Conciliation as Curatorial Methodology
Tarah Hogue (Curator (Indigenous Art) at Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Canada), Adrian Stimson (Artist, Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation), Ernie Walker (Professor, University of Saskatchewan)
This roundtables features perspectives from the Northern Plains on the work of (re)conciliation in collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and cross-cultural contexts. In September 2021, Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation artist Adrian Stimson was artist-in-residence at Wanuskewin Heritage Park near Saskatoon, Canada. Wanuskewin is a significant cultural gathering place and archaeological site comprising aspects of habitation and spirituality. In 2019, Wanuskewin reintroduced buffalo and a calf was born during Stimson's residency. In April 2022, an exhibition of Stimson's work, including new works arising from the residency, will be mounted at Remai Modern in Saskatoon. The confluence of activities—archaeological, ecological and cultural—that Wanuskewin enables will ground a discussion of the work of (re)conciliation across an arts and science context. (Moderator: Annika Johnson)
Part of the Reckoning & Reconciliation on the Great Plains summit.
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[00:00:00.000](gentle guitar music)
[00:00:05.418]So I'm gonna get started.
[00:00:06.310]I have introductions for you all.
[00:00:08.620]I'll introduce myself.
[00:00:09.960]I'm Annika Johnson.
[00:00:11.260]I'm associate curator of Native American Art
[00:00:13.980]at Joslyn Art Museum.
[00:00:16.050]I'm zooming in from Omaha, Nebraska.
[00:00:20.300]These are two names that bear witness to indigenous title.
[00:00:23.910]Omaha, the city name comes from the Omaha tribe of Nebraska.
[00:00:29.930]The Omaha are the original peoples of this area.
[00:00:34.520]This is their homelands.
[00:00:35.720]They've lived here for many, many years,
[00:00:38.200]and many nations have come through this region,
[00:00:40.340]and indigenous people can continue
[00:00:42.900]to come through this region and live here.
[00:00:46.230]The state name, Nebraska, comes from Omaha
[00:00:50.000]and Ponca related languages, word.
[00:00:53.639]Nebraska which means flat water.
[00:00:56.550]So it's a reference to the Platte River in this region.
[00:01:01.350]So I'm a settler here on indigenous lands.
[00:01:03.890]I've been in Omaha for two and a half years.
[00:01:06.140]It's really my goal in this position
[00:01:09.070]to build good relations, to learn about this place,
[00:01:12.330]to build good relations with indigenous communities
[00:01:14.667]and to be committed in my professional
[00:01:18.100]and personal life to that.
[00:01:19.640]So we're gonna learn a lot today.
[00:01:22.260]This is a round table panel titled,
[00:01:25.000]conciliation as curatorial methodology.
[00:01:28.000]So it features our three panelists here
[00:01:31.050]who are talking about reconciliation in collaborative,
[00:01:34.560]cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural contexts.
[00:01:38.340]So they're gonna focus on a project developed from artist,
[00:01:41.330]Adrian Stimson's residency at Wanuskewin Heritage Park
[00:01:45.210]in Saskatoon, Canada.
[00:01:47.260]Panel runs until about 11:30.
[00:01:49.170]We're gonna make sure we have time for a Q and A.
[00:01:51.520]So all of you who have joined us,
[00:01:54.510]feel free to type questions into the chat, the Q and A,
[00:01:58.270]or raise your hand once we get to that point.
[00:02:02.420]Our panelists today are Tarah Hogue,
[00:02:05.080]whose curator of indigenous art at Remai Modern.
[00:02:08.470]She's a citizen of the Metis Nation with settler ancestry.
[00:02:12.420]Hogue was raised on the border between Treaty Six
[00:02:15.090]and Seven territories in Red Deer, Alberta.
[00:02:18.750]Her recent exhibitions, also in fascinating,
[00:02:22.280]there's one in 2021 called An apology, a pill,
[00:02:25.960]a ritual, a resistance,
[00:02:28.120]which was co-curated with Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh
[00:02:31.320]at Remai Modern, and another one from 2020
[00:02:34.440]titled lineages and land bases at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
[00:02:39.830]In 2019, Hogue received the Hnatyshyn Foundation,
[00:02:43.650]TD Bank Group Awards
[00:02:45.360]for Emerging Curator of Contemporary Canadian Art
[00:02:51.110]She has authored catalog essays for artists,
[00:02:53.890]such as Maureen Gruben, Tania Willard, Henry Sing
[00:02:56.830]and Jimy Hyun.
[00:02:58.440]Her writing has been published in a number of journals
[00:03:01.590]and magazines, including C Magazine, Canadian Art,
[00:03:05.100]The Capilano Review, and elsewhere.
[00:03:08.910]She's co-chair of the Indigenous Curatorial Collective's
[00:03:12.690]board of directors,
[00:03:13.960]and is co-founder of Shushkitew Collective.
[00:03:22.050]Adrian Stimson is a member of the Siksika Blackfoot Nation
[00:03:26.770]in Southern Alberta.
[00:03:28.650]Across installation, painting, photography,
[00:03:32.010]video and performance,
[00:03:33.830]Stimson's works resignify colonial history
[00:03:37.190]using both humor and counter-memory.
[00:03:40.730]Stimson has exhibited widely
[00:03:42.280]across Canada and internationally.
[00:03:44.940]He has a BFA with distinction
[00:03:47.060]from the Alberta College of Art and Design,
[00:03:49.940]and an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan.
[00:03:53.600]Stimson also received a really incredible award recently.
[00:03:57.130]It's the Governor General's Awards
[00:03:58.720]for Visual and Media Arts, this was in 2018,
[00:04:01.880]and a Reveal Indigenous Arts Award
[00:04:04.810]from The Hnatyshyn Foundation in 2017.
[00:04:09.700]He was also awarded the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award in 2009,
[00:04:14.250]the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005
[00:04:17.317]and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003.
[00:04:24.960]Finally, we have Dr. Ernie Walker,
[00:04:28.100]who is a distinguished professor emeritus
[00:04:30.240]in the Department of Archeology and Anthropology
[00:04:33.340]at the University of Saskatchewan.
[00:04:36.010]His interests include North American prehistory
[00:04:38.870]with an emphasis on the Great Plains
[00:04:40.890]in American Southwest regions,
[00:04:43.110]vertebrate paleontology with an emphasis
[00:04:45.570]on late pleistocene fauna
[00:04:47.940]and the environmental history of Western North America.
[00:04:52.170]He's also interested in the development of parks
[00:04:54.570]and interpretive facilities,
[00:04:57.184]and is a founder of the Wanuskewin Heritage Park.
[00:05:00.610]For over are 40 years, Dr. Walker has worked in a variety
[00:05:03.890]of roles from the early establishment of this park
[00:05:07.130]to the effort to achieve UNESCO World Heritage designations.
[00:05:10.990]This is a really big deal and exciting and important work.
[00:05:15.250]Dr. Walker received a Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2001
[00:05:19.780]and the Order of Canada in 2003
[00:05:22.260]for service to law enforcement
[00:05:23.890]in the first nations community.
[00:05:26.910]This is a rockstar panel.
[00:05:28.550]I look forward to learning from all of you.
[00:05:31.260]I am going to pass the mic.
[00:05:36.230]Thank you, Annika, for the introductions.
[00:05:39.890]Nice to see those of you who are in the room.
[00:05:43.350]Thanks for joining us today.
[00:05:45.140]I'm zooming in from the unseated homelands
[00:05:48.560]of the Council of Three Fires.
[00:05:50.240]I'm a visitor in Chicago right now,
[00:05:53.590]and I'm sitting in the beautiful space
[00:05:56.130]of the Art Institute of Chicago.
[00:05:58.880]Before I started the call,
[00:06:01.010]I was just doing a little research
[00:06:02.790]on the Art Institute's land acknowledgement,
[00:06:05.270]which is quite extensive
[00:06:07.060]and has quite a bit of sort of support material
[00:06:12.180]and educational material that accompanies it,
[00:06:15.900]which is a nice model, I think, to look at.
[00:06:21.844]The title of our panel,
[00:06:25.150]conciliation as curatorial methodology
[00:06:27.520]is like, in one sense, maybe a little bit of a misnomer,
[00:06:31.660]because it sort of presumes that we're going to be focusing
[00:06:36.710]on curatorial practice exclusively, which we are not,
[00:06:42.060]unless, I guess, you think about curatorial practice
[00:06:45.160]in a more sort of expansive definition of the word
[00:06:49.610]in terms of maybe care taking for our relations
[00:06:55.700]as part of a critical curatorial methodology.
[00:07:00.660]I think the concept of conciliation sort of threads
[00:07:05.360]through the collaboration
[00:07:08.330]that we're going to be speaking to today.
[00:07:11.880]But, I think, a good place to start
[00:07:15.740]is actually to speak to the context of reconciliation here
[00:07:19.730]I think we might be the only
[00:07:21.800]or one of the only Canadian focused panels of this summit.
[00:07:28.014]I imagine that US based folks
[00:07:31.320]will have greater lesser degrees of familiarity
[00:07:34.240]with the context of truth and reconciliation up north here.
[00:07:39.310]So I'm gonna do like a very quick preamble about that
[00:07:44.230]before moving to talk about the work
[00:07:47.640]that we have done together.
[00:07:51.284]So really following many years of advocacy
[00:07:55.090]by survivors of the residential school system in 2002,
[00:07:58.917]and national class action was filed for compensation
[00:08:02.530]for all former Indian residential school survivors
[00:08:05.680]in the country.
[00:08:07.720]In 2005, Canada and nearly 80,000 survivors reached
[00:08:13.903]as the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement,
[00:08:17.400]in which Canada committed to individual compensation
[00:08:21.870]for survivors, additional funding for an organization
[00:08:25.770]called the Aboriginal Healing Foundation,
[00:08:28.520]and the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
[00:08:31.870]making it, I believe, the only court mandated TRC process
[00:08:37.490]in the world.
[00:08:39.010]The TRC spent six years between 2008 and 2013
[00:08:44.300]traveling to all parts of Canada
[00:08:46.860]and hearing from more than 6,500 witnesses.
[00:08:52.570]Part of that journey was also to host seven national events
[00:08:57.950]across the country to engage the public,
[00:09:00.930]to educate people about the history
[00:09:02.760]and legacy of the residential school system
[00:09:05.940]and to share and honor the experiences of former students
[00:09:10.370]and their families.
[00:09:12.330]The closing event of the TRC was held in 2015,
[00:09:16.500]where the executive summary of the findings contained
[00:09:20.240]in its multi-volume report were released.
[00:09:25.440]That report included the 94 calls-to-action,
[00:09:29.520]which are meant to further reconciliation
[00:09:31.650]between Canadians and indigenous folks.
[00:09:35.970]While there have been important criticisms brought forward
[00:09:38.600]about the TRC process, which I will also allude too
[00:09:42.140]in very brief form in a moment,
[00:09:44.310]the calls-to-action do provide a very important framework
[00:09:48.810]to address the ongoing impact
[00:09:51.020]of the residential school system on survivors
[00:09:54.200]and their families, and also provide a path for government
[00:09:58.540]and indigenous and non-indigenous communities to,
[00:10:02.560]in the TRC's words, create a joint vision of reconciliation.
[00:10:07.950]So the TRC defined reconciliation
[00:10:10.700]as being about establishing and maintaining
[00:10:13.720]a mutually respectful relationship
[00:10:16.070]between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
[00:10:19.330]In order for that to happen,
[00:10:21.570]they argue that there has to be an awareness of the past,
[00:10:27.290]an acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted
[00:10:30.770]and atonement for the causes of that harm
[00:10:33.270]and action to change behavior moving into the future.
[00:10:39.567]So that's my very two minute rundown of the TRC process here
[00:10:46.870]Now I wanna turn to speak a little bit about the criticisms
[00:10:51.610]of that process and the sort of framing of reconciliation
[00:10:56.620]through this sort of state mandated official reconciliation.
[00:11:03.180]I think, many have rightly pointed out
[00:11:05.080]that the concept of reconciliation presumes
[00:11:10.630]a sort of pre-existing harmonious relationship
[00:11:13.900]that is now in need of repair
[00:11:15.390]or something that we can return to when we know well
[00:11:20.350]that indigenous settler relations
[00:11:23.180]and in particular indigenous government relations
[00:11:26.440]have never been equal.
[00:11:30.290]The Metis scholar, David Garneau,
[00:11:34.030]also discusses reconciliation
[00:11:36.130]as part of the Catholic sacrament
[00:11:39.180]and the idea of reconciling oneself with the church,
[00:11:43.270]following an atonement for one sins,
[00:11:46.390]which is an inflection of the term,
[00:11:48.660]which is obviously disturbing for some
[00:11:52.560]given the Catholic church's role
[00:11:54.450]in the residential school system.
[00:11:57.670]Sort of related to that, one of the more powerful critiques
[00:12:00.291]that I've encountered is by the Mohawk scholar,
[00:12:04.820]who writes about the sort of impossible subject position
[00:12:09.890]that claimants were put in within the context
[00:12:14.050]of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement,
[00:12:18.290]who essentially must perform their trauma,
[00:12:21.730]their dispossession from land, language, culture and family,
[00:12:27.390]and the violation of their bodies
[00:12:29.570]in what she calls a supposedly therapeutic process
[00:12:34.440]that demands that, quote, you forgive your abuser
[00:12:38.580]in order to transcend to better wellbeing, end quote,
[00:12:42.750]which forces the claimant
[00:12:44.900]and simultaneously allows the nation state
[00:12:50.100]to perpetually start a new.
[00:12:53.220]So Simpson asks, quote, "what is the possibility of justice
[00:12:58.540]or political transformation
[00:13:00.360]when one must take the form of a wound?" End quote.
[00:13:04.470]Ultimately, she argues that reconciliation is a framework
[00:13:08.300]that seeks to harmonize
[00:13:09.490]and balance a fundamental disjuncture
[00:13:11.730]between on the one hand, a sovereign state that was
[00:13:15.630]and continues to be unwilling to resend its false claims
[00:13:19.160]to indigenous land and life, and on the other hand,
[00:13:22.750]indigenous struggles for that land and life as sovereignty.
[00:13:28.590]So returning to David Garneau.
[00:13:31.740]In contrast to reconciliation,
[00:13:34.880]Garneau discusses conciliation as accounting
[00:13:40.570]and allowing for an understanding of indigenous peoples
[00:13:43.890]as having an independent and existence prior to contact,
[00:13:50.550]and writes about conciliation
[00:13:53.300]as something that is established
[00:13:56.370]without compromising one another's core spaces.
[00:14:00.690]So the idea of the Two Row Wampum
[00:14:03.370]moving along two paths in parallel
[00:14:06.110]sort of speaks to this idea.
[00:14:09.990]In the context of art galleries and museums in particular,
[00:14:14.900]Garneau argues that conciliation
[00:14:17.790]looks like non-indigenous viewers entering
[00:14:21.310]into an indigenous sovereign display space
[00:14:24.960]rather than an attempt
[00:14:27.500]to sort of meet the dominant culture viewer halfway,
[00:14:32.240]which really speaks to shifting degrees of address.
[00:14:37.227]How is the viewer being addressed?
[00:14:39.210]How is the indigenous viewer in particular being addressed
[00:14:42.830]by a space?
[00:14:44.410]As well as, I think, shifting degrees of inclusion
[00:14:48.110]and exclusion in terms of the kinds of knowledges
[00:14:53.360]that are being shared in the space,
[00:14:56.130]which is maybe something that we can talk a little bit more
[00:14:59.080]about later in relation to Adrian's work in particular.
[00:15:07.210]I do wanna say a few words about Remai Modern, where I work.
[00:15:12.180]So Remai Modern is a contemporary
[00:15:14.690]and modern art museum located in Saskatoon, Canada
[00:15:18.060]on Treaty Six territory and the Homeland of the Metis.
[00:15:21.870]One of the museums for strategic goals
[00:15:25.380]of our sort of new strategic plan
[00:15:27.480]is called toward truth reconciliation
[00:15:32.030]So the conversation around reconciliation and conciliation
[00:15:36.190]is very much present in the museum from the board level
[00:15:41.290]to all across all departments.
[00:15:44.720]While the board did sort of take into account
[00:15:47.810]the important critiques of reconciliation,
[00:15:51.570]the calls-to-action as a guiding framework
[00:15:54.160]and the language of truth and reconciliation
[00:15:56.550]were seen as being both recognizable and actionable
[00:16:02.779]and things that the museum could really help to advance.
[00:16:07.740]So we've been engaging with residential school survivors
[00:16:10.330]in a variety of capacity as artists and as advisors
[00:16:15.500]to the museum and thinking about how to advance the work
[00:16:19.100]of conciliation and self-determination at the museum.
[00:16:24.670]Here, I think it's also important to note
[00:16:26.690]that the 94 calls-to-action names UNDRIP,
[00:16:31.350]the United Nation's Declaration
[00:16:33.450]on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
[00:16:35.390]as being the guiding framework for reconciliation,
[00:16:39.440]which is really all about self-determination
[00:16:42.520]of indigenous communities and individuals.
[00:16:47.490]So that sort of furious introduction brings us
[00:16:52.230]to today's panel.
[00:16:54.170]On April 1st, we opened the exhibition Maanipokaa'iini
[00:16:59.920]at Remai Modern, which surveys the past 20 years
[00:17:04.400]of Adrian Stimson's interdisciplinary practice.
[00:17:07.670]There's a link to the exhibition page in the chat there.
[00:17:12.310]The exhibition includes some really
[00:17:14.710]significant installations that Adrian has made
[00:17:18.810]throughout his practice from the physical material remnants
[00:17:23.950]of the Old Sun Residential School,
[00:17:26.290]which is located on Siksika Nation.
[00:17:29.840]For this exhibition, Remai Modern partnered with Wanuskewin
[00:17:34.240]to bring Adrian as an artist in residence
[00:17:37.230]and to support the creation of new work.
[00:17:40.280]So this partnership and the MOU that we've developed
[00:17:44.100]between our two organizations,
[00:17:46.590]I see as very much being a conciliatory gesture,
[00:17:51.630]sort of starting from the fact that Wanuskewin
[00:17:54.220]is an organization
[00:17:55.380]that has been supporting indigenous self-determination
[00:17:59.970]Whereas, Remai Modern has been open since 2017. (laughs)
[00:18:05.000]Although we build on the history of the Mendel Art Gallery
[00:18:10.340]So the title of the exhibition Maanipokaa'iini
[00:18:13.840]means newborn bison in the Blackfoot language.
[00:18:17.130]That title was chosen following the birth of a bison calf
[00:18:21.700]late in the season in September 2021,
[00:18:24.050]when Adrian was doing his residency there,
[00:18:27.580]and really sort of calls up these ideas of renewal
[00:18:33.460]and futurity that are really at the heart
[00:18:35.800]of Adrian's practice
[00:18:37.150]and the new work that he will talk about today.
[00:18:42.820]So I think following that very quick,
[00:18:46.890]and yeah, sort of surface level introduction
[00:18:50.680]to the topic of the panel today,
[00:18:53.160]maybe I will turn it over to Ernie
[00:18:55.730]and ask him to speak a little bit more about the partnership
[00:18:59.320]between our organizations
[00:19:00.840]and to share a bit more about Wanuskewin in general.
[00:19:09.140]I'd like to begin by talking a little bit
[00:19:13.230]about what Wanuskewin Heritage Park is
[00:19:17.550]and what its history has been and what its mandate is.
[00:19:22.574]Wanuskewin Heritage Park is located
[00:19:24.230]on the extreme north periphery of the city of Saskatoon.
[00:19:30.340]It was a cattle ranch when I first got involved in it,
[00:19:34.330]and it happens to have a really unusual, robust collection
[00:19:40.080]of archeological sites spanning the last 6,000 years
[00:19:45.250]of Northern Plains culture history.
[00:19:49.010]These are obviously migratory bison hunting in groups.
[00:19:53.730]The sites include campsite, bison jumps, tipi rings,
[00:19:59.040]the most northerly medicine wheel that we know of
[00:20:01.220]on the entire plains region, and more recently, rock art.
[00:20:06.800]These are all situated in a quite small area
[00:20:10.040]around a creek drainage known as in Opimihaw,
[00:20:13.630]which in the Cree language means flying man.
[00:20:18.900]This property was so robust that it became provincial
[00:20:25.440]or the equivalent state heritage property in 1983.
[00:20:31.480]In 1987, during a royal visit by Queen Elizabeth,
[00:20:36.950]it was designated as a national historic site
[00:20:40.410]and it opened formally as a park in 1992.
[00:20:44.750]But we've been working on this project for 40 years.
[00:20:49.730]I have often said in Saskatchewan,
[00:20:51.140]we have really good ideas and no money.
[00:20:52.860]That's part of the reason why this took so long.
[00:20:58.000]We realized very early on in the history
[00:21:00.340]of what was to become one escape
[00:21:02.087]and that it is about indigenous culture history,
[00:21:06.110]First Nation's culture history in this part of the world,
[00:21:09.660]and they needed to be part of this.
[00:21:13.020]So we joined forces 40 years ago
[00:21:16.570]and have been together ever since.
[00:21:19.200]I tell most folks we've been doing reconciliation
[00:21:23.130]for 40 years.
[00:21:24.100]So we're way, way, way ahead of the game.
[00:21:28.930]I want to say from the very early days,
[00:21:32.210]we had a sweat ceremony in 1984.
[00:21:36.790]It was the day that the First Nation's community
[00:21:40.450]was going to determine whether we're in this or not.
[00:21:44.150]The decision was yes,
[00:21:46.260]and was for educational reasons.
[00:21:48.463]But one of the spiritual elders said,
[00:21:51.777]"the real reason why we're doing this with you
[00:21:54.920]is that we think it was supposed to happen all along."
[00:21:58.340]He was thinking spiritually like a prophecy.
[00:22:03.480]It has a magnificent history.
[00:22:05.470]I won't go through all of that except to say
[00:22:09.670]that we are now on the verge of attempting
[00:22:15.120]to achieve UNESCO World Heritage designation.
[00:22:19.350]Our submission is under preparation that we speak,
[00:22:23.330]and it will be submitted in February of 2023.
[00:22:28.320]Yes, this is a big deal,
[00:22:30.580]because it's international exposure
[00:22:33.130]for what we've been able to achieve
[00:22:37.380]with regard to reconciliation.
[00:22:38.523]I think Wanuskewin for Canada, anyway,
[00:22:41.590]is kind of a beacon.
[00:22:43.360]This is not a park, a federal government park,
[00:22:48.060]and it isn't a provincial or state park
[00:22:51.110]and it isn't even a municipal park, a city park.
[00:22:54.340]The community did this.
[00:22:55.670]The community thought 40 years ago
[00:22:58.570]that this was important enough,
[00:23:01.190]this assemblage of archeological deposits and so forth,
[00:23:05.320]that we need to save this, we need to celebrate this.
[00:23:09.280]Hence, we have a magnificent interpretive center facility,
[00:23:14.300]our trail system.
[00:23:17.510]I think something that captures most people's imaginations
[00:23:22.270]is we have established a bison herd at Wanuskewin.
[00:23:27.110]We'll probably talk a little bit more about this,
[00:23:28.750]but this is no ordinary bison herd.
[00:23:30.530]These animals are descended
[00:23:32.990]from the two last progenitor herds, the Yellowstone group
[00:23:38.200]and the Pablo-Allard group, which came to Canada.
[00:23:42.290]The calves that we are going to have here in about a month
[00:23:45.300]are the first calves as the merging of those two population.
[00:23:51.970]That genetic pedigree is very clearly there.
[00:23:55.420]So that kind of encapsulates what Wanuskewin is all about.
[00:24:00.740]I certainly didn't do it justice,
[00:24:02.520]but nonetheless, you might wonder I would the Remai gallery,
[00:24:07.450]which is yes, contemporary, modern, very urban,
[00:24:12.340]center of downtown city of Saskatoon,
[00:24:15.370]why would there be a partnership
[00:24:17.950]with something like Wanuskewin,
[00:24:19.760]which is essentially rural, at least, for now,
[00:24:24.800]and intends to focus on much more traditional ideas
[00:24:31.360]Our art galleries, we have two art galleries at Wanuskewin.
[00:24:36.470]So you might think that these are binary,
[00:24:38.830]that these are kind of polar opposites.
[00:24:42.270]In fact, that's not the case.
[00:24:44.330]I think they're 15 minutes apart, 20 minutes apart.
[00:24:49.170]There's enormous potential here for doing things together.
[00:24:57.400]We can move from 6,000 years ago to contemporary times
[00:25:01.620]in a matter of minutes.
[00:25:04.270]So I think that really is the importance of all of this
[00:25:09.060]that we can't take people back in time.
[00:25:11.560]It's not about going back.
[00:25:13.440]It's about setting the stage
[00:25:15.260]and what is the history of the Northern Great Plains,
[00:25:19.460]but we don't wanna leave people stuck in the past,
[00:25:21.450]so contemporary things end up being more critical.
[00:25:26.630]I often talk in my public presentations
[00:25:29.770]about the history of the Northern Plains
[00:25:34.060]and why that is so important to Wanuskewin.
[00:25:36.935]There are three things that come to mind here.
[00:25:39.960]Some of this Tarah has already mentioned.
[00:25:42.700]With regards to our indigenous community,
[00:25:45.310]our First Nation's populations,
[00:25:49.905]a federal government treaty was signed in 1876
[00:25:53.960]in this part of the world.
[00:25:57.440]That meant that First Nations bands
[00:26:02.620]were moved to reservations.
[00:26:07.559]You essentially removed from the economic
[00:26:12.220]and social life of the community.
[00:26:16.230]This brings up residential schools,
[00:26:19.050]and that Adrian will probably talk about,
[00:26:23.240]and the difficulties of disease, those sorts of things.
[00:26:29.200]It's a tortured past, yes,
[00:26:32.520]but I think it speaks to the resilience
[00:26:37.040]of our First Nations community that they're coming back,
[00:26:42.090]where it's growing.
[00:26:44.728]Wanuskewin plays a big role in that.
[00:26:47.850]So the culture history at Wanuskewin from 6,000 years ago
[00:26:50.920]to today is celebrated.
[00:26:53.340]I think that's critical.
[00:26:56.180]The second point would be bison.
[00:27:00.940]Of course, that's another tortured history,
[00:27:03.760]because as early as the 1830s,
[00:27:08.090]the artist George Catlin among others were noticing
[00:27:11.360]that the numbers of bison are decreasing rapidly
[00:27:15.630]and Native American groups were equally noticing
[00:27:21.590]that same decline.
[00:27:25.080]The call went out as early as 1832,
[00:27:28.450]but by 1870, the early 1870s,
[00:27:32.950]bison were facing extinction, gone from probably 26
[00:27:38.790]to 30 million down to about a thousand animals.
[00:27:44.994]Here we are, it it's a tragic story, yes,
[00:27:47.930]and we'll go into all the reasons why that happened.
[00:27:51.090]Some of them are malicious, no question.
[00:27:53.870]But bison, I think, are coming back as well,
[00:27:58.730]and our fledgling herd here at Wanuskewin
[00:28:02.630]is meant to be a signal of that.
[00:28:04.650]I think actually bison have become the focal point
[00:28:09.710]for contemporary and some of these more traditional ideas,
[00:28:16.130]bison have become the focus.
[00:28:20.160]And then thirdly has to do with the Great Plains in general,
[00:28:26.310]This is a tragic story.
[00:28:27.700]This has a tortured history.
[00:28:30.710]Really from an environmental point of view,
[00:28:32.690]the whole history of the Great Plains
[00:28:34.020]would want of extraction.
[00:28:35.680]Get out of what you can and then get out of town.
[00:28:39.720]You can think of agricultural changes
[00:28:44.690]to the Great Plains landscape, and that's from here,
[00:28:48.540]Saskatoon, on the very Northern tip
[00:28:52.520]to my alma mater the University of Texas in Austin.
[00:28:55.970]From Iowa to Wyoming, it's the same story.
[00:28:59.110]The most endangered biome in the world are grasslands.
[00:29:04.440]The north American grasslands in particular.
[00:29:08.800]Tragic, yes, Wanuskewin has spent a lot of effort
[00:29:12.660]returning what were agricultural fields
[00:29:15.020]back to natural grassland.
[00:29:17.150]So our bison are on natural grass.
[00:29:20.990]Again, my time capsule is no better than anyone else's,
[00:29:26.010]but this is an effort to set a base,
[00:29:30.040]set a stage for the celebration of all of those three things
[00:29:36.250]and bringing it up to contemporary times.
[00:29:38.950]It's groups like the Remai Modern
[00:29:43.140]that will help us do this.
[00:29:46.350]I'm gonna pass it over to Adrian now to pick up on his work
[00:29:51.520]and how this is so critical
[00:29:54.110]to what we've been talking about.
[00:29:58.770]Thank you, Ernie.
[00:30:00.171](Adrian speaking in foreign language)
[00:30:07.160]Good morning, all my relations.
[00:30:08.920]My Blackfoot name is Little Brown Boy.
[00:30:11.510]I'm talking to you from my First Nation, Siksika,
[00:30:14.750]in Southern Alberta, the Blackfoot Confederacy.
[00:30:17.920]It's good to be with you this morning.
[00:30:20.010]Thank you, Annika,
[00:30:20.970]and the Great Plains Institute and Joslyn Art Museum
[00:30:24.510]for inviting us and me to be a part of this
[00:30:27.750]and your introduction this morning.
[00:30:29.740]Of course, working with Tarah and Ernie
[00:30:32.890]is an absolute pleasure.
[00:30:35.050]So great to be with you this morning.
[00:30:38.540]I, of course, am coming from the perspective of the artist
[00:30:42.040]in creating, but just to give you a bit of background
[00:30:44.590]about myself and my own history,
[00:30:47.550]I am a residential day school survivor.
[00:30:53.149]I attended two different residential schools in my life.
[00:30:57.950]So I'm intimately familiar with the aggressive assimilation
[00:31:01.590]of those places.
[00:31:03.530]But even further than that, here on Siksika,
[00:31:06.700]the Old Sun Residential School basically
[00:31:10.150]is where all of my family attended, including my father.
[00:31:14.100]Siksika basic was divided in half,
[00:31:18.310]and the east went to the Catholics
[00:31:19.980]and the west went to the Anglicans.
[00:31:21.600]My family happened to be on west
[00:31:25.010]and we became part of the Anglican faith
[00:31:28.880]through the Old Sun Residential School.
[00:31:31.620]My great-great-great grandfather was Old Sun, chief Old Sun,
[00:31:34.940]one of the signatures to Treaty Seven.
[00:31:38.240]His namesake was given
[00:31:39.640]to that particular residential school.
[00:31:42.410]The Reverend Tims was a Anglican missionary at that time.
[00:31:47.770]As I'd like to tell it, my grandfather, Old Sun,
[00:31:53.170]greatly distrusted the newcomers
[00:31:55.070]and was kind of frenemy of the Reverend Tims
[00:31:59.710]and was a suspect.
[00:32:02.140]But nonetheless, the school was built.
[00:32:06.470]Actually, our only rebellion due to the fact
[00:32:10.350]the Reverend Tims was pretty pious
[00:32:12.330]and wouldn't let children go home to die
[00:32:14.380]because of disease, that the nation members took up arms
[00:32:17.830]and chased him off the nation and burnt down the school.
[00:32:20.730]So that was the first one.
[00:32:22.540]Since then, a brick one was built
[00:32:24.560]and now is still on our nation
[00:32:27.460]and has transitioned to a college.
[00:32:33.240]So it's been now a college for a number of years.
[00:32:36.450]My father ended up working in residential schools
[00:32:38.920]and traveled across Canada and met my mother at Shingwauk
[00:32:41.530]in Sault Ste. Marie,
[00:32:43.020]and that's where I was conceived and born.
[00:32:45.260]And then we went to a Northern residential school,
[00:32:48.140]Saints Philip and James Bay.
[00:32:50.040]And then to Saskatchewan
[00:32:51.500]to the Gordon First Nation in the Brett,
[00:32:53.370]and that's where I attended day school.
[00:32:55.650]We came back to my First Nation in the mid-70s
[00:32:59.330]and sort of ended that history of the school.
[00:33:02.590]Just briefly, I can say the whole settlement and process,
[00:33:07.380]while important in itself, has caused a lot of issues
[00:33:12.620]As Tarah mentioned, the re-traumatization
[00:33:16.392]of residential school students have to remember
[00:33:21.270]that soured past.
[00:33:22.920]You can imagine the trauma that re-inflicts.
[00:33:25.640]I can certainly attest my own father
[00:33:27.680]having to go through that process,
[00:33:29.210]caused him a lot of mental distress at the end.
[00:33:33.560]I can obviously say for myself,
[00:33:35.900]my process is not over yet,
[00:33:37.500]because these systems are inherently,
[00:33:40.800]well, governmental systems and the systemic racism.
[00:33:43.740]So I know of a lot of survivors
[00:33:46.280]who've gone through the process
[00:33:47.600]and have ended up with no compensation, whatsoever,
[00:33:50.310]because of lost files, because of other issues.
[00:33:53.350]Certainly, myself being contested,
[00:33:55.760]because, again, if files were recorded,
[00:33:59.615]so obviously that creates issues.
[00:34:01.700]I know that even a brother and sister
[00:34:04.040]who have attended the schools, one gets compensation,
[00:34:06.240]the other didn't.
[00:34:07.580]So it certainly has its problems,
[00:34:09.160]but I won't go too far into that.
[00:34:10.700]Other than to say that it's important
[00:34:13.920]to examine these systems and the intent,
[00:34:16.705]and we can look backwards and say,
[00:34:19.010]but that it was disaster, but we need to look forward
[00:34:22.180]in how that we address these as we go down the road.
[00:34:26.440]As an artist, I have been working a lot with bison,
[00:34:30.200]the Blackfoot people, our Great Plains people.
[00:34:33.720]The bison was everything to us,
[00:34:35.400]not only was our source of food, it was our tools,
[00:34:39.890]our clothing, our shelter,
[00:34:42.230]and most importantly, our source of spiritual life.
[00:34:46.100]We are a matriarchal society.
[00:34:49.200]the Buffalo Women's Society initiate the Sundance
[00:34:52.270]are one of the most respected societies,
[00:34:55.070]and basically start the cycle of renewal
[00:34:58.400]through that process.
[00:35:00.070]So you can imagine, yeah,
[00:35:01.900]with the loss of 40 million some bison down to only a few,
[00:35:06.960]what that impact was on us, and it was great.
[00:35:10.620]For any Plains tribes people who relied on the bison,
[00:35:13.640]you can imagine the loss of that beast
[00:35:16.170]is being quite traumatic.
[00:35:19.747]So for me, part of my sort of process as an artist
[00:35:23.100]is to sort of look at the history of not only that loss,
[00:35:26.660]but also the resilience.
[00:35:27.950]The very fact that it's made a comeback and programs
[00:35:31.760]like out of Wanuskewin, are greatly to thank
[00:35:36.070]for that resurgence
[00:35:37.280]and for the survival of the bison into the future.
[00:35:40.960]So for me, I often look at bison and my people
[00:35:44.380]as being analogous as what happened to them is the same.
[00:35:47.300]The bison are our kin, they are relations.
[00:35:50.070]We have treaties with them.
[00:35:52.290]We have had this very strong relationship.
[00:35:55.120]So we honor them.
[00:35:56.650]So through my work and part of my early studies
[00:35:59.550]at the Alberta College of Art and Design
[00:36:02.170]was really looking at that history,
[00:36:04.500]but also marrying it with science, the physics,
[00:36:08.390]in particular Blackfoot physics and the new physics.
[00:36:11.870]That I believed, as a Blackfoot person,
[00:36:15.490]that at the time of the slaughter,
[00:36:17.120]that energy was released into the universe.
[00:36:19.170]We're all atoms.
[00:36:21.610]There are various different forms
[00:36:23.180]throughout our life and death.
[00:36:25.300]So that I believe that energy still exists
[00:36:27.900]in the universe and exists around.
[00:36:29.870]So as an artist, I get the honor and privilege
[00:36:32.330]of reaching out into that ether and grabbing that energy
[00:36:35.860]and bringing it into myself.
[00:36:37.940]With that process, then bringing out
[00:36:39.640]and creating the work I do about the bison
[00:36:43.350]or other subject matter.
[00:36:46.250]So really in essence,
[00:36:47.320]I am a continuum of my Blackfoot history, that in this day,
[00:36:51.380]I still am relying on the bison for my living.
[00:36:55.540]As an artist, we hope to sell our work.
[00:36:56.870]So in doing so, we feed ourselves.
[00:37:00.360]So really for me, there's no difference.
[00:37:03.090]I may not be hunting them as my ancestors did,
[00:37:06.150]but at the same time, I am celebrating them
[00:37:08.990]and including them as part of my spiritual life.
[00:37:11.540]So I'm very fortunate to be able to do that in this day.
[00:37:15.340]So what I do is I often take fragments of the bison,
[00:37:18.360]be it their skin and such.
[00:37:20.140]When is up there, that's post-modern bison,
[00:37:22.510]a bit of a tongue and cheek towards post-modernism.
[00:37:25.330]But also, this idea in particular,
[00:37:28.560]my mother worked at the Old Sun Residential School
[00:37:33.230]Over the years, it went through a number of renovations
[00:37:35.210]and I would get off the school bus,
[00:37:37.390]'cause we now live in the former residential school garden
[00:37:39.770]down the hill from the school.
[00:37:41.330]So I guess the bus and walk home,
[00:37:42.760]but I'd go by the dump and see all these fragments
[00:37:45.350]of windows, lights, beds, and new stuff.
[00:37:49.110]For some reason, as a younger person,
[00:37:50.720]I would grab that stuff and take it home.
[00:37:52.800]Perhaps I'm a hoarder. (laughs)
[00:37:55.270]Basically, would store that in my parents' garage.
[00:37:59.340]It was until many years later after deciding
[00:38:02.970]that I was going to go into art school,
[00:38:05.120]that I suddenly realized that these fragments had a purpose.
[00:38:08.490]So in particular one, Sick and Tired
[00:38:10.510]is where I use three residential school windows
[00:38:12.900]that I backfilled with feathers
[00:38:14.970]and back lit residential school bed
[00:38:18.700]that without its mattress or just the springs.
[00:38:21.620]On top of it, I put a human form wrapped in bison fur,
[00:38:27.670]and that's called Sick and Tired.
[00:38:29.960]So for me, and above its lit,
[00:38:32.850]so when it shines through the human form and the springs,
[00:38:36.510]it looks like a stretch tide.
[00:38:39.620]So again, these signifiers and these metaphors
[00:38:43.070]for the history of aggressive assimilation.
[00:38:47.770]So for me resort of purposing and resort of signifying
[00:38:51.690]that sort of energy of those object, in essence,
[00:38:55.510]perhaps exercising that history is a lot what I do
[00:38:59.730]with the work that I do, and then presenting them
[00:39:02.020]in a contemporary form in the gallery.
[00:39:04.470]I would not say that my work is healing, in a sense,
[00:39:08.480]but I do believe like the work itself is not about healing,
[00:39:14.130]but what is this is the trigger.
[00:39:15.750]I think we all do our own healing work on our own.
[00:39:18.660]But the fact is that by being in the presence in the museum,
[00:39:22.350]when people and spectators go and take a look,
[00:39:24.780]that there is a triggering element to it.
[00:39:26.910]That triggering is basically a message to ourselves
[00:39:30.120]to seek further information, to understand why it is
[00:39:33.947]that it's triggering me,
[00:39:35.180]and then perhaps embark on a healing journey
[00:39:37.910]as a result of it.
[00:39:39.150]So perhaps it's more of a catalyst for people
[00:39:41.420]to examine their own histories,
[00:39:42.910]be it settler or indigenous
[00:39:44.900]or anyone who's interested in that history.
[00:39:50.900]Most of my work, I am an interdisciplinary artist.
[00:39:54.410]I started off as a painter.
[00:39:55.740]So a lot of my early painting works are imagined,
[00:39:59.140]or remembered actually, I like to say now, landscapes
[00:40:03.910]that have sort of romanticized view of bison
[00:40:06.640]in the landscape.
[00:40:07.600]And then I start to add colonial sort of signifiers,
[00:40:10.950]be it the railroad or pipelines,
[00:40:13.770]or I'm actually embarking on a whole new series right now
[00:40:16.920]where I'm starting to add elements of war
[00:40:19.090]and nuclear explosions.
[00:40:21.140]So a little bit of more of a sort of a dark journey,
[00:40:23.600]but at the same time, these are signifiers that indicate
[00:40:27.560]that we're not out of the colonial project yet.
[00:40:30.340]Decolonization is a huge task to undertake.
[00:40:35.750]So for me, that process is ongoing.
[00:40:38.670]The work that I create will always be a reflection
[00:40:41.550]of be it historical or contemporary issues.
[00:40:44.270]Now, just moving on to Wanuskewin.
[00:40:47.200]What a wonderful opportunity to have had a residency there.
[00:40:50.810]I have visited over the years.
[00:40:52.500]In fact, my father attended the opening in the early 90s.
[00:40:55.840]So I do have this sort of continuum of relationship
[00:40:58.500]with that place, but it's absolutely magical.
[00:41:00.960]What they're doing there to me is so important.
[00:41:05.187]Of course, arriving on the day
[00:41:07.200]or the day that the newborn bison was born
[00:41:10.100]was incredibly wonderful and magical and so inspirational,
[00:41:13.590]given that the sense that we're sort of slowly emerging
[00:41:16.030]out of the pandemic, that we need little rays of light
[00:41:19.520]to sort of brighten things up and bring good goodness to us.
[00:41:25.290]So for me, I have a character parody of Buffalo Boy,
[00:41:27.760]or Buffalo Bill called Buffalo Boy,
[00:41:29.890]sort of a campy Indian quotation mark cowboy
[00:41:33.530]that sort of plays.
[00:41:34.960]I had actually put him too bed
[00:41:36.020]and thought he was gonna be gone, (chuckles)
[00:41:38.050]but as a result of the newborn calf,
[00:41:40.470]I decided to bring him back.
[00:41:42.000]So I brought to newborn Buffalo Boy
[00:41:44.160]as part of Maanipokaa'iini and basically revived him
[00:41:47.910]in the sense that the speaking to ideas of resilience.
[00:41:50.750]Humor's a big part of what I do.
[00:41:54.050]I see humor as a way to open things up
[00:41:56.650]to have these discussions,
[00:41:57.830]especially with such a heavy history.
[00:42:00.040]It doesn't diminish the seriousness
[00:42:01.477]of what we're talking about,
[00:42:03.290]but it speaks to the importance of discussing these things.
[00:42:11.210]For the two weeks that I was at Wanuskewin
[00:42:12.940]was a really great opportunity to see the work
[00:42:14.840]that they are doing,
[00:42:17.160]and Dr. Walker in relation to the bison.
[00:42:20.530]Also, the amazing sort of geological and petroglyph history
[00:42:25.030]that exists there too, which is also part of my practice.
[00:42:31.620]Also to the recognition I've, years ago,
[00:42:33.690]started this bison manifesto that believes
[00:42:36.470]that the bison should return to the plains
[00:42:38.260]and we have to get out of its way. (laughs)
[00:42:41.771]So that want them to be everywhere.
[00:42:45.960]The bringing back as a keystone species of the Great Plains
[00:42:49.570]is so important for the overall health
[00:42:51.700]and wellbeing of us all.
[00:42:53.920]So as an artist, I get to reflect that in my work
[00:42:56.710]and speak to it in forums such as the ease.
[00:43:00.680]So I think I've covered most of everything.
[00:43:03.910]Just a real honor to be with you all today.
[00:43:08.600]Yeah, I think, reflecting on your practice
[00:43:12.670]in relation to the idea of conciliation, Adrian,
[00:43:17.350]I think about conciliation as a process
[00:43:22.060]of individual transformation,
[00:43:25.740]which is how David Garneau describes it in his writing
[00:43:29.150]and this idea that we will continue to live
[00:43:34.220]with the history of this land,
[00:43:36.430]including the colonial inheritances of that history.
[00:43:42.976]So this idea that the work
[00:43:46.290]can be a kind of individual trigger
[00:43:48.869]for sort of deeper consideration
[00:43:52.360]and for an ongoing kind of reckoning
[00:43:54.580]with the impacts of the colonial project seems to me
[00:44:01.050]to really sort of resonate with that idea of conciliation
[00:44:07.240]as in distinction to reconciliation,
[00:44:09.500]that is really much more focused on,
[00:44:11.950]on relationships with the state.
[00:44:17.040]That sort of like individual process
[00:44:19.810]of relationship building is also part of that.
[00:44:24.210]I mean, one of the things that we've talked about together
[00:44:26.870]is the bison as a site of conciliation
[00:44:32.780]and why that relationship with that non-human kin
[00:44:37.744]is such a powerful site for conciliation.
[00:44:43.660]I don't know,
[00:44:44.493]maybe Ernie you could take up that question a little bit.
[00:44:48.960]Well, it certainly puts a lot of pressure on the bison.
[00:44:51.900](Adrian, Tarah and Ernie laughing)
[00:44:56.319]I agree, I'd agree.
[00:44:57.160]Those four bison, leave them alone.
[00:44:58.843](Adrian and Tarah laughing)
[00:45:00.380]I'll talk with them about it over the weekend,
[00:45:02.590]but I'm not sure what the response will be.
[00:45:06.140]But yes, I think it is the iconic mammal of North America.
[00:45:14.700]I mean, really, when you think about the Great Plains,
[00:45:17.010]the keystone species of the bison always comes to four,
[00:45:21.900]and that's universal, that's all over the world.
[00:45:24.790]President Obama, before he left office declared bison
[00:45:28.660]as the national mammal of the United States.
[00:45:32.100]These things means something.
[00:45:35.150]The fact that their resilience, they're coming back, yes,
[00:45:40.300]there are problems, genetic bottleneck,
[00:45:43.860]and we don't wanna get into all of that.
[00:45:47.200]But nonetheless, I think they are a good focal point
[00:45:52.300]to talk about the past, the history of the Great Plains
[00:45:57.780]and Native Americans/First Nations peoples
[00:46:03.060]into contemporary times.
[00:46:04.690]It's something the general public can focus in on.
[00:46:10.300]I don't think that reconciliation
[00:46:14.230]is ever gonna really be successful
[00:46:17.090]coming from the federal government from top down.
[00:46:20.490]I think it has a better chance of success bottom up,
[00:46:24.340]meaning the community decides this is important
[00:46:28.680]as we did at Wanuskewin in 40 years ago.
[00:46:32.820]I can't actually tell you exactly why that happened.
[00:46:37.360]It just happened.
[00:46:39.120]Remember what that elder said.
[00:46:40.920]But it's a community deciding that this is important.
[00:46:45.850]We can't go back in time, but we're gonna move forward
[00:46:48.350]and we're going to understand the history of all of this
[00:46:52.280]and do our best for something called reconciliation.
[00:46:59.650]Now, I wanted to add that something I picked up with Adrian,
[00:47:05.870]we like to talk about melding art and science,
[00:47:09.990]these things together, the way they used to be.
[00:47:13.130]I'm a natural scientist, but with my other interest,
[00:47:18.680]I certainly see the benefit of trying to blend the two.
[00:47:24.800]So I think, again, with Remai being in partnership with us,
[00:47:33.990]it brings an approach where everyone in the community
[00:47:38.870]can find something to hook onto.
[00:47:45.840]Natural history is not for everybody, but maybe art is.
[00:47:50.600]Bison First Nations' history.
[00:47:53.040]I estimate that we have spent,
[00:47:56.160]I'm not being arrogant here,
[00:47:58.020]probably about $80 million acquiring land
[00:48:01.700]and building facilities and all this sort of stuff.
[00:48:04.650]Folks say to me, why would you that for prairie,
[00:48:11.210]for the Great Plains?
[00:48:12.850]Why would you do that for a group of bison?
[00:48:16.700]Why would you do that for First Nations
[00:48:20.120]who live on reservations and so forth?
[00:48:23.680]The answer is because Saskatoon, Wanuskewin, sorry,
[00:48:28.620]is on the Northern edge of Saskatoon,
[00:48:32.040]15 minutes from an international airport,
[00:48:34.550]15 minutes from downtown.
[00:48:38.300]This burgeoning UNESCO designation,
[00:48:40.640]we have the opportunity to educate people a lot farther away
[00:48:43.390]from our own local community, our own province,
[00:48:46.260]even our own country.
[00:48:49.503]So I like the idea and I would make the pitch here
[00:48:52.950]that we have to work together.
[00:48:55.990]If you really love the plains, if you really love bison,
[00:48:59.520]if you're really interested in Native American
[00:49:02.030]and First Nations culture history, get on board.
[00:49:06.580]The Madison line, the 49th parallel,
[00:49:08.960]most of the time is invisible to me.
[00:49:13.840]We have an international bison conference
[00:49:16.390]in July here in Saskatoon.
[00:49:19.130]I already know that a lot of the speakers
[00:49:21.920]are going to be talking about just that sort of thing,
[00:49:28.513]Yes, I 100% agree that bison for me
[00:49:33.700]are now the clear focal point.
[00:49:36.050]It just happens that Wanuskewin has a 6,000 year record
[00:49:39.350]with bison, demonstrable, tangible evidence.
[00:49:45.120]May I would echo Ernie as well
[00:49:48.574]in stating that reconciliation.
[00:49:52.178]It doesn't come from the government.
[00:49:54.420]They can set the tone,
[00:49:55.280]but reconciliation happens between people
[00:49:58.870]and relationships between people
[00:50:00.550]and the building of those relationships.
[00:50:02.400]I've certainly found for myself that is the case,
[00:50:06.242]is that you have to get to know people and understand people
[00:50:10.301]and be willing to have some of those hard discussions
[00:50:15.610]As well, reconciliation cannot happen without the animals
[00:50:19.400]or without the land.
[00:50:20.880]That's the huge part of reconciliation,
[00:50:23.110]is that we have to see that the damage done to the land
[00:50:26.390]and to the animals is part of that,
[00:50:28.890]and that it all comes together, that we can't reconcile
[00:50:32.310]unless we reconcile with everything.
[00:50:33.870]So I just wanted to add that.
[00:50:38.343]I guess we have like seven minutes for questions.
[00:50:43.230]Give other people a chance to ask. (laughs)
[00:50:46.340]This is so interesting
[00:50:49.040]and just such wonderful work and ideas.
[00:50:53.490]Yes, I would love to hear questions,
[00:50:55.480]so you can type them into the chat
[00:50:57.700]or raise your hand, attendees.
[00:51:03.500]Tarah shared a great link in our chat.
[00:51:08.610]Maybe while we're waiting for questions to come in,
[00:51:15.210]you've all touched on this a little bit in your comments,
[00:51:19.950]but I wanna hear more about how this connects
[00:51:22.440]to the global, because at the Heritage Park,
[00:51:28.240]of really digging into just hundreds and thousands of years
[00:51:31.470]of history and pulling that into the future,
[00:51:33.880]it's very site specific.
[00:51:37.032]How do you see this, I guess, method,
[00:51:41.700]this project kind of thinking across disciplines,
[00:51:45.520]breaking down those boundaries.
[00:51:47.760]How do you see this connecting
[00:51:50.500]with broader movements globally?
[00:51:57.519]I'll take a little bit of this.
[00:52:00.250]For Wanuskewin, as I said,
[00:52:02.670]we're interested in joining with other institutions,
[00:52:07.720]other organizations nationally and internationally
[00:52:15.044]to achieve that.
[00:52:16.660]We're not the end game here.
[00:52:18.760]We're just one example of how this could be.
[00:52:23.350]But in the other realms,
[00:52:25.940]there is something called the bison treaty.
[00:52:30.790]It's American and Canadian.
[00:52:33.720]It involves a lot of Native American groups
[00:52:35.530]and First Nations that have acquired bison
[00:52:38.550]and have signed on to this working closely
[00:52:41.830]with the National Park Service and Parks Canada,
[00:52:44.000]and so forth.
[00:52:45.190]Another example of working together.
[00:52:48.330]If you're gonna stay down the rabbit hole,
[00:52:51.140]you're not going to be successful.
[00:52:53.130]You really have to come out and be more visible.
[00:53:01.130]I know back in the early days of Wanuskewin,
[00:53:03.470]we were gonna put the interpretive center farther away
[00:53:07.260]from this valley, where most of the sites are located.
[00:53:12.730]The elder said, "no, no, no, no.
[00:53:14.190]We want the interpretive center to be visible.
[00:53:17.720]We want it to be center stage.
[00:53:19.730]We want people to see us."
[00:53:23.410]I think it's going to take those kinds of connections
[00:53:29.640]that kind of dual work, if I could use that term.
[00:53:35.260]There's a lot of work to do.
[00:53:36.380]I mean, even internationally,
[00:53:38.700]I think there's a lot of goodwill,
[00:53:39.930]but people just don't know why we're doing this,
[00:53:45.950]what the issues are with the Great Plains,
[00:53:48.420]why it's important.
[00:53:50.120]So there's a lot of education, I think,
[00:53:52.080]that has to go on here.
[00:53:55.870]Slow but sure.
[00:53:57.330]If you think it's gonna be done in a fortnight,
[00:54:01.110]just think about 40 years.
[00:54:03.370]This is really hard work.
[00:54:06.690]It takes a lot of persuasion,
[00:54:08.660]a lot of different personalities involved in this.
[00:54:13.140]That's my perspective on the international focus.
[00:54:17.900]I think too, just to add to that,
[00:54:19.590]I've always like the moniker act local, think global,
[00:54:23.630]in a sense that we have to do it
[00:54:25.420]within our own communities first,
[00:54:27.160]understand the nuances of how it's doing.
[00:54:30.300]As we move forward, then it becomes an example,
[00:54:34.380]because most people don't know how to approach these things.
[00:54:37.050]With the whole issue of climate change,
[00:54:39.440]this project in itself speaks to the rebuilding
[00:54:42.619]of the grasslands and all that sort of stuff,
[00:54:45.230]and the key species and what will come back.
[00:54:47.920]So I really think that could be an example.
[00:54:50.440]Even food security,
[00:54:52.330]that's one of the things that I think about.
[00:54:54.380]In this day and ages, we've seen through supply chain issues
[00:54:58.364]is that we have to grow our own food,
[00:55:00.640]we have to tend our own plains.
[00:55:03.490]The plains have abundance of food
[00:55:05.500]that have been lost through generations.
[00:55:07.380]This could bring it back.
[00:55:08.280]So I think that's so important
[00:55:10.750]because it is provides for an example, a concrete example
[00:55:13.860]that other people could look at
[00:55:15.240]and modify to their situation.
[00:55:17.450]In essence, if everybody does it,
[00:55:19.760]hopefully, that's a sign in the right direction.
[00:55:25.160]Maybe in a slightly broader direction.
[00:55:32.450]Traveling here to Chicago,
[00:55:34.520]to this international art fair,
[00:55:38.800]where there's sort of official presentations happening.
[00:55:42.770]I'm in a city right now
[00:55:44.600]where I recognize indigenous presence,
[00:55:46.730]like is erased quite heavily.
[00:55:50.030]No one has performed a land acknowledgement, for example,
[00:55:54.060]at any of the events that I've been at.
[00:55:56.350]There are very few indigenous artists
[00:55:58.390]that are represented here.
[00:56:02.870]So I think if we think about conciliation as a methodology
[00:56:07.967]for practice, for how we, as I said before,
[00:56:13.250]like live with the knowledge of our colonial inheritances
[00:56:19.360]and the history of the land that we are on,
[00:56:24.270]but that is a way that we can start
[00:56:27.390]to build greater understanding
[00:56:29.990]and build coalitions of solidarity,
[00:56:34.232]so that those histories aren't erased.
[00:56:39.584]I think that perhaps the relationship
[00:56:43.220]between Wanuskewin and Remai Modern
[00:56:45.910]can be an example of that.
[00:56:48.059]Certainly, Adrian's practices is an example of that as well.
[00:56:56.220]Well, this is fantastic.
[00:56:58.110]I know the next panel is starting right at 11:30.
[00:57:03.870]Thank you so much, the three of you.
[00:57:06.340]This was just wonderful.
[00:57:08.010]I, of course, have a million more questions
[00:57:10.430]and just I would love to have conversations with you all
[00:57:14.000]in the future.
[00:57:15.080]Do you have any concluding words that you'd like to share
[00:57:18.790]with the attendees?
[00:57:22.020]Come visit us. (laughs)
[00:57:23.980]Absolutely, come visit us.
[00:57:27.340]Yeah, go visit them (laughs) and love the bison.
[00:57:37.490]Thank you again.
[00:57:38.920]It was a pleasure and an honor.
[00:57:41.870]Enjoy the rest of your days.
[00:57:43.620]Safe travels, Tarah.
[00:57:46.897]Thanks again, everybody, for attending.
[00:57:51.793]Nice to see you all.
[00:57:52.673]Have a good afternoon.
[00:57:54.410]Take care, everyone.
[00:57:56.589](gentle guitar music)
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