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I have been trying to design an artwork to cherish the heritage of the people who used to live here before European contact.

Canada Day is upon us. Last week, June 21st we had Aboriginal Culture Day, Peter Mansford did a replay of Buffy Sainte- Marie interviews on CBC.

Interesting that after thirty or more years, she is still being marginalized because she won’t still her voice about native issues of living conditions and discriminations.

I don’t understand how we got to this place, nor do I understand how we can get out of this space.

That we can celebrate their culture across the country with printed shopping bags from the Museum in Victoria to the artificial artifacts for sale at the Royal Ontario Museum and give no never mind to the living culture is beyond belief.

I suppose the arguments I had with others in my youth were true – that you had to bend to exist for the occupying enemy. Extinction was the only alternative. Did you notice that native was part of that word? If you think I argued for assimilation, well, you are wrong.

Will you ever begin to understand the meaning of the very soil beneath your feet? From a grain of sand to a great mountain, all is sacred. Yesterday and tomorrow exist eternally upon this continent. We natives are guardians of this sacred place.

 

Peter Blue Cloud, Mohawk  pg. 33 Through Indian Eyes The Untold Story of Native Peoples.

moose-bird made from a discarded antler, stone and clay plus a roll of duct tape
photo credit: Will Kuryluk

I wish Buff Sainte-Marie and her band could have been part of the production of King Lear that I recently experienced in Ottawa. It was an all aboriginal cast, her music and style would have raised the play from good to sublime. It was the first ever Shakespeare production that I could understand every word said on stage. Marvelous.

If I have made you curious check out her web site and in particular watch the video cho cho fire.

About geri binks

Artist

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