indigenousnationhoodmovement:

"Sister Round Dance Song (MMIW Honour Song)" - by Nikki Shawana

Honour song dedicated to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Written and performed by Nikki Shawana.

Beautiful.


VIDEO
Mar 24
1:46 pm
21 notes

note to self: on relationships

Relationships are a delicate thing.

The plants teach us this. A seed, a life, will lay dormant in waiting until just the right relationship exists for it to grow. The right amount of water, sunlight, nutrients and pressure has to show up. And then continue to show up, or the plant will sicken. If the relationship is not restored to balance in a finite amount of time, the plant will die, perhaps short of reaching its full potential. Short of using all the gifts it was given it to share with the world.

We have to be careful in our relationships.

Colonial violence surfaces as poison in our thoughts, our words, and our actions, unless we fight it every single moment of every single day. Colonial poison causes sickness by every name. In our most intimate relationships, we spread sickness when we do not create space for the healthy sharing of emotions. We spread sickness when we gossip. We spread sickness when we take to social media as our outlet for expression, rather than having real conversations. When we are not honest. When we are so consumed by our own agendas that we can’t listen. When we project our trauma onto one another. We allow sickness to spread and fester when we are not willing to do the work, the work of fighting back.

Relationships require work.

When we fight sickness in our bodies, our minds, our spirits, and in our relationships, we fight colonial violence. Or, instead of the word “fight”, let’s call it what it really is: self-love. And so we have to find the courage to believe that we are worthy. That we belong. We have to find the courage to do the work of planting, growing, harvesting, and honouring the relationships. In this work, it is kind to ask for help. We are such pitiful beings, there is nothing we can do on our own.

Our bodies are water, our bodies are plant, our bodies are animal, our bodies are spirit. When we feed ourselves with good medicine we give ourselves the strength to do the work. We cannot fill our lives with packaged foods, booze, and television and expect to have the strength to say ‘no’ to a world that only wants to hear ‘yes’.

Relationships are the most precious gifts we have.

It is our responsibility, then, to cleanse ourselves of the heaps of bad medicine that affront us on a daily basis. To sit in silence. To fast. Sweat. Cry. Sing. Cough up grief. Forgive. That’s how we (re)discover that the strength that is already there, it’s how we hear the muffled voices of our ancestors… it’s how we decolonize.

Learn how to love, to really truly love, by fighting for that balance. And in the balance, we nurture life, according to the values and philosophies of our ancestors. And that right there? That is the work of Indigenous resurgence, my friends.


POST
Mar 21
5:08 pm
11 notes

this is what forgiveness looks like.

My kokum told me that as a young girl, her mother gave her strict instructions to never rely on a man for anything. She was raised to know that she had to be able to provide for herself. That is the ethic that led her off reserve, to pursue post-secondary education. That is the ethic, then, that resulted in the loss of her status card, my father’s status card, my status card. That is the ethic that keeps me legally excluded from decision making in my Saulteaux/Cree community, and disconnected from my family’s ancestral land base.

How can I be mad at my grandmother?

In spite of what she was taught to believe at residential school, her mother’s Nehiyaw values didn’t ruin her; they guided her towards choices that helped her to love herself. To help her children to love themselves. Raising us without culture, days away from our traditional territory, meant that we were raised without the fierce colonial violence that she endured in residential school and on reserve. But what she didn’t see, is that keeping our culture hidden and shielding us from Indian Act-imposed borders couldn’t protect us, not fully. Because we were still brown. And we still had to go to school and learn that we were savage. We still had to read in the news that we would most likely end up drunk and incarcerated or prematurely dead. What she didn’t know, because nuns and priests don’t talk about things like blood memory, is that our ancestors would still speak to us when we closed our eyes. When we walked on the land. When we lied awake in bed at six crying, wondering if our dads would ever come home. When our “intergenerational residential school traumas” resurfaced in every intimate relationship we ever tried to have. And our ancestors would speak to us very clearly:

You come from beautiful people. You are loved. You did nothing wrong.

My grandmother was forced to choose from such dismal options, one could hardly say that she had a choice at all. She did the best that she could with the tools that she had. She loved and cared for her children always. There is nothing “less” or “half”or “non” Native about that. Or about our family story. What she couldn’t see, is that those teachings and languages and ceremonies that she thought would hurt us will be what save us. Because our ancestors are alive inside us. Maybe it was too scary for her to imagine, but her strength is what helps me to see it now. And I forgive her.

I forgive her.


POST
Mar 19
11:01 pm
8 notes

"Regarding the law – Canadian law – as it is – is only made by one side – one party. When the newcomers came to our land – they shook hands – they said they agreed to live with us. They agreed to live in peace and harmony. They had an agreement – they lifted the pipe and made a treaty. Then he went his way and Indians stayed on the land. He started writing laws and using the paper to make things his way. An Indian person should have been there looking over that paper and seeing what it said. How that law affected Indian people, because we are half of that agreement that was made. It takes two people to make a treaty. Those treaties…that relationship is the relationship we are in today. Everything that the law is doing is affecting us but we have no say. They are not living up to their agreement – because of that there will always be disagreement and conflict. We have a relationship with the White man – a wahkohtowin. If they were to listen to our side, our law and rules about relationships, behaviours in the community and societies – we would have a stronger, healthier society. Their own children are being affected the same ways as we are. Because we don’t follow the rules anymore. They are lying to the Creator when they do that. There was three parts to that agreement because the Creator was part of the treaty. It is all connected. The protection that this country is under [is] based on that agreement by our ceremonies and our people. When we lifted the pipe – there was the Creator, the Whiteman and the Indian. Because they are breaking their agreement, the protection of the country itself is becoming more at risk.”

- Anonymous Cree Elder, quoted in LaBoucane-Benson, P. , Gibson, G., Benson, A. , Miller, G. (2012). Are We Seeking Pimatisiwin or Creating Pomewin? Implications for Water Policy. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 3(3) . Retrieved from: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/iipj/vol3/iss3/10


POST
Feb 18
10:57 pm
7 notes
Pipe Dreams
I created this piece in November of last year. It was originally published on the UBC Indigenous Studies Undergraduate Journal Blog.
An update is that in December, I met with the curator at MOA who is responsible for the pipes. We had an insightful conversation. She promised to do more research about where the pipes come from (almost nothing is known about any of them- there are several on display and in the archives). She explained MOA’s repatriation policy to me, and we talked through some of the repatriation challenges that these pipes present, given that their home locations are currently unknown. Our conversation raised more questions than answers, but I was grateful for it. I committed to raising the issue with communities that I am a part of and staying in touch. Anyways, here is my original article- 
**
Every time I enter the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), I feel hopeful that this time it will be different. I feel good, at first, in the minimalist space, enveloped by concrete, natural light, and high ceilings. Tucked between cedars, on the edge of a cliff that overlooks the windy Pacific, MOA is located on a powerful, spiritual piece of land. But it doesn’t take long before the bitterness and resentment start to wash over me. I see and hear that MOA is trying. Artworks by Musqueam artists stand at the entrance, evidence that a more positive relationship is being forged between the institution and the Indigenous peoples on whose traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory the institution stands. But as soon as I enter through the doors, and I feel the spirits of the totems standing there, so far from home, I start to feel sick. Uprooted. That is the word that came to me on my first visit, and it is the word that still haunts me. I come upon my partner’s family house post, and I speak to my great-grandfather-in-law. Meegwich moshum. Thank-you for standing here. You are loved. You are missed. You are remembered. By the time I enter the multiversity gallery I can’t keep the disdain off my face. I remind myself that MOA is doing some great work to create space for relationship building. Native youth give tours. Some of the display cases are curated in partnership with First Nations. But the walls and the drawers are so crammed full of items, I wonder how the spirits have room to breathe. To move. To dance. There are so many masks, drums, carvings, baskets, and tools it is as if I have entered an ethnographic hoarding situation. Why are these here? How did they get here? Who do these belong to? I am not the first person to ask these questions. They are questions folks who tour the museum, who write about the museum, and who work at the museum constantly ask.
Moving on, the tour starts to get more personal. I come upon the small section devoted to the Plains. My people. A relative’s moccasins. A relative’s headdress. A relative’s basket.  I look closely at the glass display cases.  If I am entirely honest, my agitation is coupled with a bit of desperation.  I am looking for medicines, looking for signs of my relatives. It is part of my search to recover my own Nahkawe-Nehiyaw identity, something that was also seized temporarily by colonization.  I am looking for something that might help quell the ancestral grief that lives in my bones, if just for today. I put my hand on the cool copper handle of the drawer beneath the glass case. I have heard these drawers are special. Imported from Europe. Very expensive, you know. The drawer slides open gracefully.  I almost cry out when I see what is inside. Sacred pipes. I am told that Pipes were given to the world to help to heal the people. Pipes are meant to smoked, to carry our prayers to Gihzwe Manido. Pipes are meant to be in ceremony. Pipes are meant to be lovingly carried in beaded buckskin, and feasted.  And here they are, sitting in a bourgeois anthropological museum, objects of curiosity.
——-
It has been over a month since I saw the pipes at the MOA, and I am still thinking about them. I see how much healing my Indigenous communities, friends, and family need, and I know those pipes can help to do that work. It is hard for me to know that they are in there, unable to carry out their original instructions.  I could hear the pipes singing songs of sadness, loneliness…their spirits are hungry for love.
Following my encounter with the pipes at MOA, I felt inspired to respond. I drew a comic strip, titled “pipe dreams”, which allowed me to explore new possibilities through imagination and fantasy. While pipe dreams is clearly a critique of museums, and MOA in particular, it is not meant to discount the good work that is being done in those institutions.  The Museum of Anthropology is a world leader for its progressive policy reform and extensive efforts to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples, thanks to Indigenous activism and visionary work done by museum staff. Community outcry to past displays of sacred ceremonial objects has resulted in teachable moments for both the institutions and the public. Today, an empty display case in the Multiversity Gallery makes a statement that educates visitors on respect for cultural protocol. Evidence of the institution’s humility, many exhibits at MOA provoke interrogation of museum practices. And perhaps the most encouraging aspect of MOA is that it has demonstrated a commitment to working with the Indigenous community.  In these ways, MOA has shown that museums can simultaneously be sites of colonization and decolonization.
And yet, I cannot ignore the way I felt in my body and spirit during my last visit.  Sometimes I wonder, why do museums have to exist, as a given?  I see the value in galleries displaying objects, art, and artifact with permission of those who made them (or their descendants). But for those items that were stolen or otherwise dishonourably acquired, for the items that are shown with question marks on their identification cards…do those items have to be kept? It cannot be ignored that MOA is a multi-million dollar facility that draws in tourists. What message is being sent to those who do not have the tools to think so critically, or those who are not so familiar with the nuanced histories and context of MOA and its collection? While those questions are important, the questions that are really on my mind, and that I mean to pose with pipe dreams, are this: What are our responsibilities, as Indigenous peoples, to objects that were given to use to care for by our ancestors, but are now locked behind glass?  And, knowing that they may or may not eventually return to our communities, how can we feed their spirits?
Danette Jubinville, 3rd Year FNSP Major, Saulteaux, Cree, French, German, Jewish, Scottish & English ancestry

Pipe Dreams

I created this piece in November of last year. It was originally published on the UBC Indigenous Studies Undergraduate Journal Blog.

An update is that in December, I met with the curator at MOA who is responsible for the pipes. We had an insightful conversation. She promised to do more research about where the pipes come from (almost nothing is known about any of them- there are several on display and in the archives). She explained MOA’s repatriation policy to me, and we talked through some of the repatriation challenges that these pipes present, given that their home locations are currently unknown. Our conversation raised more questions than answers, but I was grateful for it. I committed to raising the issue with communities that I am a part of and staying in touch. Anyways, here is my original article- 

**

Every time I enter the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), I feel hopeful that this time it will be different. I feel good, at first, in the minimalist space, enveloped by concrete, natural light, and high ceilings. Tucked between cedars, on the edge of a cliff that overlooks the windy Pacific, MOA is located on a powerful, spiritual piece of land. But it doesn’t take long before the bitterness and resentment start to wash over me. I see and hear that MOA is trying. Artworks by Musqueam artists stand at the entrance, evidence that a more positive relationship is being forged between the institution and the Indigenous peoples on whose traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory the institution stands. But as soon as I enter through the doors, and I feel the spirits of the totems standing there, so far from home, I start to feel sick. Uprooted. That is the word that came to me on my first visit, and it is the word that still haunts me. I come upon my partner’s family house post, and I speak to my great-grandfather-in-law. Meegwich moshum. Thank-you for standing here. You are loved. You are missed. You are remembered. By the time I enter the multiversity gallery I can’t keep the disdain off my face. I remind myself that MOA is doing some great work to create space for relationship building. Native youth give tours. Some of the display cases are curated in partnership with First Nations. But the walls and the drawers are so crammed full of items, I wonder how the spirits have room to breathe. To move. To dance. There are so many masks, drums, carvings, baskets, and tools it is as if I have entered an ethnographic hoarding situation. Why are these here? How did they get here? Who do these belong to? I am not the first person to ask these questions. They are questions folks who tour the museum, who write about the museum, and who work at the museum constantly ask.

Moving on, the tour starts to get more personal. I come upon the small section devoted to the Plains. My people. A relative’s moccasins. A relative’s headdress. A relative’s basket.  I look closely at the glass display cases.  If I am entirely honest, my agitation is coupled with a bit of desperation.  I am looking for medicines, looking for signs of my relatives. It is part of my search to recover my own Nahkawe-Nehiyaw identity, something that was also seized temporarily by colonization.  I am looking for something that might help quell the ancestral grief that lives in my bones, if just for today. I put my hand on the cool copper handle of the drawer beneath the glass case. I have heard these drawers are special. Imported from Europe. Very expensive, you know. The drawer slides open gracefully.  I almost cry out when I see what is inside. Sacred pipes. I am told that Pipes were given to the world to help to heal the people. Pipes are meant to smoked, to carry our prayers to Gihzwe Manido. Pipes are meant to be in ceremony. Pipes are meant to be lovingly carried in beaded buckskin, and feasted.  And here they are, sitting in a bourgeois anthropological museum, objects of curiosity.

——-

It has been over a month since I saw the pipes at the MOA, and I am still thinking about them. I see how much healing my Indigenous communities, friends, and family need, and I know those pipes can help to do that work. It is hard for me to know that they are in there, unable to carry out their original instructions.  I could hear the pipes singing songs of sadness, loneliness…their spirits are hungry for love.

Following my encounter with the pipes at MOA, I felt inspired to respond. I drew a comic strip, titled “pipe dreams”, which allowed me to explore new possibilities through imagination and fantasy. While pipe dreams is clearly a critique of museums, and MOA in particular, it is not meant to discount the good work that is being done in those institutions.  The Museum of Anthropology is a world leader for its progressive policy reform and extensive efforts to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples, thanks to Indigenous activism and visionary work done by museum staff. Community outcry to past displays of sacred ceremonial objects has resulted in teachable moments for both the institutions and the public. Today, an empty display case in the Multiversity Gallery makes a statement that educates visitors on respect for cultural protocol. Evidence of the institution’s humility, many exhibits at MOA provoke interrogation of museum practices. And perhaps the most encouraging aspect of MOA is that it has demonstrated a commitment to working with the Indigenous community.  In these ways, MOA has shown that museums can simultaneously be sites of colonization and decolonization.

And yet, I cannot ignore the way I felt in my body and spirit during my last visit.  Sometimes I wonder, why do museums have to exist, as a given?  I see the value in galleries displaying objects, art, and artifact with permission of those who made them (or their descendants). But for those items that were stolen or otherwise dishonourably acquired, for the items that are shown with question marks on their identification cards…do those items have to be kept? It cannot be ignored that MOA is a multi-million dollar facility that draws in tourists. What message is being sent to those who do not have the tools to think so critically, or those who are not so familiar with the nuanced histories and context of MOA and its collection? While those questions are important, the questions that are really on my mind, and that I mean to pose with pipe dreams, are this: What are our responsibilities, as Indigenous peoples, to objects that were given to use to care for by our ancestors, but are now locked behind glass?  And, knowing that they may or may not eventually return to our communities, how can we feed their spirits?

Danette Jubinville, 3rd Year FNSP Major, Saulteaux, Cree, French, German, Jewish, Scottish & English ancestry


PHOTO
Feb 18
10:48 pm
9 notes

"The Letter R"

Cool short done by some friends of mine for the 2013 Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival (VIMAF). Shot at the walk for reconciliation in Vancouver, Coast Salish territory.

Cameo appearance by moi… “R” is for RESTITUTION!

"Without massive restitution made to Indigenous peoples, collectively and as individuals, including land, transfers of federal and provincial funds, and other forms of compensation for past harms and continuing injustices committed against the land and Indigenous peoples, reconciliation will permanently absolve colonial injustices and is itself a further injustice. This much is clear in our Indigenous frame of understanding of the past and present of our shared histories, even if Indigenous leaders are too afraid of the political repercussions and unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices to advance such an agenda." - Taiaiake Alfred


VIDEO
Feb 18
10:32 pm
2 notes

unexpecting the expected

Dear white person,

I expect that I, by addressing you
as ‘white’, have already gotten us
off to a bad start.
I’m sure you don’t appreciate being called
‘white’.

I expect that you will almost immediately
want to know where I am from
and that ‘Vancouver’ won’t be
a satisfactory response.

what you really want to know is,
why I don’t look quite ‘white’.
you will push further until
you receive the sought-after information
and you will be on edge
until you get this.

I expect that when I say that I am
Saulteaux and Cree your face
will cloud with confusion
and when I clarify that I am ‘Native’
your ah-ha moment will quickly transform
into the inquisitive stare of a reporter.

I expect that you may or may not
comment that I am very pretty
“for a native girl”
and if you don’t say it
you are thinking it.

To clear the uncomfortable silence
between us
you might name drop so-and-so
friend or relative of yours
who is “part-native” too
or you might make reference
to a piece of first nations art.

I expect that when you find out
I am a university student,
you will congratulate me.
my mention of university will be your cue
to comment about how nice it must be
to get free school.
resentment will wash over you
when you say this.
and when I tell you I’ve paid
for my entire education
you will again be confused.

I expect that when I tell you
I’m in the Native Studies program
you will nod as if
that makes perfect sense.
surely you will ask what I plan
on doing with my degree
before or after you commend me
for wanting to help my people.
I expect that you think my people need help.

You will most likely be oblivious
to how agitated I have been
throughout this entire conversation.

When I turn the tables
and ask you where you are from
you will say something like ‘Vancouver’
and expect that I should be
satisfied with this answer.

The next time you meet a Native person,
you might bring me up
but when you watch Tonto, or Avatar,
or the Last of the Mohicans
you will make no connection
between those Indians and me,
and you will feel much
more comfortable.

I expect that my expectations
might have upset you
causing you to miss the point
of connecting my expectations
to yours.


POST
Feb 18
10:10 pm
169 notes

we are all medicine

I could think of myself as an individual
one of howevermany billion
a chequing account
a student ID
a social insurance number
a non-status Indian

or I could think of myself as:
earth
water
plants
animals
my grandparents
my mother
my father
my nieces and nephews
my children
my teachings
the food that I eat
the air that I breathe
whole in every way

the physical manifestation
of every single one
of my ancestor’s prayers

I could think of myself
as medicine.


POST
Feb 18
9:23 pm
40 notes

back.

I’ve been told that we should listen twice as much as we speak. Perhaps that explains why I couldn’t find the motivation to write on here over the past year. But now I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. Thanks friends and family for sticking with me.

love, peace, and oolichan grease,
D

TAGS:


POST
Feb 18
9:12 pm
4 notes

Women’s Sweat

There is a lodge
Inside
Rib cage bent like
Young willows
A sacred fire burning
deep, below my belly
blood stones
for grandfather rocks
and my heart beats,
The drum
pushes breath, clockwise
I exhale words, prayers,
songs, water brings
another day, another round
The ceremony is life.


POST
Nov 20
1:15 pm
60 notes

Bannock + Butter

nourishing decolonization and celebrating indigenousness //////
content collected on coast salish territory by danette jubinville////
nehiyaw-nahkawe iskwew, french, german, jewish, scottish, english ancestry///
walk on the land! and sing!