This is­sue is a love let­ter to all my fierce and fab­u­lous re­la­tions who ground their work in the kin­ship teach­ings that flow through­out our com­mu­ni­ties.

Canadian Art - - This Issue -

In Danc­ing on Our Tur­tle’s Back (2011), Leanne Be­tasamosake Simp­son de­scribes Michi Saagiig Nish­naabeg re­la­tional prac­tices as a spi­ral that starts with our­selves, and then ex­tends to our com­mu­ni­ties and be­yond to cre­ate re­cip­ro­cal re­la­tions with all cre­ation. For me, this work be­gan with my par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sâk­i­hi­towin Plains Cree lan­guage class—a grass­roots lan­guage pro­gram started by nimis (my older sis­ter) Chelsea Vowel. Nimis was the first to teach me about ex­tended kin­ship, and the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with these teach­ings. I re­mem­ber to this day what she said to our class when re­lay­ing to us Cree kin­ship teach­ings as en­coded in our lan­guages: “At­ten­tive­ness to kin­ship has the po­ten­tial­ity to free our com­mu­ni­ties from colo­nial­ism through the ground­ing of good re­la­tions.” It was then that I un­der­stood why nimis had called her lan­guage class­room sâk­i­hi­towin (mean­ing a shared and re­cip­ro­cal love). By teach­ing us our lan­guage, she was ex­press­ing love for us, and for all our re­la­tions, bring­ing us into an in­fi­nite chain of con­nec­tion that links us all. In my early at­tempts to con­nect with my com­mu­ni­ties’ tra­di­tional knowl­edges, I ac­cessed what I now know to be a mas­culin­ist par­a­digm taught to me through de­colo­nial schol­ar­ship—what Zoe Todd has called the De­colo­nial Dude­bro In­dus­trial Com­plex (D-DIC). I wouldn’t re­al­ize un­til much later how closely mas­culin­ist de­colo­nial val­ues align with the gen­dered colo­nial hi­er­ar­chies that had forced their way into my com­mu­ni­ties. As Erica Vi­o­let Lee coined it, it would be the aca­demic (and art) aun­tie net­work that would save me. I hold close to my heart the kin­ship re­spon­si­bil­i­ties taught by women, gen­der-vari­ant and sex­u­ally di­verse re­la­tions through what Re­becca Bel­more has called em­bod­ied lan­guage. They are present in ev­ery­thing I do in this world, and will do in the next.

In the pages of this is­sue you will find pipe­line-re­sis­tance art that de­fines move­ments and tran­scends colo­nial bor­ders, as told through the eyes of wa­ter pro­tec­tor Sâk­i­hi­towin Awâ­sis. Char­maine A. Nel­son com­poses tex­tual por­traits of Black (and In­dige­nous) en­slaved peo­ple in 18th- and 19th-cen­tury Canada that, while un­so­licited and non-con­sen­sual, re­veal to us pos­si­bil­i­ties for treaty-mak­ing and re­la­tion­ship-build­ing with our kin of colour. Erin Suther­land of Oci­ci­wan Col­lec­tive takes over our Spot­light, and show­cases the work of emerg­ing In­dige­nous artists through­out Tur­tle Is­land who are cre­at­ing and draw­ing from their re­la­tion­ships. Emerg­ing artists Maanii Oakes and Lau­ren Crazy­bull cre­ate vis­ual re­sponses to In­dige­nous lit­er­ary writ­ing by Gwen Be­n­away and Billy-ray Bel­court, re­spec­tively. Erika A. Iser­hoff of the Set­suné In­dige­nous Fash­ion In­cu­ba­tor takes a look at street fash­ion in Mon­treal and Toronto, and con­sid­ers how In­dige­nous youth wear their iden­ti­ties. Amy Mal­beuf pro­duces an artist project that ex­plores how her prac­tice draws from the fierce love al­ready present in her life and re­la­tion­ships. You are in­vited to share in an oral his­tory—a deeply per­sonal account from Heather Camp­bell that show­cases the voices of artists from her com­mu­nity of Nu­natsi­avut, who are fre­quently left out of the Inuit art canon. Though I am not af­forded the space to sum­ma­rize all the bril­liance in these fol­low­ing pages, I as­sure you, ev­ery­thing you will find in this is­sue draws out the fierce love, care and in­ti­macy ever-present and ever-pow­er­ful through­out our com­mu­ni­ties that is far too of­ten over­shad­owed by the D-DIC.

I’m elated to in­clude cover art­work from nîtisân (my si­b­ling) Dayna Dan­ger’s Big’uns se­ries. In Big’uns, Dan­ger pho­to­graphs trans­gen­der and gen­der non-con­form­ing peo­ples in an at­tempt to un­abashedly and de­fi­antly rep­re­sent these bod­ies that are so of­ten stig­ma­tized. Un­for­tu­nately, not ev­ery­one was ready. On this page, you see Adri­enne Huard star­ing out at you from be­hind, in­ter­rupt­ing the colo­nial he tero pa­tri­ar­chal gaze, and the cen­sor­ship that set­tle r view­ers re­quire to not look upon our bod­ies with sex­u­al­ized voyeurism. This im­age is not a part of Big’uns, but di­ver­gent of it, cre­ated to call into ques­tion the cen­sor­ship of our bod­ies, and the colo­nial im­pli­ca­tions of these in­ter­ven­tions. But, as Dan­ger her­self once said in re­sponse to a white cu­ra­tor who “couldn’t see him­self” in her work: This work isn’t for you.

This is­sue is for all my NDN baby girls, women or oth­er­wise. I see you, try­ing to love that corpse body back to life. This is my of­fer­ing to you. You are loved. Your voice is so needed. And I as­sure you, we can top­ple this boys’ club to­gether, and re­turn our women, gen­der-vari­ant and sex­u­ally di­verse kin to their right­ful place—to the cen­tre of our na­tions. From the deep­est re­cesses of my heart: ki­nanâskomitin. —LIND­SAY NIXON

Dayna Dan­ger tibiki gi­izhis wabi­goon ikwe 2017

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