Speaker 1 00:00:11 Welcome to season three of to be Continued troubling the Archive. In today's episode, join guest producer Summer Harmony Twentyish, talking with Hunter Dushi and ish to dive into queer <unk> relationality conversations around homeland histories in kin. From the perspective of three young Anishnabe artists from kindergarten cbe, this episode is meant to emphasize joy, hope, and the importance of daydreaming about what each of their artistic practices needs to look like beyond settler, colonial, and capitalist influences.
Speaker 2 00:00:47 My name is Summer Harmony Tish. My pronouns are they them and she her. I'm Algonquin from Kindergarten Zibi and I work as an illustrator in digital artist, um, as well as like a painter. And I dabble in all sorts of mediums. Uh, I am an illustrator with House Nine Design, which is a design company based out of Montreal, Quebec. I do a lot of freelance work and I do a lot of work facilitating arts ba arts-based workshops with indigenous youth. Um, I'm recording this from Chias Quebec, so Cree territory in Northern Quebec. Um, I'm on residency right now working with a bunch of high school students, uh, doing paintings and resin casting, which is really fun. The theme of this season for this podcast is Archives of Longings Memories and Inheritances in art based practices. When I was thinking of this coming on as like a guest producer for this episode, I started thinking about memories and inheritances as Algonquin living on our own territory.
Speaker 2 00:01:50 We have a very rich visual culture that speaks to our relationship with the lands we've inherited. These are lands that we've been in relation with since time I memorial. We have intimate connections that fan generations have lasted through settler colonial violence, displacement attempts to assimilate and ize and silence us. When I was thinking about our identities as queer Algonquin people, I was thinking about how queerness exists as a direct challenge against colonial, cis hetero patriarchal relationship and gender ideals. The pronouns in our language aren't even based on gender. We speak about things in relation to us, and pronouns are determined by whether something is adamant or inanimate. Being queer, being Algonquin and being artists, it's almost impossible to create artwork that isn't inherently political. Everything we do is informed by our experiences, the experiences of our, of our ancestors and our relationships to the land.
Speaker 2 00:02:49 There's no separating that and I think my hope for this episode is that we can hold space for our joy as Algonquin people, our deep love for our homelands and everything that encompasses language, kin ceremonies, and the art that we create. And lastly, our hope for what's to come. So I think we'll kick this off by introducing ourselves. Um, so our names, pronouns, what mediums we typically work with, and anything else you feel is important to mention. So work you've done, accomplishments that you're proud of. I think it's like a really awesome time for us to kind of brag a little bit. And obviously that means, you know, brag for Native people isn't the same as bragging, I think for non-native people, cuz we're always told to be humble. Um, but, you know, let's brag a little <laugh>. An accomplishment that I'm proud of is being able to like begin a career as an artist. I think when you're younger you're kind of told you can't really just be an artist full-time or you can't find a career in something creative without kind of struggling. Um, and I believe that for a long time, but now I've reached a point where I'm like, you know what, uh, I'm just gonna do it because you know, why not? Um, and yeah, it's so far working out. Fingers crossed it continues that way, I think. But I'll pass it on to Hunter and you can introduce yourself.
Speaker 3 00:04:19 That was a really good intro. Like, uh, <laugh>, I definitely feel you on that, where someone tells you, oh, you must have to be the starving artist before you can actually make money or build a life out of what, that's some bs you know, we out here doing it, we out here doing big things. Uh, so <unk> My name's Hunter Dwai. My pronouns are he him. Uh, I'm Algonquin Anishinabe from Kindergarten Zibi. That's where I'm currently at right now in my community's the next thing I was supposed to say. <laugh>. Okay. Yeah, mediums. The two me. Uh, well a little bit more of who I am, I guess before I dive into the mediums is that I'm a, I'm a multimedia artist and communications consultant. Uh, I specialize a lot in digital illustration, uh, video work, animation. I like to dabble on a lot of different media outlets, but by far my favorite is bandage illustration, you know, like graphic designs my passion <laugh> and yeah, one of the works I think I'm most proud of for myself would be, um, the Protect the Moose Design I created for the Moose Moratorium that occurred and is still kind of happening to protect and conserve the moose population.
Speaker 3 00:05:40 And on Algonquin in traditional territory in La Park Lavon. Um, it's something I kind of created while I was away from home when the movement initially started happening. Uh, my kind of reasoning behind it is that I come from a family of hunters and having the moose be a big thing within my life and being one of my, one of my most favorite, uh, meals to have. And, um, I wanted to do something that would, uh, to kind of raise awareness. And being away from home, being away from the my territory, I felt like very, very lost and, uh, defeated by not being able to be there. But in spirit. I created something that, you know, to help from afar to create awareness, to give this movement of voice and to see how much traction it got to see how much movement it got allowed my like myself, not only as an artist that is an individual to just grow and meet new people and take on a bunch of different projects and works that allows myself to further and further grow. So, yeah, so thank you Summer too for having me here today. This is, this is conversations that need to happen and it's fun to be part of. So Me pledge to you.
Speaker 4 00:06:56 Koi. Hello, my name's Mis. I am a self-taught artist from Zibi and I am currently living in Ottawa. Um, my main mediums are acrylic and digital. I started off with acrylic, but I think, and like last year was one of, um, like the start of me working mainly with Digital Mar because, uh, one of my recent projects that I'm really proud of is, uh, for Bergman College. It was for, uh, <laugh> for six Animal Animal girls. It's like they're used as pathways. So once you like walk around a building, you'll see like 10 by feet animals, which is pretty cool. And I graduated from there. So it was, it's a pretty big deal. I never expected that, especially cause I didn't graduate, like I didn't graduate from an art program. I graduated from hair styling, so it was completely different <laugh> than what I planned to do. Um, just to go back to like the main intros, it was like my pronouns are she her, they,
Speaker 2 00:08:14 Yeah, for sure. Um, I really love the murals you did for Algonquin College. I remember when you posted them, I was like blown away. I was like, this is freaking sick. I,
Speaker 4 00:08:25 I actually got, uh, email from them when I had Covid. Oh, not sure. So I was like, I was sick, dying and like dying in bed. And then I got the email, I was like instantly <laugh>. My mood was like completely different. So
Speaker 2 00:08:42 It cured the covid.
Speaker 4 00:08:43 Um, that's
Speaker 2 00:08:45 <laugh>. Um, no, that's amazing. I have like admired both of you for like a very long time. Um, and just like your artistic styles and what you put out, I wanted us to talk a bit about our earliest memories of seeing or being moved by art. So either in our family or our community. And that can mean, you know, painting, it can mean traditional mediums, obviously like earrings, bead work, embroidery. Cuz I know for myself, like my kokum was my biggest inspiration. Uh, like my whole family on either side is like full of artists. Iman's, my cousin, um, <laugh>. So it's like passed down. But, uh, my grandma on my mom's side especially, um, because like her and my grandpa never finished school. They made ends meet by, you know, working as guides for hunters. Um, my grandmother made moccasins and mittens and tanned hides and was always doing something to try to like get mine together.
Speaker 2 00:09:49 And I used to sit there and look at her embroidery and her bead work and just like was in awe of it. Um, and I think like, because she also worked with a lot of natural materials and she always had like multiple things on the go. That's kind of how I try to approach art. Like, I'm always doing something. I always have like something new I wanna learn. Or, um, like right now in the class I'm in with like the students, we go out on the land and we pick like moss and little acorns and things that we can like somehow include into our project. And it's kind of like cute too because, um, like the youth I'm working with are so knowledgeable about their homelands up here. They're just like, they're telling me these things. They're like, oh, this is like Labrador tea. You can drink it when you're sick or when your lungs are like hurting or whatever. And I can be like, oh well where I'm from, we have cedar and you know, we'll prepare it and we'll drink it. We'll do all these things. Um, and like kind of compare. So anyways, um, <laugh> rambling. But I think like, yeah, we learn a lot from a very early age as like native kids about art. Um, and I I wanna hear your stories.
Speaker 3 00:11:10 I love that. That sounds super cute. That <laugh> that I like out on the land and like being able to pick stuff and choose, like that's super cute. I think someone who comes to mind when I think of first kind of being exposed to maybe a, a more, I don't know how to say it, modernized like way of creating art or not even maybe modernized, maybe more stereotypical would, uh, be through paintings. I, the first person that comes to mind is Dean Ottawa. Uh, seeing a lot of his stuff, a lot of his work throughout, uh, KZ school, even John t I think that John Ty Yeah. Seeing a lot of his work growing up, just being at KZ school, like having that be presented in many different, uh, of the re like resources we had, whether it be a book or what else, kind of just any other things that were there.
Speaker 3 00:12:09 Like there, art was kind of really dominated I find and present within community. They had a strong presence of their work. And I think what stood out to me the most, uh, when I was really like, kind of in the drawing and that kind of stuff was, uh, J OICs Kgi comics to know that, uh, how like to see our kind of ways of thinking and our art styles and our culture be kind of transformed in a more kind of modernized approach. And mixing that kind of what like a superhero slash like looks like it could be potential villain was very interesting. And to know that like, our culture could be represented like through digital illustrations. I think for me that was one like turning point in my head I think for me that I was like, Ooh, like we could do this kind of stuff. Like we could create this kind of stuff. We could, it was just, it blows my mind. So I think for me, I gotta, I gotta give props to J OIC and Kaga for like putting that out there on a table and not only for us in the community, but like how far that expanded and grew like through a television series. And yeah, that's, that's one thing for me I gotta say.
Speaker 2 00:13:27 Yeah, that's a really like awesome, um, example. Look at us go <laugh>.
Speaker 3 00:13:35 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And there's probably more I forgot, you know, like I know there's definitely lots of people I'm not giving the credit to in this, in my quick moments of thinking, cuz I know there's lots out there. Like even with the, the tangible stuff, like I think of like the Kanye sisters with making the mocks and the all the hide stuff. Like there's so much like artists in our community that I know I'm not giving credit to. So I'm I'm sorry kz y'all like, I'm sorry I'm giving everyone the proper credit cuz we are a very creative community, but I know those ones I mentioned for me and my journey are the ones that like really come to mind at first and stick out to me.
Speaker 4 00:14:13 I think John t was one for me too, but um, I think the first time, because I didn't really grow up, I was growing up in a small town, like a French town in Bora and uh, obvious wasn't really like I was exposed to like native culture that much, as much as I would like to be, but um, I think it was like grade three or four our class was, uh, learning art and there was just like one quick moment of like, yeah, this is a native artist. And it was, um, and I always butcher it is Norville Morris Sue nor Masu, he was, he was the one that created Woodland. So like, that was like my main in inspiration for art now. And I was like, oh my god, native people could be artists and like well known. And I was like, it like blew my mind.
Speaker 4 00:15:08 And then, um, I think like I just remember that that's all I remember learning about, but like we learned other techniques and stuff. Um, and then when we finally moved back to kz, I think I remember seeing John t painting, um, the map in the school. It was like a really large map and I was like, oh my God, I thought that was fake. <laugh> thought it was fake art, like they printed it out or something and stuck it on the wall. And I was like, oh my God, that's really amazing. So I kind of like, I was like, I never really thought about being an artist, but like, it it amazed me seeing it actually happening. I was like, wow, I wish I could do that. And then I'll, here I am. But I think back about those times all the time and that's like inspirations for me just to keep going and maybe that I'm doing that for other people and younger generations, which is like one of my main goals when I do art. Oh,
Speaker 3 00:16:16 You are doing it, you are a hundred percent doing that. A hundred thousand like percent. But
Speaker 4 00:16:23 I I wanna say too that um, I think now summer that you are one of my inspirations to like start switching up and not be so focused on just being indigenous. Like you can switch up your styles and try a new technique. You don't have to stay in one like art style. You can, you can mix it up and still be an indigenous artist, successful indigenous artist.
Speaker 2 00:16:48 Absolutely. I think that there's like a lot of pressure on native artists to like make something that looks native and especially like as anishinabe with like the Woodland style like you were saying. No, Val Morso, like he really pioneered that now it seems like even when people reach out to me, and it's not even really my style, but it's like they, they want something that looks indigenous. They want it to either be, um, like the Formline designs from the West coast or like woodland style or something and you're like, I sometimes I don't, we don't do that. Um, but the fact that it's a native person making this art makes it indigenous. And I like how you talked about, um, mis gayman, like not really knowing that you could just be a native artist, like mm-hmm <affirmative> a
Speaker 4 00:17:34 Pub successful one, like a
Speaker 2 00:17:37 Successful one. Yeah. Like it took me until university to really start learning about other native artists and being like, oh my God, there's like this whole other world out here. <laugh>. Yeah. Like, um, of like inspiration. Like it doesn't have to just be us learning about like dead white dudes from Italy, like from like 500 years ago. Like can only get famous once they're dead type <laugh>. Yeah. Like we could be making and doing good. Um, and that kind of like leads me into the next question that I have, which is like, did you always wanna be an artist? And what led you down this path? Um, like I know for me, I studied art history for a bit at Carlton and I was just fed up because I was like, when are we gonna start learning about people who aren't like Italian renaissance artists?
Speaker 2 00:18:24 Like there's only so many times I can learn about Da Vinci without my brain like falling outta my nose, um, <laugh> or like something like just shriveling up. Um, and then like I dropped out and I started working as a teacher here in Chasse. Um, and it was like this art program. It's actually the one I'm like the class I'm visiting now for the next six weeks, but I, I used to be the teacher and it's called Mok Jam and like it, I'm totally butchering the name, it's in Cree. But basically they bring in artists from all over Canada, usually indigenous artists, and they do residencies in the classroom and like they have all sorts of different art styles and you teach it to the youth and you come up with like a big project that you help them through. Um, and the idea is like you're transferring skills to them.
Speaker 2 00:19:13 And so when I was teaching them, I would always be like, okay, you know what? Don't worry about your art being perfect. Don't worry about it being good because good is subjective. It's like you're here first and foremost to have fun and to tell your story. And as native youth, that's what's the most important. And then I was, you know, like I, I always liked making art. I didn't have that kind of like nurturing teacher relationship growing up. And so I started like taking my own advice and like making art in my spare time. And then I started getting commissions and like putting it out in the world and I was like, this, this is actually what I always wanted to do and I just didn't have the guts to say it. Um, so yeah. I wanna hear, I wanna hear about you guys. What led you down this path?
Speaker 3 00:20:02 For me, I think like, I remember always being interested in drawing ever since I was small. Like I think ever since I could pick up a crayon, maybe even permanent marker, it might have been <laugh> and my canvas may have been a few walls in, in the house in my parents' house. But I, I think I've always been interested in a drawing and I remember being like in my teenage years and still kind of like taking on that drawing like, you know, doodling in class and drawing on my free time and they didn't take it a hundred percent like too serious. I just saw it as something to relieve stress or something to kind of get outta my own head while doing. And I always had my siblings kind of like come across old stuff when I was a kid and sh they would send it my way being like, remember when you drew this for me?
Speaker 3 00:20:50 Or remember when you drew me this Pikachu on my birthday card when I was 17? Or some, some random memory that was like super cute and it made me realize like of how far back my like interest in drawing and like attempting the different styles of like realism, anime, manga, like tipping into those kind of stuff, tracing different characters. And I think, yeah, my, and it's really like far back that I could like draw all that like that main interest from, and I just, but I, I never really took it seriously. It was always just that a pastime, a little hobby doodle in class, draw a little bit here and there. Maybe once in a blue moon when I was in my teenage years, I'd, you know, go really hard at a drawing and put all my effort in it and then just never look at it for another like year or so come back.
Speaker 3 00:21:43 Okay. Like I can finish it up a little bit. But it wasn't until I was getting ready to graduate high school where I was really in a moment of like, what am I gonna do? Like what, what am I gonna do in college? Like, am I gonna go to college? Like if I go, what, what? I have no idea what I wanna be when I grow up. And I still don't really know to be honest that question. But at the time of first being introduced to that question of I don't know what I wanna be when I grow up, it was, it was kind of scary. And uh, one of the first things uh, my mom actually did with me is she's like, we're gonna sit down and we're gonna do an aptitude test and we're gonna figure out what you're interested in and from there, whatever the results are, it might help you get an idea of what you wanna do.
Speaker 3 00:22:28 And I remember one of the, the final results was like media artists or graphic design. And she sat with me and she was like, well yeah, you're really good at drawing in you. Like, do you see yourself ever working or doing something creative in life? And I was like, to be honest, yeah cuz I don't wanna sit in the office nine to five or like, I don't wanna, and I don't know if I have the strength to work like a hard labor mining job or anything like that. So I was like, maybe this creative mind might help me. So that I took, uh, then I jumped in, uh, seja in new new media publication design at Heritage. From there they really taught me the like core, core basics of like illustrator and Photoshop. And, and from there my like passion just like kind of ignited, like being able to learn I think and having access to tools and like bringing my ideas more to life and having to like really work on something to have an end goal in which later getting like people interested in the stuff that I do and taking a chance with my work and hiring me for projects.
Speaker 3 00:23:35 Like, yeah, it just still feels like an evolving time where I'm always growing, I'm always learning un unlearning at the same time for certain things. And yeah, I think it's just the interest has always been there. I just needed that moment of learning how to really take my art to the next level. And then from there, just this continuation of like expanding learning, admiring <laugh>.
Speaker 4 00:24:02 I think it was the same for me when it comes to drawing. Like I started off drawing and like, I obviously didn't have my own style yet, so I would look up pictures that I thought were pretty and just kind of copy it. But like I never said it was my, like my idea, I was just looking at the picture. I think that kind of helped me practice like the symmetry and like just doing all that stuff. But, um, I think, and I never really thought about being an artist because, I don't know, I never, I never thought I would be able to do it. And then I guess when I was in my, was at Heritage and I obviously didn't know what I was doing and I was trying to figure out what to do and it was a Christmas, it was before Christmas, I didn't have any presents, so I was like broke and I was like, maybe I could try a painting.
Speaker 4 00:24:59 I've been pretty good at drawing so I could try a painting. And then I painted for my family and I posted it and people actually liked it and somebody reached out for me to do a commission and I was like, really <laugh>? And I was like, and I guess that just kept happening and I was like, wow. And I started off just painting feathers, but they look like leafs. And then I think that one summer <laugh> that one summer, um, somebody reached out to me to do like for birds and I was like, I don't think I could do it, but I'm gonna try. And it, it just came out really perfect and then I just kept going from there. And I think my sister kind of helped me too with getting commissions and yeah, I just think my family and back home really helped push my career wise and still learning. But yeah, it kind of just happened. I wasn't really planning to do this, but <laugh> I'm enjoying it while it, it happens.
Speaker 3 00:26:06 I love that you're blue Jay painting, by the way. I don't know if that's the bird one you're talking about. Yeah. But I remember you did a blue Jay painting a while back, yo, that, uh,
Speaker 4 00:26:15 That was the one that kind of made me figure out my art style and get more comfortable with expanding.
Speaker 3 00:26:23 Ah, I love it. I'm like, if we're dropping igs on here, I'm like, I suggest anybody listening like you go take a look at that, work at that blue Jay work. Is it? Yeah. Uh, it's beautiful.
Speaker 2 00:26:34 It really is. And even like your use of color, um, and like all the work that you do is so vibrant and like I just, I look at it and my eyes are happy. That's what I'm, I'm trying to do with the colors. Yeah. And you're like so good at it and it just like, like you said, you're bird painting. I was like immediately blue jay. Yeah, that's what I thought of. That was one of the ones you posted. I like that. Um, we all kind of found our way to making art not necessarily by accident, but it wasn't something we set out to do.
Speaker 2 00:27:19 I think we're gonna start diving into kind of how queerness and being Algonquin coexist within us and kind of shape our practices. And then yeah, so like how, how does queerness shape your practice? Do you feel as though your queer and Algonquin identities overlap in terms of influence? Uh, but yeah, I think like being queer and being Algonquin has made it so I have a strong desire to celebrate and hold space for like the people and subjects that matter to me. I think it's hard not to be inherently political when you're existing in a world as like a queer person and a native person that has been built unfortunately to be against us. Um, so I like to draw a lot of women and fem folk and I always try to model them after people in my life or in my community that I think are beautiful.
Speaker 2 00:28:15 Um, body diversity is very important to me. Um, and it's obviously something I'm still learning and growing, especially as like a self-taught artist. I like really try to put it into practice. Um, but like after studying art history, I was tired of only seeing like white dudes depicted in art or like white ladies. Um, and if it was like native women or native people depicted, it was always stripped of our autonomy when the artist wasn't indigenous. I think like Kent Monkman was somebody that really shined a light for me when yeah, I'm getting like big nods because he was showing people like native people, gay, native people being gay and native and like looking back at the viewer and not, it wasn't for anybody else's consumption, but other queer native people. And I frigging admired that and that's something I really try to put in my artwork, especially as like, like social media is a big thing for us as artists now.
Speaker 2 00:29:21 I want people to find my work and feel represented. Um, especially like other queer natives who maybe like are from the res or like girls who are bigger or you know, whatever. Um, I just want them to feel seen. Um, but yeah, I also feel that like being queer has allowed me to be more community centric in how I approach being a creative. Um, obviously as queer people we're always seeking that community. Um, and as somebody who's like, who gravitates between, you know, being an artist and being an educator, I always want queer kids, queer native kids to like feel safe and feel like they can create shit that, you know, matters. Um, and that's, I feel like I'm, I'm 26 but I'm eventually gonna be like a queer native elder, so I'm trying to do what I can now. Um, but yeah. For, for you guys, how has your queerness shaped your practice? Do you feel like being queer in Algonquin overlap all that good stuff?
Speaker 3 00:30:31 That's a really good question. I like summer how you mentioned too that like when envisioning this kind of like intersectional identity that like sometimes we're not solemnly just in the present. Like we have kind of not obligations in the future, but kind of like, you know, we don't only think of like just what's going on around us. Like we have ideas of how this might shape a future, but not only for ourselves, but for the people around us and what that's gonna look like, which I find super interesting, especially like thinking of our own queerness and how that's gonna shape not only ourselves, but our communities around us. Like taking in consideration a lot of like, uh, colonialism, the effects of like residential schools.
Speaker 3 00:31:16 For me, I think, I mean it was kind of young in my teenage years that I like came out. I had a partner at the time and were young in love and I was just dabbling into art and I didn't really see or feel at the, at the time like there was like a connection between like my art and my queerness. I felt like just trying to find myself and who I was as long as my own artistic practice and style was, uh, a big mess, a big, uh, all over the place mess that it, when I look and reflect about, uh, back at it now, there was like points where they, they crossed in weaves together, but I never really thought that way at the time that it was happening. But currently I find it's only more of now that I find that I'll like kind of explore that aspect of my identity and use that within my work.
Speaker 3 00:32:14 Like, uh, sometimes when I'm having really like dry periods of no like contracts or anything like that with other people, I'll have the opportunity to create stuff for myself, which I know I gotta definitely do for more for how yeah, therapeutic it is to draw for yourself to create art on your own time. It's so important and to create art for yourself, like so, so important. And the moments that I do have that I find I'm more able to explore that avenue of my life and being able to like show that interconnectedness of my identity. And I think playing off that, um, just reflecting of the little bit of the past and the present, I think my queer identity was able to shape myself as a, a did artist to not be scared to partake in things that were, that kind of had, uh, not Eurocentric, but maybe like outside perspective of what's deemed feminine and masculine.
Speaker 3 00:33:10 Like I know a lot of my work, sometimes I'll add florals into them in which I know from an outside perspective, uh, outside of community and whatnot, it might be deemed as feminine. But for me, like they're just floral, those are the land those are so not like for me just seeing the, like the beauty in that and being able to just produce that even sometimes in more, we'll say quote unquote feminine ways, like I never felt scared to go that route. Just knowing, like being assure of who I am and what I'm able to bring to the table. So being able to like bring all that stuff and interweave those things that are deemed masculine and feminine, which that are not really when I think about it, like seen that way within our own culture at its core. But yeah, I think, uh, I think that's how kind of my, my own queerness and my Algonquin identity kind of like blend within each other.
Speaker 3 00:34:11 But I'm still kind of like navigating that and kind of connecting the dots of where my inspiration comes from. Like summer you mentioned Kent Monkman like, ooh, I the first I'm coming across there are too. And being like, wow. Like at first I was like this is some hot takes, like this is some, this is some wild stuff. Like someone's actually creating this stuff like, but you know, having to learn and unlearn a lot of stuff in my own, you know, internalized like, we'll say homophobia of growing up like in a small community. Like it's only with time that I truly appreciate work like Ken Monkman more and more as they progress as an artist, the more work that they create and seeing that not only can indigenous artists, especially indigenous queer artists could create stuff out of like pain and suffering and what we live through, but to celebrate like indigenous joy to show that like we out here doing like great things and we're, you know, we as happy people, we're happy, we're full of life and we have so much to give and offer.
Speaker 4 00:35:15 I think we're kind of the same when it comes to like, I'm not really still figuring out how to like intertwine avan went and being queer because I only came out like, I only like came to terms with being by like, and came out last year or like maybe like I was, you know, going through that phase where in 2020 where I was like, I grew up with seeing all of this like cis just being exposed to cis straight relationships and I don't know, never seeing women being together and like being comfortable in public and stuff. And um, I think as I get to more comfortable with myself and just being myself, I kind of want to do that with my art. Like I want to educate through my art and show that in my art cuz I have, you know, I have nieces and nephews and I want them to be comfortable growing up and just figuring it out and not being afraid to ask questions because they know that I'm a safe space for them and just for other people. And um, that's why I'm trying to mix up my style and not just be, you know, indigenous woodland flowers, animals. Like I want to, if you ever heard of Chief Lady Lady Bird, you know how she expresses being comfortable in her body and like I want, I like, I wanna do that. It's my art. Hopefully do that in the future. <laugh>, but it, it's never really showed up in my previous art, so can't really see the connection of being queer at a club. But in the future I'm helping it would be <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:37:22 Yeah. I'm like so, so excited. Like I know this stuff you've been, um, posting recently too has been, you can see that shifts starting to happen and like everything you create obviously is phenomenal and I'm, I'm not biased because we're from the same community or we're cousins, um, <laugh>, but I think like Chief Lady Bird is such a good example too because it's so like she has those um, like woodland style elements and she does do really phenomenal woodland style art, but a lot of it is also like talking back to patriarchy.
Speaker 4 00:38:00 Things considered taboo. Like masturbation and stuff.
Speaker 2 00:38:04 Yeah, yeah. I know she's so like, cool, I, I can't post that stuff. I'm too shy, but
Speaker 4 00:38:10 Like
Speaker 2 00:38:10 <laugh> and I'm like, there's like kids that I worked with that follow me, but I, I like how you're both, you touched on like coming, not coming to coming to terms with queerness I think is something we always have to do in native communities. Cuz you don't know as a safe person to come out to. Like I always, I have been gay, um, like I've always kind of known me too but then I've heard <inaudible> being like, ew. And I was like, and I'm like nevermind <laugh> and you're like back into the closet a little bit, which sucks. But yeah. And then now there's so many like res kids who are like out and just being gay, trying out different pronouns, different names like, um, like I'm here in a high school and the amount of students who have been like use any and all pronouns for me or like, Hey my name has changed from this to this.
Speaker 2 00:39:08 Can you only use it in the classroom so we can test it out? Like you are youth, our youth, I feel I'm, we're not old obviously, right <laugh>, I feel like we're hitting that point where we're becoming, you know, old <laugh> or older, but we can start saying our youth. Um, but yeah, they're like becoming more comfortable. And then you said being a safe adult that they can be around I think is so important. And, you know, us coming to terms with who we are and showing that in our artwork, um, is gonna do wonders for the next generation as well. And for our nieces and nephews and other kiddos that decide to adopt us along the way.
Speaker 2 00:40:05 Obviously everybody here loves being Algonquin and coming from our community. I think that's been very clear in how we've been speaking about it. So we obviously love our lands. I want us to talk a bit about our homelands and what inspires us the most, whether it's physical, like the land or the water, the people on it, culture, language, et cetera. You can also say everything. Um, cuz that's also a really good answer. Uh, so for me, when I was like thinking about this question, I always circled back to like my family's trap line in the park. Like it's near Rapid Lake, kind of across. Um, and it's funny, I found out like last summer, it's an old mining road and my great-uncle just like one day put up a sign and was like private and like, so where we are <laugh> we just like land backed it.
Speaker 2 00:41:05 Um, which I think is pretty sick and it's been in our family for a few generations now. Um, but like my grandmother spent a lot of time there as a kid. I think her and my grandpa met around there. My mom grew up there in the summertimes. Um, and like for the grandkids, so like me and my cousins, it was where we go with our comancho mis to like, whenever we'd stay with them and they had certain cousins they would bring together and certain ones they wouldn't because we'd be fighting the whole time, which is like, you know, I guess that's part of the job <laugh>. But you know, they'd take us c from like the spring to the fall, whether it was getting the camp ready, harvesting, hunting, um, getting it ready for winter, whatever it looked like at that time of year. Um, they'd make sure that they brought us there and like it because they grew up on the land and navigating it.
Speaker 2 00:42:02 It was almost like very natural for them to pass on that love and respect to us. And it wasn't something that we had to like learn or reconnect with. It was almost inherent. Like my grandmother would, we'd be on the boat and she'd start telling stories about like, one time we were out here and your dad messed up the motor on the boat and they lost it and then they had to paddle back to shore and like, um, just like these random stories that make you appreciate the history and the, the kind of connection that we have within our families. Um, and I think I cherish like those memories the most. Cause it was so natural to fall in love with the land from an early age. It wasn't, yeah, we didn't have to be taught and our grandparents model or my grandparents model modeled it for us. Um, so yeah, when I, when I make art or when I approach anything, I tend to approach it from like, how can we, how can I, I don't know why I'm speaking in the royal we, how can, why <laugh> like represent my, my love for the land that I come from and this artwork that I'm making. And yeah. I I wanna hear what do you love most about <laugh>? Our homeland <laugh>.
Speaker 3 00:43:22 Oh, I love that. Yeah. Thank you for sharing. I think I have very, very similar kind of way of acknowledging that too, where, you know, I feel fortunate enough that I was able to, you know, grow in my community, grow up here and to come from a family that like, uh, was able to retain what they could. Uh, whether that be through hunting, through fishing, through other cultural pact practices of harvesting or just let alone being able to go out on the land. Having that accessibility. I think that was something very, very beautiful to have growing up. And like I think I draw like a lot of that of my inspiration from like memories of being a kid and places I visited and who I was with, what kind of emotions that were ha like I was experiencing during those times. And I think just, yeah, being fortunate enough to be like a little res kid and you know, to grow up very close knit with my cousins, which I give, you know, to, I give to my mom's side of the family that really kind of set the stage for that.
Speaker 3 00:44:38 My, uh, my grandparent, my grandmother and her siblings, how close-knit they were, they really made sure to pass that down to my mom's generation where her and her cousins are very close and her siblings are very close and you know, sometimes our cousins are so close to us that they're like our extended siblings. And I think we're very fortunate enough on my mom's side to get past that down as well. Though my generation where, you know, some of my cousins they're, they feel more like siblings sometimes even more to my actual siblings a little bit at times. <laugh>, um, no shade, no shade
Speaker 4 00:45:15 <laugh>.
Speaker 3 00:45:15 But yeah, sometimes they feel more like my actual siblings, the more than cousins. And to be able to have that bond starting off since we could all walk and talk and uh, to be little res kids exploring and navigating the lands together, whether that be the, the bush trails behind KZ school and getting lost or you know, jumping the rocks down, pucking up like sneaking there. Cuz I, I was never really allowed to go there as a kid and if my parents decide to listen there, so I'm sorry I've been there way too many times without y'all knowing <laugh>. But like being able to explore the land of what we have, at least within our community of what we have left. And being able to do that with my relatives, with my family, it was, if there's any like thing I could think of for like, love for my community in that way, that's the first thing that comes through my mind. And just being able to experience that, to have the land, have family, have a sense of community and belonging.
Speaker 4 00:46:16 Um, I think for me, I think everything in general, but like specifically like just nature and land, cuz I know we're just bright, beautiful people and like, even though our history could be very dark, I think it's important to take a step out and go back into the nature and just heal. And I think I try to show outta my art too, because I don't know, even like, just stepping outside and it gives you inspiration and what can make you breathe and just go back and just remember how we were before everything happened to us. Like I made a painting, um, called before first ca first contact and in my mind I was just imagining how our life was and how nature looked before first contact with, you know, Colin and I, <laugh> no <laugh>. I think nature in general is just, it's a big inspiration for me when it comes to homelands.
Speaker 3 00:47:30 I love that. I love, that's definitely, I think I, I feel exactly the same way. I think I blabbed on too much of memory when, when it comes to practice. I'm definitely the same way. Ms. Clemen were, sometimes I'll even be in a creative block and I'm like, I don't know what the to do right now. Like, I don't know what I'm doing, but I take a like, you know, a walk outside my house and being by the lake or you know, even if it means I go by the pack to those trails behind Casey's school, like to have that moment
Speaker 2 00:47:57 Beautiful sunset and you're like, wow. And
Speaker 3 00:47:59 Yeah, uh, the land truly be like the inspiration. She's doing the most, she's doing the most <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:48:08 She's, um, a few weeks ago I was sending a picture, uh, to my Cree friend and I was like, I'm sending you a picture of our favorite lady. And she's like, what? And she thought it was like Dolly Parton and I was like, mother Earth and it was like this sunset picture <laugh>, we like had a good laugh. But it's like <laugh> being able to like reconnect to our favorite lady mother earth, um, is so important. Like, especially, and it's something that like when you live in the city, you think you can't, like, it's hard. It's not the same as like you said, hunter being a little res kid. Um, and like exploring or doing res kid things, um, <laugh>, which like yeah is always getting up to trouble somewhere in the butch, um, <laugh> or like, uh, being able to like see a sunset and just being like, wow, you know, life I can keep going.
Speaker 2 00:49:11 Um, this is actually pretty sick. It's <laugh>. Um, I didn't, like, I grew up in Cree territory, like here Insee. But every time, uh, there's like a stretch of highway between valor and KZ when you're coming from up north and it's like things change from tamarack trees and like balsam furs into these like tall big birch trees. And I always associated that with coming home. And then, you know, as much as I love Cree territory, it has like a special little place in my heart. It doesn't replace for me the way KZ feels or the way the bush feels. Even the accent. Like I, I love, I love the KZ accent and when it comes out of me, I'm like, this is my truest form. Um, this <laugh> comes out pretty bad sometimes, but, um, I'm sure that's all people hear when they're listening to us talk. That's, let's take a second collectively to daydream in this space and think of a world outside of capitalism and settler colonialism. Like, if we didn't need to work to survive, if we could just move through the homelands freely, not worrying about, um, so taking a second to think of all that, what would your daily artistic practice look like?
Speaker 2 00:50:48 How would you want it to work? So for me, when I'm daydreaming, and I do this a lot because I can't wait to be 60 living in an old shack, but I can, I wanna live in like a shack by my family's trap line in the park where I can spend time on the land and just make art and like wake up in the morning, get water, you know, do all those bush tasks you're supposed to do. And then at some point in the day, sit and paint or go and collect plants and learn their names and draw them, study them, you know, find a way to fuse my own connection and learning about the land and relationship with the land, with my artistic practice and not have to worry about, you know, paying my rent or like taking on a commission. That's, that's my daydream and I wanna hear yours.
Speaker 4 00:51:47 I could grow. Um, when I think about, like, I kind of just imagine my comb cuz she has a cabin in the woods, like, like between Rapid Lake and kz and it's by the lake and she, I don't know, she kind of just chills chops her own wood. She used to berry pick, like before she got, you know, when she was younger, she would just berry pick, she makes maple syrup and all that stuff. Like she's, she's a bush woman. <laugh>. I kind of just, I would imagine like being the same, just living in a cabin isolated or surrounded by wilderness, just kind of just painting when I want to and when I'm inspired rather than feeling like I have to to survive. And then, but yeah, that's for me,
Speaker 3 00:52:43 Yeah, I would say kind of, yeah, I'm gonna draw off, uh, similar feelings that, what comes to my mind too is thinking of like father's family comes from, which is more like towards like the basketball area before we kind of like settled in KZ or forced to be in Casey.
Speaker 4 00:53:00 We lived in Baston.
Speaker 3 00:53:02 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. There was a lot of, no, there's a lot of family, like different families that came from there. And just little one by one people getting forced out of there. Like, uh, I, I could go off about that too. And for just the littlest that I know, I feel like there's so much that I don't, but envisioning that like, kind of, it just makes me think of that, of being like a kind of more nomadic, being able to travel. I see myself like kind of wanting to be a little bit of sedentary and just sit in one place and chill. But I see myself more traveling, learning how to, you know, make canoes and etching my stories of what I've seen into Bridge Park and being fascinated with the many different people from, you know, different communities or even nations I come across with.
Speaker 3 00:53:53 So I think for me, I would see like kind of myself like having that freedom like Misco mentioned, like, you know, creating art when you want more, when it comes out of a place of like want and desire rather than a, a full on need just to survive that. I would love to like just, I see myself being able to create when I wanted and more I think focused on that, like those travels and seeing other people, seeing those other faces, those different communities, how they live, what, what that looks like for me, what that looks like for them. And kind of like that interconnectedness of us all and how that's like expressed through, you know, our, our love and care for the land, the water, all the beings around us and
Speaker 2 00:54:41 We deserve that. I, I really, really love how you both emphasized being able to make art when we feel like it and not because we have to, uh, because like I think it really changes the quality of the work that you put out. Like I, you know, I, I like working with clients, I work with pretty cool clients. Does that mean I always enjoy it? No, <laugh> doesn't it? As cool as they might be. Yeah. Um, you're still like forced to create something and find a way for it to fit into what they're looking for and that can kind of take the fun out of it. Um, no hate. Thank you for keeping my lights on <laugh>. I wish I didn't have to do that. Like, um, we deserve to just be in the bush and making connections with other communities and learning from each other. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, I think that's like a really beautiful thing for us to want somebody make it happen. Um, this next one is like, I'll admit kind of tough for me. Uh, so I think we can like do the best we can and that's, that's all we're doing at the end of the day, the best we can. That's all we can do. That's
Speaker 3 00:55:57 All we can do.
Speaker 2 00:55:57 That's all we can do. Um, and this one's also kind of along the vein of, of daydreaming or getting real introspective and emotional. Um, but I like to imagine queer, like what our queer ancestors might have had over the generation. What they were like, what their daily life was like and how I can honor them now. This is a very vague, we're gonna try. Um, so one of the, the questions I kind of want us to think about is, if you could have a conversation with one of your queer ancestors, what would you wanna ask? What would you wanna listen to them talk about if you don't have questions? Or what would you like to share with them about your life or your experience? Um, so <laugh>, I've grappled with this one a lot cuz I'm like, oh my God. Like, first of all, if I met one of my queer ancestors, I'd be like, thank you.
Speaker 2 00:56:58 Like, I feel like, you know, now it's, it's 2022. We have a lot more two-spirit representation, a lot more queer representation and teachings that we're learning about or uncovering in our communities, um, that have been passed down, you know, from over the generations between queer and even I guess non-queer, uh, ancestors. But I think, like, one thing I would say to mine is just like, you know, thank you for the love that you sent down the line. Um, and I think I just really would love to sit and listen to them tell stories about, you know, all of these teachings that maybe we've lost over the years or that are sleeping in a different nation or nearby nation. Like, I wanna listen to them talk about that and talk about maybe the way that their identities have always been affirmed for them. Because we know pre-contact being queer was like normal. It was like breathing, you know, we were out here, we had roles within our communities and I guess I would just wanna listen to that, um, and then share with them that, you know, I'm out here and I'm loving, loving myself despite everything that we're unfortunately taught or we're forced to internalize or grapple with as queer Algonquin people these days. Um, and I feel like these answers are very vague, but I'm curious to see how you've, you guys answer them.
Speaker 4 00:58:42 I mean, what you said was kind of like spot on, but I'm kind of thinking about like, just like generational healing and because I kind of believe in, we are incarnation, so like they're kind of living through us and we're living, we could live, we're starting to live the way that they would and, and express ourselves in today's society. And if, if, I don't know, like if we had the conversation with them, I would just wanna know if there are ways to like do better or like just to go about living and just, I don't know, get advice, I guess <laugh>, but yeah, kind of just, it's very spiritual. It's like <laugh>. I feel like they're already around us and they're giving us signs and like maybe we don't notice it, but like we're kind of, they're pushing us to, you know, be our queer selves and remember that this was normal back in the day. Like we didn't have to be like, oh yeah, we're queer. We're just like, yeah, we exist. We're just existing <laugh>. Yeah. Off
Speaker 3 01:00:06 Getting, getting emotional. <laugh> love me too. I'm like, woo, get in weaves of woo <laugh>. That was, that's so true. Cuz me too, sometimes when I, if I envision too much in the past and like just kind of meet like how I kind of envisioned how things were and stuff, I get to, I think I lose the idea that, you know, our ancestors are like spirits. They're, they walk with us or whether they're family members that moved on community, like they are still with us. And I'm also that like a firm believer of like, you know, everything around us has a spirit, spirits, you know, those who passed on and those who've been here for a long time and those yet to come are around us. They're, they help us. They help guide our lives, show us, show us the way, which I may not know what that way is, but <laugh> it, it, it's a way, uh, if I had to sit down with one of my queer ancestors, oh my goodness. Part of me wants to be all nasty and be <laugh> <laugh>, who are you shacking up with? Who's ancestors? Were you sleeping in <laugh>?
Speaker 4 01:01:19 What's the tea?
Speaker 3 01:01:20 What's the tea? I know, I'm like family. They come from, I wanna know, <laugh>.
Speaker 4 01:01:27 Just kidding. <laugh>,
Speaker 3 01:01:30 You're like, how did you know you weren't cousins? Like, how did you feel?
Speaker 4 01:01:35 Such a good question. Like how do you know you're not cousins? Like, did you hook up with your cousins or <laugh>?
Speaker 3 01:01:42 Would I just practice like, ignore what I'm saying, <laugh>.
Speaker 4 01:01:48 <laugh>.
Speaker 3 01:01:50 Yes. Oh my God. Oh, my ancestors would be like, hang, I'm hanging up the phone on this conversation. Like, we are done. You had one phone call to make on a real nose. I think, I think more like, kind of similar to not, not to go too far from that is that I'd like to know what, like, how like queer love was expressed back then. Like, I like to envision a lot of that too, of it being like, you know, so normalized that we didn't have to ex, you know, explain our existence or, but I can't help but feel that like, there might have been some form of like, not resistance per se, but like maybe like different communal norms. And I'd like to know like how that panned out or how that looked like. Like how did love affairs occur? How did that, uh, how did they find somebody?
Speaker 3 01:02:42 Did they find somebody they truly loved or, and what does that kind of like indigenous idea of love look like for them? Like, who did they love and what did they feel and how did they express that? And being able to understand that more in a like, maybe historical way. Gimme a better understanding of like, you know, how I express love or what that means for me in the, in its most simple forms and what that looked like in my past relationships than what I could use for my future ones. What I could use on my current relationship. And so I think, yeah. I would like to ask a lot of questions. Being all, being all cheap and lovey like <laugh>, what does love look like to you?
Speaker 2 01:03:26 That's a good question to ask. Cheap and Lovey is the way to go <laugh> <laugh> because it's true that like in queer relationships, it's, it's obviously very different from, you know, cis. He ones where they're like, especially now with capitalism and colonialism and we're taught like get married and have babies. Like that's all you should aspire to. And then as a queer person, how are you unlearning that throughout life and throughout your relationships? And um, and I also liked what you said, mis gaman about reincarnation and the idea of like, our ancestors still being around us and being here today. And I remember, I'm blanking on the artist's name, but I follow them on Instagram and they posted this thing that was like essentially saying in every lifetime from back then into the future, they're gonna come back as two-spirit and from their nation. And I, I think about that all the time and like, I wouldn't wanna be anything else, um, like no Hate to the Straits, but I could never <laugh> no <laugh>. It's not in the same capacity. Like, um, but yeah, I love, I love that idea of like our, our queer ancestors are still here and we're always honoring them just by existing and being who we are. Be who you are.
Speaker 4 01:04:59 I think just to add on what Hunter was saying, I think one good question too would be like, cuz you know how today it's like the expectations of what a man should do and what a woman should do when it comes to like giving in a relationship. I would wanna know if that was the same. Like, like what didn't they do? What were the expectations? Or was it just equal give and take, you know what I'm saying? <laugh>?
Speaker 3 01:05:24 Yeah. Oh, I love that one.
Speaker 4 01:05:26 That's one that would be lovely to hear about.
Speaker 2 01:05:30 Yeah, because I, I think like a lot of people who talk about like, like I'm thinking of, uh, when I was in Seja years ago, um, I had a prof that learned that I was Algonquin and she was like, oh, like are you more matriarchal or patriarchal? Cuz the history books say you're patriarchal. And even like my grandparents who obviously were straight, um, as far as I know, um, <laugh>, they, when they were in the bush, like my grandmother was the better shot than my grandfather or, you know, he would drive the boat and she would navigate. But it wasn't gendered. It was what skillset do you have and how can you be a partner to me? You know, I'm sure a lot of our queer relationships back then were about that. Especially like
Speaker 3 01:06:25 <laugh>,
Speaker 2 01:06:25 How, how can we support each other? Um, yeah, but still we'll be cooler to hear it from an ancestor.
Speaker 3 01:06:34 That would be, and it just reminds you of that. I could think about the amount of times which maybe some of us may have heard or maybe familiar with is like, who wears the pants in the relation Yeah. Ands the guy who's the girl all, you know, like more in, uh, we'll say guy to guy relationships. It's like, who's the top, who's the bottom, who's then like all these nosy questions and like, yeah. It's just so interesting how like that like heteronormative, like that idea of even in the, like when it bleeds, so like gender of like that, the power relations within that, like how they bleed into ideas of like queer relationships and what they should look like. But I would like, I would definitely love to sit down with an ancestor and be like, how does, you know, how does the community around you or yourselves like shape that relationship? What does that look like in that like concept? Even in give and take or just being,
Speaker 4 01:07:30 Especially when it comes to femininity and masculinity. Like people think just because you present masculine, it means that you're masculine, but you could be super, it's not feminine and masculinity doesn't have to do with looks. It's what inside There has to be a balance obviously, but in today's world and how people present, um, like just say I dress like a, a dude, like a typical dude who dreads, but I'm obviously like super girly.
Speaker 2 01:08:02 Yeah. That's a whole other like can of worms too is like gender and how it's presented. Like I'll have, I tend to deviate from like femme and like more mask. Yeah. But then I'm like, when I dress mask, like today I, I took a picture and I was like, I feel like a boy in a girl way, but also not a boy, not a girl. Um, yeah, sometimes. And, and that's why like colonial gender norms are so rigid and boring. It's like, can't we just like have fun? Like we should just be able to express these parts of ourselves without worrying that we're not doing it right. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and like, or we're like, I, I remember seeing a tweet that was like, gender is a performance and I wanna be booed off the stage <laugh> I and I like, I think that that applies a lot to like native queer folks where we're, we're just man, we're just here, we're existing and yeah, I really, I like how you both answered this and we kind of took the time to explore it. I think it, it's give you guys have both given me a lot of like things that I wanna percolate on and I'm probably gonna like, carry with me throughout the rest of this week and beyond.
Speaker 2 01:09:32 So two more kind of things to work through. These ones might not be as like heady. Uh, the first one is, what are your hopes for queer Ocwen artists to come? What do you wanna see happening? Um, so I was thinking, or my answer for it is more space for them to create and grow and showcase their work. I think, you know, we're seeing a resurgence of like Algonquin artwork in Ottawa especially. I think there are, like we said, there are so many queer native kids just like popping up out of their, out of everywhere, um, <laugh> cuz they feel safe and they feel comfortable now and nurtured. And I think having spaces where they can also nurture their artistic abilities is really important. Um, and then spaces where they can explore their spirituality traditions and figure out how all of that ties into their artistic practices. So feeling comfortable in ceremonies, feeling comfortable, you know, in community spaces where they can show up as authentically as they need to. Um, that's what I wanna see more of now. What, what do you want? <laugh>? <laugh>
Speaker 4 01:10:50 The clicking up space part is, is what I feel too. And it's like, I don't know, I think what like education being out there more and it's, they just feel more comfortable to come out and just be like, yeah, I'm here. I'm doing it <laugh>, just take it up space and not feeling afraid and ashamed about doing it. Like there's, there's no guilt about doing it. Like there's no second thought about am I taking up too much space? They're just there. They're not, they're confident about it. And that's what I hope for upcoming Agon one queer artist
Speaker 3 01:11:32 Uhhuh, I'm like snapping my fingers to that <laugh>. What honey?
Speaker 4 01:11:37 Because I still obviously, I still feel like, like I get imposter syndrome lady. Woo.
Speaker 3 01:11:43 I was about to say that. That was gonna be one of my, I know <laugh>,
Speaker 4 01:11:47 I hope that doesn't happen with them. Like it, it might happen but like they could quickly go back to being like, Nope, I am worth it. I am here and I believe in myself and if you don't then get out. Like,
Speaker 3 01:12:05 I love that, that's so important. Especially that, you know, I think we all, I think almost any, any artist that has a passion for what they do or drive or love you, you experience it at least once. That imposter syndrome of feeling like I'm not good enough or why am I here? Or all those questions of doubt and stuff really invade the mind and it makes working on things extra, extra hard. But like to kind of build off what both of you said, which is the number one drive of what I want to see for queerness youth, uh, is just that space, safe space to be who you are, whatever that may look like, to express yourself in a free way and to have that sense of community, to feel safe, to feel like you belong, to feel like I don't need to fit a certain mold in order to survive.
Speaker 3 01:12:57 Like I could just be me, like Ms. Cle said just be, and then that's all that that's all there is to it. And that we could coexist then be able to dabble into that artistic expression like you mentioned summer, to have that space to be able to express ourselves in that way no matter what that may look like. Cuz I think giving the opportunity to have that, whether it be like in community, outside community, and I say that word community too in a more like broad sense cuz I might not actually be on reserve. It might be like, you know, in an urban setting might not even be a physical setting, might actually just be who you're with. But to have that opportunity to fully express, feel comfort in who you are and to let that out in a more external way. Like I can't imagine the things that Reid have or you know, the Ken Monkman that Reid have coming out of KZ or anywhere from Rapid Lake, from Laxy, from Pentagon, anywhere.
Speaker 3 01:13:54 Like to have that space to just feel safe who you are and to have that sense of community backing you up and belonging and being able to connect with others in that way. Like that would be the dream to see those, more of those spaces erupt. And I think we're all doing the work. Like I gotta, I'm giving us credit all here today to just say that that just us being out there and doing stuff and on like multitudes of levels of representation online, offline and physical spaces, like people seeing it, it's cha it's changing And seeing the youth already like some mentioned how some of them are just popping up left and right. Like I remember the people only being out when I was younger was a lot of older folk, like way older than me. My current partner was actually one of them.
Speaker 3 01:14:43 Not gonna say he's that old. I'm like, <laugh>, I old. I ain't age shaving or nothing. They ain't no ageism coming outta me with that <laugh>. But I just know that at the time they were uh, they were in different stages of life than I was being very young. And you know, it felt very isolating and I'm pretty sure a lot of us, you know, it was all a secret. It was something we had to carry within us day in, day out for the moment we opened our eyes and shut them. So I think like just seeing all the, the comfort and this idea of being open about who we are, being more of like an empowering thing, especially with their youth. Like we, we need those spaces and whether, whether it be us that creates them or even themselves that just pilot them and do it. Like it's, they're so needed cuz we don't know what could come out from them and what more, what, what they'll create for the people below for the next that come.
Speaker 4 01:15:38 Not even just for youth, like for the older generations who are still, that still have a lot on a learning to do and like they have deco like colonized minds and theories and shit. But even with the kids, kids can be inspirations for the older generations.
Speaker 3 01:15:58 Oh a hundred percent. Even that opening up, maybe not even just leaving it to youth, opening up to like anyone, anybody no matter the age, no matter where. Cuz I'm sure there's probably like, you know, maybe even people feeling so stuck in a closet after all these years or people who would carry that part with them to the grave due to the act that real, you know, toxic thing of shame. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. But to even have like that idea that even elders could come to this space and share and open up and explore that idea of who they are or it'd be, that would be the dream. And that's not for just like K Z's community, that's for like Algonquin Nation, like beyond the borders or even two have Quebec in Ontario. Like
Speaker 2 01:16:46 I think it's, it's also what we deserve to have in our communities. Like you, especially like you talked about the older generation and we know how difficult it can be sometimes to like, and it's not like their lack of trying all the time. Like there's, I think of my mom who like over the last few years especially, has really like become such a, like she's so good at pronouns. She, she works as like an administrator or she used to work as a vice principal in a high school and she would like fight for trans kids to like go to the right classes or be addressed by the right names and save spaces. And like, not to say that she wasn't always open-minded, but she's been very receptive to catching up with kind of where queerness is, the conversations on queerness are at now. Um, cuz they're, they're always expanding and I think like, you know, the older generation should feel that, yeah, safe safety and learning safety and unlearning and yeah.
Speaker 2 01:17:55 Safety and, and being who they are also. Um, yeah. Thank you both for, for touching on that. Like, I, I really appreciate it. Um, and I guess that that leads into our, our final question. Um, and I really, I know this whole conversation has been something that's been very like, like my energy is up and I feel very happy and celebratory. Yeah. We're we're going, we're doing good. Um, I feel like this is gonna be such a gift for the people who listen to it. I hope, I hope it's not calling it too much by saying that, but, um, it feels like a gift to me. We're blessed for you. Just kidding. Brad, we we're blessing your little, your drums with their, their Casey accents and big gay ideas, um, <laugh>. So the last question we'll touch on and then we'll wrap it up, um, and I'll let you answer it first, but what's your favorite thing about being queer in Algonquin?
Speaker 3 01:19:04 I think my favorite part is, is to just have that like layered like intersectional identity. Like I feel like I'm freely able to dabble and express myself in many ways. I mean, there's still a lot of learning and unlearning to do and still aspects of shame that come along with that. But to be able to dabble in, uh, different parts of myself and to be able to express that in a more freely and open way and to I think get better understandings too of not only myself, but the, the people around me to, to be able to be kind of sometimes even like a chameleon to blend in with many different crowds. To have that ability to socialize with many different groups, uh, regardless of the background they come from in terms of like gender and sexuality. Like being able to see in a, in a personal way of different things, where they're coming from and the best ways that I can with my lived experience.
Speaker 3 01:20:09 Uh, I think that's one of my most favorite things. And that's not only like that as a queer person, but uh, as a queer Algonquin person to be able to understand how others indigene and queerness inter lap and being able to navigate those things together. And what does that look like for me? What does that look like for someone else? The differences, similarities, and yeah, I think just being able to, to have that, that, that so, so much rich and insightful layers within us. It's, it's, it's, it's amazing. It's, it's super well, and that's what I truly cherish about that like my, my queer Algon identity.
Speaker 2 01:20:52 I'm right there with you, both of you. I think like, um, the way that I I had it was we're able to view the world through a lens that isn't rooted in like cisgendered heteropatriarchy gender roles or feeling limited in those ways. And if we are, we're actively trying to unlearn them because we understand like who we are, who we're trying to be outside of what we've been taught. Um, I think that being queer and being Algonquin or being indigenous in general is like a freedom, a deep love for life and everything that that encompasses, whether it's the people, the land, um, the language, the ceremonies, uh, as Algonquin people as Anishnabe. We're lucky to have grown up with a worldview that is so rooted in respect and love and care for everything around us. Like our ancestors have left us with so many incredible gifts. And I think that sharing even glimpses of them through the work that we do as artists is a powerful thing. And you know, I think that I wrote, hopefully this is something our descendants will fall in love with too, but I think that based on the kind of love we've been pouring into this conversation today, they will. And I just wanna say like a big, big migo for, for being here today and sharing those parts of yourself. And I, I appreciate you both and respect you both so much.
Speaker 4 01:22:27 <unk> for having me. It actually made me step out of my comfort zone, so it's also appreciated.
Speaker 2 01:22:36 <laugh>, I'm so happy you did.
Speaker 3 01:22:38 Oh yes. <unk> Summer <inaudible>, like having this space, I think we're all, we were all well aware of, you know, we all kind of grew up in a similar paths and knowing who we are, coming from the same community, really young, but I don't think we ever had the chance, I think, as all of us as individual artists to actually sit down and talk about ourselves and our practices. And so I think having just that between us, this, this, this time of sharing this, uh, this intimacy with each other, like, I really hope this, this opens it up for, you know, more growing together as artists, bonding, you know, friendships, bonding, and even for those listening for the, you know, queer youth back home that, you know, you're there, there's other people like you around you. And then it's so rich to build that sense of community. And we're here, we're listening, we're rooting for y'all, and just having this, just being able to speak about ourselves, it, it's so fulfilling and it, it feels really, really good. So yeah. Thank you. Thank you for having all of us here. I really appreciate it. Woo. We did it.
Speaker 6 01:23:47 Woo <laugh>
Speaker 1 01:23:50 To be continued troubling. The Archive is hosted and produced by Anna Hawk. Technical support for the show comes through from Finn's Sun. A major thanks goes to Hunter Dee for their wonderful work in creating the logo for the series. The Intro and Outdoor Commission works by artist Chris Bucko Binowski. The show would not be possible without the support of Qag and the Canna Council for the Arts Digital Now Grant.