you some peace and refuge, and that we can move to see past your victimization to stories of how valuable, loved, and strong you were.
I have been struggling with wanting to say something to you and to the community at large. Something honest, if ugly, and when I heard of your passing the first words to come were an apology.
I wasn’t in that car, and it wasn’t me who threw that hitch, but Brayden Bushby is my responsibility. At one time or another growing up, every white man in this community has known, enabled, turned a blind eye to, or engaged in the sort of behaviour that had Brayden thinking what he was doing was ok. I think about that a lot – about the times I’ve seen, heard, watched and participated while small acts – cumulative acts – of erasure and dehumanization unfold.
The attack you endured and your death has brought so much emotion and energy to the surface in this town. It worries me to see it invested back into a system that never wanted you. A system that killed you. As someone who has benefitted from this “business as usual” system my whole life, I feel I need to be honest about the world that Brayden and I were made in and the nature of our abusive relationship to you:
The “justice system” was never meant to serve you or your family. It was designed to serve Brayden and I, and to criminalize you for the ways in which you survive, and cope. Yet we expect it to be different, to change, to reform.
The police were never designed to serve and protect you. They were designed to protect Brayden and I from you when you stand up and resist. Yet we expect them to be different, to change, to reform.
The federal government was never meant to care for you, or to intervene and provide oversight or solutions when justice isn’t done. They’ve been waging war, trying to kill you for 150 years so Brayden and I can live comfortably on your land. They’re my government, not yours, and despite the nice words and recognition they may put out, they will never need you the way they need me. You’ve only ever been in the way, a problem to be dealt with. In that world, where trailer hitches are a solution, we expect them to be different, to change, to reform.
Brayden and I have been in training since we were kids. Singing the national anthem every morning and building identities designed to overwrite your existence and see you as less than human, as savage, as disposable or as something from the past so that we can get our cut of the cash from exploiting your land.
I know you’ve lived this stuff your whole life, but I wonder if a white man has ever been honest with you and told you any of these things directly. I feel like I owe it to you, your family, and to the community, to take responsibility for being honest about our abusive relationship because it will not stop. We’ll keep on killing you and dehumanizing you because that is what we’re built to do. Every appeal to the system that made us to “do something” or “step in” will only serve to further legitimize what is inherently illegitimate, and strengthen the bond of our abusive relationship.
I’m sorry if that’s harsh, but it’s the truth. If we’re ever going to find ways to build healthy relationships as the community moves forward after your loss, we’ll need to start from there.
Rest in Peace Barb.
“We ask that you, your community, and your organization join us to send a loud and clear message to Canada and the world that we will no longer accept the colonial system of dispossession, expropriation, and oppression that Canada has imposed on us for the past 150 years.” ~ REOCCUPATION
A small group of students wanted to put together an action to speak to Canada’s sesquicentennial. On Wednesday night they went up to Parliament Hill to set up a tipi to host people arriving to perform ceremony on the Hill, unceded Algonquin territory, during the Canada 150 Celebrations. Arrests were made, thankfully people were released and the group went into negotiations with the RCMP and other security. Last night they succeeded in moving their tipi onto the Hill. This afternoon the Prime Minister and his wife met with the group that includes the Bawating Water Protectors. This is a monumental event and an important action. Tonight and tomorrow REOCCUPATION will remain on the Hill. Everyone is welcome to come in solidarity. Food, water, and tobacco is being requested.
Join the FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE to keep up to date.
5AM Sunrise Ceremony
2PM Outdoor Panel: ‘Land Dispossession and Legal Technologies’ with Fredrick Stoneypoint, Ojibwe, Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, Student in Sociology & Human Rights and more speakers to be confirmed
7h00PM-9PM Indoor Panel: ‘Cultural Appropriation in Art & Resurgence in Indigenous Art’
with Indigenous artists and curators Cody Purcell, Delilah Saunders, Alex Nahwegahbow, and Victoria Ransom (NOTE: This event takes place at The Origin, 57 Lyndale
5AM Sunrise Ceremony
7AM-4PM All Day Action! Join for Details.
6PM Feast and Debrief for Protectors and Participants. Location to Be Announced on Place.
Interested? Contact the organizers at: TurtleIslandwaterprotector
National Call to Action: https://www.facebook.com/
OTHER WAYS TO OFFER SUPPORT:
DONATE – (etransfer): firstname.lastname@example.org
Making Treaty 7 (www.nac-cna.ca)
Making Treaty 7 on stage at the National Arts Centre for Canada Scene.
Another performance focusing on Indigenous storytelling hits the NAC this week. Making Treaty 7 follows Children of God, a play about the experience of residential school, and the opera Louis Riel, both of which were on stage last week.
From the National Arts Centre:
The Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society explores 140 year later, the historical significance of the events at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877. Their mission is to inspire reconciliation among all treaty peoples and to build bridges of understanding across cultures and generations. (read more…)
Making Treaty 7 is a breathtaking collaboration . . . an incredibly important and moving depiction of the history of Southern Alberta.
CALGARY MAYOR NAHEED NENSHI
WHEN: Tuesday, June, 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm
WHERE: Babs Asper Theatre, National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin Street, Ottawa
The Performance is Pay What You Can and tickets can be purchased here.
“It’s Complicated” artists portraits by Rosalie Favell.
IT’S COMPLICATED – Indigenous artists respond to Canada’s Sesquicentennial.
I have been looking forward to this show ever since I first heard the rumour it was going to be happening! Ottawa is home to a great community of Indigenous artists and as part of the National Arts Centre’s Canada Scene the 007 (Ottawa Ontario 7) will be showing at Central Art Garage, a small but mighty gallery located in Chinatown.
This is not the first show for 007. Artist Barry Ace started the collective as a way to create shows that were not curator focused but driven by the decisions and the desires of the artists.
The Ottawa Ontario 7 (OO7) are a group of Ottawa-based emerging, mid-career, and established artists who have come together as a collective for the sole purpose of presenting new work outside of the established curatorial practice and traditional institution art venues. The collective’s philosophy is unrestricted and provides each artist with the freedom and flexibility to take risks, experiment, or present works that are an extension of their current body of work. (read more…)
This year is the collective’s 5th year anniversary. Over the last 5 years 007 has shown in various venues in Ottawa but also at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto as well as Five Myles Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Each location the artist list changes to include Indigenous artists practicing in that particular city. And at each show new artists are given the role of “special agent.” This year the role goes to Barry Pottle, Joi T. Arcand and Meryl McMaster. The other artists featured:
Joi Arcand, kiyām, neon chanel sign, 40.5 x 18, 2017 (www.centralartgarage.com)
This year’s show is in response to #Canada150. Along with the opening there will be a panel discussion and film screening. The panel “will reflect on the five-year anniversary of the OO7 Collective and Special Agents, including their formation and exhibition history. The artists will also share their personal views and response to Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017 through a poignant discussion on their works of art in the Central Art Garage exhibition It’s Complicated.”
To Indigenous peoples of this land, from coast to coast to coast, 150 years represents a very minuscule passage of time, especially in terms of the longstanding presence and occupation of homeland territories. Yet this seemingly fleeting moment in time is monumental in its impact on Indigenous communities, culture, language, identity, rights, water, and land.
This exhibition by 10 Indigenous artists working in diverse artistic practices offers an alternative perspective to the widely propagated Canada 150 celebrations by revealing timely and poignant aspects of the convoluted historical and contemporary relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. If there is any room for celebration in 2017 from an Indigenous perspective, it is a celebration of survivance, tenacity, and perseverance. It’s a complicated celebration. (read more…)
4 PM PANEL DISCUSSION
The panel will include artists Barry Ace, Howard Adler, Rosalie Favell, Meryl McMaster, Ron Noganosh, Frank Shebageget, and Leo Yerxa.
7-10 PM OPENING
Please join the artists for a sneak preview of the exhibition following the discussion. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, hosted by The Belmont restaurant.
9 PM SCREENING
Special Guest Outdoor Film Screening by Howard Adler (Co-director of Asinabka Film and Media Festival)
The exhibition opening will include a screening of a new film work by Howard Adler at 9:00 p.m.
Join the Facebook Event Page for more info.
Last year the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa announced they would be adding an Indigenous Theatre department to join their already strong English and Théâtre français / French Theatre departments. This decision was announced on “March 24, 2016 when the NAC unveiled details of its Strategic Plan entitled Canada is Our Stage: 2015-2020.”
The NAC, as a national institution, has been a leader in providing programming that serves the diversity of audiences in Canada but they realized they needed to do more.
“When the National Arts Centre first opened in 1969 it reflected the way Canada understood itself at the time, as a bi-cultural and bilingual country,” said Peter A. Herrndorf, the President and CEO of the NAC. “We opened with a French Theatre, English Theatre, Music and Dance Departments. Thankfully that understanding of Canada is changing through the extraordinary work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and through the work of many artists across the country. We are very pleased to be opening the first Indigenous Theatre in the NAC’s history and we look forward to meeting extraordinary candidates from across Canada who will build the new Indigenous Theatre Department.”
Yesterday the NAC announced the name of the new director – Kevin Loring, Nlaka’pamux from the Lytton First Nation. Kevin is no stranger to the NAC. In 2010 Kevin was the NAC Playwright-in-Residence and this past week and half he has been performing at the NAC as part of the cast of the Children of God, a poignant play about the history of residential schools. I had the opportunity to see the performance last week and Kevin’s performance was riveting.
Kevin was also part of the 2012 NAC production of King Lear in the role of Edmund. Outside of his work with the NAC he is also known for his play Where the Blood Mixes which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama in 2009.
Congratulations to NAC for their announcement and to Kevin for his new position as part of this important initiative!
See Kevin perform in Children of God closing this weekend. Performance times as follows:
FRIDAY 7:30 pm
SATURDAY 2 pm Matinee and 7:30 pm
SUNDAY 2 pm Matinee
For tickets and more information click here.
ABOUT CHILDREN OF GOD
From the NAC website:
Children of God is a gorgeous, powerful musical about an Oji-Cree family whose children were taken away to a residential school in Northern Ontario. The story of Rita, a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, Tom and Julia, who never knew she came, pushes toward redemption. Children of God offers a thrilling blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities, celebrating resilience and the power of the Indigenous cultural spirit. Inspired by First Nations music, Payette’s profoundly moving score also includes echoes of provocative Broadway masterpieces such as Fun Home and Next to Normal.
Audience Advisory: Mature themes. Some audience members may find certain scenes disturbing.
Emotional Support Workers are available to provide counseling to audience members who may require it. All are welcome in our support room. Please see an usher for directions.
National Arts Centre. (2017). The NAC Names First Ever Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre [Press release].
National Arts Centre. (2016). The NAC Recruits First Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre [Press release].
A Mennonite-led Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights walks to Ottawa.
Today at 2 pm at the Human Rights Monument Ottawa come to welcome the WALK THE TALK group who arrived from Kitchener (they walked the whole way!) in order to bring attention to the fact that the Government of Canada is still not complying with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as promised. This 600 km trek began at Sterling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener and the Walkers arrived last night at Ottawa Mennonite Church. Many Mennonite churches in Canada have offered their support in solidarity with this issue calling on the Liberal government to follow through on their words to implement the UNDRIP.
Along with the rally there will also be a Teach-In tonight at Ottawa Mennonite Church, 1830 Kilborn Ave.
RALLY FOR BILL C-262
WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2017 @ 2 pm
WHERE: Human Rights Monument (Ottawa City Hall), Elgin Street, Ottawa
WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2017 @ 7-9 pm
WHERE: 1830 Kilborn Avenue, Ottawa
FROM THE WALK THE TALK FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE:
While the pilgrimage is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action (#48, see below) directed to churches and people of faith, all are welcome to attend this rally and subsequent walk through downtown Ottawa, where we will read out key sections of the TRC Calls to Action as well as the UN Declaration.
For too long, too many have spoken fine words of truth and reconciliation, but not matched those fine words with just actions. The pilgrimage, and this final day of activity, are a call to account for political leaders, church leaders, and all segments of Canadian society to meaningfully discuss and then act upon what it means to decolonize a society built on what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission clearly identified as “cultural genocide.”
Please join us to Walk the Talk May 13 with your own signs and banners, in the loving, transformational spirit that builds compassion, connection and community.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action 43, 44, 48 and 49
43. We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
44. We call upon the Government of Canada to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
48. We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a
framework for reconciliation. This would include, but not be limited to, the following commitments:
i. Ensuring that their institutions, policies, programs, and practices comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
ii. Respecting Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination in spiritual matters, including the right to practise, develop, and teach their own spiritual and religious traditions, customs, and ceremonies, consistent with Article 12:1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
iii. Engaging in ongoing public dialogue and actions to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
iv. Issuing a statement no later than March 31, 2016, from all religious denominations and faith groups, as to how they will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
49. We call upon all religious denominations and faith groups who have not already done so to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius.
Tomorrow artist panel with artists Jeff Thomas, Rosalie Favell and filmmaker Isabella-Rose Weetaluktuk speaking on activating the archives.
“The panel of artists includes Onondaga photographer and curator, Jeff Thomas; Métis artist, Rosalie Favell; and Inuk filmmaker, Isabella-Rose Weetaluktuk. All three use archival images in their innovative artistic practice, and will discuss the ways in which they are reclaiming and re-telling their histories and stories. All guests are encouraged to participate in the discussion.”
WHEN: Registration opens @ 9:30 am & panel begins at 10:30 am
WHERE: Library and Archives Canada (Pellan Room 2nd Floor), 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa
FREE Event. Everyone is welcome to attend.
More about Project Naming:
“Project Naming enables Indigenous peoples to engage in the identification of photographs from Library and Archives Canada. LAC hopes that members of the public will share their knowledge. If you know the names of people depicted in our photographs or have information about an activity, event or place, LAC would love to hear from you. The majority of individuals depicted in the images in LAC’s collections were never identified. Many archival descriptions relating to events or activities are absent or have dated information (e.g. place names, band names or terminology). Or information is based on original inscriptions and captions found on the records, and hence reflects the biases and attitudes of non-Aboriginal society at the time.”
Top image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.
Decolonizing and Indigenizing the Fashion Industry.
This panel addresses one of the many places Reconciliation can occur in Canada, even in fashion!
WHEN: Wednesday, February 2 @ 3:10 pm
WHERE: George Vari Engineering & Computing Centre Rm 103, Ryerson University, 245 Church Street, Toronto
- Angela DeMontigny – Métis Fashion Designer
- Sage Paul – Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator
- J’net AyAyQwaYakSheelth – Nuu-chah-nulth Textile Artist, Cedar Bark Weaver, and Indigenous Outreach and Learning Coordinator at the ROM
For the Winter 2017 semester with support from its Aboriginal Education Council, the School of Fashion at Ryerson University developed Aboriginal curricula for its mandatory first year course FSN 223: Fashion Concepts and Theory, instructed by Dr. Ben Barry, Associate Professor of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. A lecture was researched and delivered by Ojibway MA Candidate Riley Kucheran, and a panel event featured Angela DeMontigny, Métis Fashion Designer; Sage Paul, Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator; and J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth, Nuu-chah-nulth Textile Artist, Cedar Bark Weaver, and Indigenous Outreach and Learning Coordinator at the ROM. ‘Fashioning Reconciliation’ is a conversation about Truth & Reconciliation, Cultural Appropriation and Indigenizing the Fashion Industry.
Synaptic City Collection (2012) from Sage Paul website
Denesuline and Saulteaux artist Alex Janvier’s paintings depict vibrant worlds.
I believe we are all given moments in life where if we pause to be still and present we will know that we have witnessed something truly extraordinary. In the expansive space of the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Canada last night, those of us that were there had the opportunity to feel the burden of history momentarily lifted by the presence of someone who has dedicated his body, mind and soul to beauty and to the upholding of his culture.
The crowd that came out was as expansive as the space. NGC Director Marc Mayer said that he had never seen the place so full for any previous opening. The turnout illustrated how well respected this internationally known artist is and affirmed the place that Indigenous artists hold in the consciousness of the Canadian public.
At 81 years of age, Alex Janvier is a living legend. His paintings are vibrant expressions of dark emotions transformed via vivid memories of his culture that stayed located inside him despite being sent away to residential school. He spoke of his memories of women doing quill work and beading and the “special Friday from 2 to 4” where at school the children were given a few hours to paint. “It was the only time I could express what was down deep within and go back to the creator I believe in…go back to the inside of the little boy…where I wasn’t scared.” He went on to say that in his paintings “you will see what I talked about [the experience of residential school] but also the liberation from it.”
He shared these words on the same day as the US celebrate the arrival of the pilgrims on Plymouth Rock. On thanksgiving eve, in the twilight of the night fall, the backdrop of the American Embassy and Canada’s Parliament Hill was lit up and seen through the glass enclosure of the Great Hall. Ministers and MPs came out to express their admiration. An honouring song was sung. Dances performed. The word reconciliation uttered on more than one occasion.
Has Canada arrived at a new place in time? Has something changed? Perhaps reconciliation is less about a future moment to arrive at and more about a process to begin at.
Last night what we witnessed was the spiritual tenacity that comes from thousands of years of culture stretching back farther than the concept of ‘the West.’ Alex has spent his life time tapping into that “source” as he calls it. What he gave to us all was a gift, pointing to an imagined future in these troubled times. “I believe that this moment is meant for all of us to be here.”
If we accepted his gift, we experienced grace – one moment in a lifetime that has the possibility to change us all.
The exhibit runs through until April 17, 2017. More info on the Alex Janvier exhibit here.
Join curator Greg Hill in conversation with Alex Janvier Saturday, November 25 at 2 pm at the National Gallery of Canada. More info on the Facebook Event Page. Admission is FREE for all.
Images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.