Ep. 2: Howard Adler and Kole Peplinskie

Episode 2 October 07, 2020 00:45:47
Ep. 2: Howard Adler and Kole Peplinskie
To Be Continued: A Stonecroft Symposium Podcast
Ep. 2: Howard Adler and Kole Peplinskie
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Show Notes

Welcome to Episode 2 of “To Be Continued: A Stonecroft Symposium Podcast”! 

In this episode, curator Anna Shah Hoque talks with filmmaker Howard Adler and artist Kole Peplinskie about beading practices, indigiqueer identities and generating creative community spaces.

“To Be Continued: Troubling the Queer Archive” is on view at Carleton University Art Gallery. Featuring: Barry Ace, Howard Adler, Aymara Alvarado Sanchez, Pansee Atta, Rosalie Favell, Ashley Grenstone, RJ Jones, Don Kwan, Ed Kwan AKA China Doll, Kole Peplinskie, Adrienne Row-Smith, Pride Is Political, Shanghai Restaurant. 

Produced by Fin Xuan Tran, Anna Shah Hoque, Cara Tierney, this episode was recorded in Ottawa, on unceded Algonquin territory. 

The graphic for this podcast features beaded pins by Ottawa-based artist and musician Larissa Desrosiers (Anishinaabe/Ojibwe). The pins were commissioned as gifts for the podcast participants. You can find more of her work at @bangishimonbeadwork. 

CUAG acknowledges with sincere gratitude the support of the Stonecroft Foundation for the Arts, which promotes education in the visual arts and fosters the public’s appreciation of the visual arts. 

Find more about the exhibition (and book your visit) on CUAG's website: http://cuag.ca 

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:09 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:00:16 To be continued, a stone cross symposium podcast in today's episode on a Shaw Hawk talks, beading practices and digit cure identities and generating creative community spaces with Howard Adler and Colpitts Berlinski Speaker 0 00:00:31 <inaudible>. Hi folks, Speaker 1 00:00:38 Welcome to today's podcast, featuring activist artists, Howard Adler, and pulpits Minsky. The show is happening as an ongoing commitment to lift past the liminality of the exhibit to be continued troubling. The queer archive, which is being shown at the Carlton university art gallery, the gallery in the university occupies the unseated and unsurrendered territories of the Algonquin people. The relationships we have with universities and galleries are often mediated through the roles they've played within colonial projects of nation building. That's. Our aim with this show is to combat the everlasting legacy of the white CIS heteronormative settler colonial systems at play that prioritize a narrative that leaves as an afterthought. Two-spirit queer trans indigenous black people of color, voices and realities. Today. Our show is about the platform that art provides when married with activist interventions. My name is Anisha Hawk, and I, along with Carra tyranny are the co curators for, to be continued. Speaker 1 00:01:34 This juxtaposition of art meeting activism plays a particularly important role in my own position as a queer refugee of color in a settler colonial context. Art is really the thing that mobilized and informed me of the, sort of the concurrent alternate histories and stories that inform what is now currently Canada, even the idea of Canada as an absolute and troubling. That notion was something that I only became aware of through my relationship with art. You know, certain art and artists politicized me both through their critiques and interrogations of settler colonial narratives simultaneously. You know, other artists sort of showed me the joy and the love that's threaded through their practice that celebrated their own communities, but also sort of tied it to broader conversations about things that are happening in the world and different geographies. So thinking about connecting causes and strategies across geographies was something that was an important takeaway. Speaker 1 00:02:27 The importance around surrounding the conversation around marrying art with activism is very much that these two things coming at the intersections together is the gift. It sort of connects what's happening on the ground locally and links it to macro and micro levels. Today. We're so fortunate to have two individuals who leverage art and multiple modalities to rally community to come together and offset the dominant archives and dominant narratives call Howard. I would love for each of you to sort of introduce yourselves to who you are, how you came to be in Ottawa, and we'll from there cold. You want to go first? Speaker 2 00:03:01 Yeah, sure. So, hi, my name is Cole. I introduced myself, which I am trying to pick up as a part of my decolonization journey and reclamation journey of my indigenous culture. I am from Eagle village first nation, but I grew up in North Bay and came to Ottawa about 10 years ago, just study at Ottawa university and I use data on pronouns. I think that's it. Awesome, Howard. Hi, Beaujolais <inaudible> uh, Howard in addition to cause <inaudible>, uh, <inaudible> uh, and <inaudible> King podcast. My name is Howard Adler. I'm an initial Bay and Jewish. My family is from a community called luck. Damie lack first nation, or, uh, Nasar to Kong in a Jewish way. Like Cole, Ben tried to pick up the Anishinaabe memo in language as an adult, trying to reclaim the language that was basically stolen from our family through various historical processes. But, uh, yeah, so I grew up in Southern Ontario. I didn't grow up on the reserve, came to Ottawa for university. So I guess I'm, I'm mixed blood, urban queer indigenous person. I also identify as two spirit Nisha Manitowoc. Speaker 1 00:04:37 Thanks, Howard. And what pronouns would you prefer me to be using? Speaker 2 00:04:42 I'm good with he, him or they them. Speaker 1 00:04:44 Okay. Amazing. I think it's really awesome that you both sort of started out with thinking about the language reclamation and what it means for your identity. I will maybe call on each of you to sort of expand a little bit more on that. So in terms of thinking about the language around to spirit and what does that mean for each of you? How did you come across thinking through that particular identity lens and how does that fall in with also, um, being queer and indigenous? Like how does that shape who you are in this city and the various communities that are in the city? Speaker 2 00:05:16 That is a big question. And that is a big question. Do you want to rock paper scissors? Cool. No, you can go ahead. All right. Um, in terms of like the language of two spirit, I guess I first came across it in my early twenties. I remember finding this book called two spirit people in a bookstore and it had like a feather on it. I don't know if you've seen that book, but it's one of the first books I saw that was like about it's very academic, but it was one of the first times I like saw anything about two spirit and yeah, I think it just kind of felt like when I first learned about this term and what it meant, uh, I kind of felt like, okay, here's, here's something that kind of fits and makes me feel comfortable with my identity. Um, I don't feel like I, I don't think anybody ever just like instantly fits in with the LGBTQ plus community kind of find your place. Speaker 2 00:06:15 I feel like that was a term that sat well with me right away, mostly because the history of it being a term that was created by indigenous people, for indigenous people at a conference gathering of two spirit people back in the nineties. So the creation of this term for us made me feel more comfortable with it. I know there are critiques of the term itself. I like the term, but I do think that it's always best. If you have the knowledge or the accessibility to find the words in your own language, whether that's in a snobby or holding a show or whatever culture you're from, if there are words that exist in your language for, I don't know how to say it, two spirit people, I guess if there are words in your language too, you know, it's always best to try and re reclaim those and reuse those. So yeah, I guess that's where I'm at with the term two spirit. Speaker 3 00:07:03 Yeah. So similarly, when I came to Ottawa, like I moved away from my small town and came to Ottawa for school, mostly, very closeted, very unsure of where I was on my career journey. And I started volunteering for a local organization doing workshops and stuff. And through that, I met another two-spirit individual. Who's still a good friend of mine today who invited me to cohost a workshop with them about two-spirit identities. And I was like, wait, this is a thing, like I had no idea didn't know about it. And they were like, you're indigenous. Maybe you should just cohost it with me. And I was like, okay. And then ever since that, they were like, I mostly invited you to do this because you're two-spirit, I just thought I'd let you know. And I was like, what? Speaker 3 00:07:53 And then I liked through that talking to elders in Tewkesbury elders, um, I realized that that term does fit me. It kind of like what Howard was saying. Like I found it and it felt like home, it encompasses for me both like my gender identity. So like in colonial terms, going back to language, I would identify as like a non binary trans person with my sexuality being bisexual or queer or whatever you want to call it. But I think Western society loves a good binary and loves a good box. And I felt like I am too magical to fit in a box. Like I don't want to be boxed in, especially with expectations that are so heavily tied to colonialism. So two-spirit felt like that word of coming home and that I can live with outside those boxes, but still be able to communicate who I am to people outside. So, you know, when I say two-spirit, Speaker 2 00:08:56 Some people know what that means. Some people don't know what that means, but everyone kind of has, like, they know that it means like queer or that it's part of like the LG broader LGBTQ community and indigenous it's really important for me as a mixed kid as well. You can't have my queerness without my indigenousness. You can't have one without the other. And I feel like a lot of the time in our community is we're asked to hold back different parts of ourselves to fit into like these boxes. And for me, like you're going to have all of me or none of me. So yeah. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:09:32 I think that's really beautiful. I feel like there's a meme in the making with like I'm too magical to fit into a box. Speaker 2 00:09:42 Great. Glad to help. I agree. I'm going to, I'm taking notes here. I'm going to, Speaker 4 00:09:49 Honestly, I really think this would be an amazing collaborative moment. Speaking of collaborations, there was a project that you were both part of. You were part of a film, one contrary, five <inaudible>. How did that project sort of come across? Um, how did you cross paths? Speaker 2 00:10:06 That's a good question. I don't exactly remember the specifics of how me and Cole cross paths do you? I also don't. I was like, like Matt, on this film, like we met maybe, but a little bit before the film, but just in like queer circles. Yeah. Ottawa is a small community. And then you throw like queer community, internet it's even smaller. Yeah. But I honestly, I don't remember either like the specifics and I was like trying to rack my brain and I was like, no, I can provide a bit more context on the film though. Yeah, that'd be fantastic. Howard. So the film we were shooting was called one contrary five <inaudible> basically I had made a film before this called one girl five bears. It was basically one drag queen and five gay bearish men. And it was a spoof of a TV show. We'll call one girl, five gays, which used to be on MTV or some of the much music or something. Anyway. So I did this spoof film and it was just them talking about men's issues, masculinity and body issues. And it was really cool. And then my friend caramel karma, widdle, uh, she really loved it. And she was like, let's do one with two spirit people. I was like, that's a great idea. Let's do it. And that's basically how that film idea came about. And we ended up shooting it twice, actually, cause the first shoot, my bag got stolen and all the footage got stolen with it. Oh my God. Speaker 2 00:11:39 It was devastating. I was so I was so upset. Anyway, everybody was so invested in it. We planned a second shoot and we shot it and the film got made and I'm really happy that it did get made. That's wicked. Speaker 4 00:11:54 And since then it's been screened a couple of times. And I'm trying to sort of think about like in terms of the film and the organizations that did the viewings, what was that like? Did you have an opportunity to sort of speak beyond the text of the film itself, like coming in as a panel to share stories with each other? Speaker 2 00:12:12 Yeah. It's screened a couple of times it's screened in like a community center here in Ottawa and I think me caramel and one other person from the film was there and we did like a Q and a, and it was interesting because the audience was all newcomers and immigrants. So the audience was really, I don't know, they were really interested in the fact that there was a history of colonialism here, cause they're coming from countries where they're escaping certain situations. Right. And to learn that indigenous people up here are also like survivors of certain things. I think they were just kind of really interested in that idea and it was kind of new to them. So we had a lot of engaging discussion at that Q and a and then the second time I remember it screening was in Kingston at the real out queer film festival. Again, it was, I think there was three of us at the Q and a, and it was definitely a completely different audience, a lot of, I guess, more of a mainstream audience and some indigenous people. Yeah. It was, it was really good feedback. I think people were just not used to hearing queer indigenous people talk candidly about their experiences. And I think there's a need for that, Speaker 4 00:13:21 For sure. I think you bring up such a great point, Howard, in terms of outsider perspective of what we know now as Canada, how it gets framed. And so when you have people who are like coming from other colonial histories and they enter into this geography, there isn't like a pre no knowledge in the same way, your creative practices are kind of engaging with those interventions, those historic interventions. And I'm wondering like before we actually go to the specificities of it, if we can have a conversation about what does that mean for you as like activists and artists, because you're both on the front lines, what does that creative process do for you? Like, you know, if we think about the chicken or the egg sort of scenario, is there even a separation Cole? Do you want to go first? Speaker 2 00:14:02 Yeah, I guess like my activism definitely came first. I was volunteering for local or doing workshops, going to schools and youth, mostly youth based work and doing workshops and education work. And when my grandmother, my Nana, who is actually not indigenous, but her husband was Mae tea and she was very supportive of him and his culture. And she was very involved in her friendship center and learned how to be and was a part of a women's drumming group. And like just like really wanting her children and grandchildren to grow up with the indigenous culture, which is like really beautiful. And so when she passed, I actually inherited all of her beating supplies and I kind of used that medium as a way to like grieve her and grieve the loss of my grandfather who had passed before her, which I hadn't like properly processed. So for me, this form of artwork came to me as like a form of healing. Speaker 2 00:15:02 And I very much believe that our beating is medicine and that you're putting your heart and soul and your energy into this medium that's so time consuming, I can like feel the ancestors. I can feel their energy or I can feel full before me have done this art form. So like to answer your question, I think as be as like this medicine, not only to heal myself, but to heal our communities and to heal these parts of ourselves that are like hurting from this colonial violence. So, you know, I do beading workshops or beating circles just with like other queer folks or indigenous folks are just open to anyone as long as like you're using it for healing and not like appropriating or like trying to profit off from it. Like I think that it's beautiful and open to everyone. Um, and that's just my opinion, but yeah, now that I've found this medium, I feel like it goes back to that. Like, you can't have my queerness without my indigenousness and you can't have my art without the fact that it's indigenous or, and queer and activism work and revolution and artwork. So Speaker 1 00:16:19 Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think that's a beautiful way to connect with like your legacies that you carry with you and what the beading practice actually then generates beyond the scope of even your own relationship with the beads. Like what you're seeing in terms of the beating circles, uh, and the other sort of workshop setups. Howard, what about you? How did you come into beading? Speaker 2 00:16:37 That's a good question. I think I first learned to be read when I was working briefly at the Maytee center at the national Aboriginal health organization years ago. I'd never done beading before, but there was a Maytee artist named Brian sear, but he did a workshop with some of the staff at some point, for some reason, I don't remember the specifics, but he taught me the matey wave beating with like two needles. And I did it a little beat flower and it was my first thing and I loved it and it was really just a really, um, therapeutic or like, I dunno, I felt, it felt very calming. That was kind of my first attempt at it. And over the years I've done a lot of beating projects. My mom used to bead and I found all my mom's old beating supplies and pillaged them. I'm like mom can, and T even had like old beading patterns that she had drawn up. And so I beaded to a dress shirt with like some designs that she had made during the quarantine thing. I got really heavy into the beadwork. I feel like it was a really appealing use of time during the global pandemic when you're everybody's on lockdown, I was beating like a crazy person every day for like six, seven, eight hours a day, beating, beating, beating. I agree with you on that. Speaker 2 00:17:52 I finished the whole best, be the best. And I started on a second one as well. I'm beating another vest for my older brother, Shawn, I'm planning to keep beating. I want to make one for my twin brother. And also I want to make a one from my friend, Chris. So I, yeah. Beating is just kind of addictive. I kind of love it. And yeah, I also wanted to just quickly address something cold said about like, you can't have my indigeneity within my queerness or vice versa backtracking a bit. I think that I kind of relate to that when I was, you know, a young, younger person. I kind of felt like I couldn't be a, I don't know how to phrase it. I felt like I couldn't be queer in native spaces. And I felt like I couldn't be native in queer spaces. It was this weird disconnect where I don't know, I just didn't feel comfortable being the entirety of myself in different spaces. And I think it was learning about what two-spirit is that helped me be more comfortable with who I am. Speaker 1 00:18:50 Yeah. I mean, I think you raise a really good point, Howard, in terms of where a sum of a whole, right. It's not parts of ourselves that can only function in silos. What did you like? You know, the landscape in Ottawa has shifted so much, but when you were referring to like coming into the city as a youth, what was that like? What was, um, you know, what was, for instance, like one of the first sort of events that you attended a first art event or a first activist event that you went to that sort of really left an impact on you? Speaker 2 00:19:18 Do you want to go first Cole? I'm sure. I don't remember specifics, but like when I came, I came for school when I was 18 and I was, Oh my God, I can't, which is 10 years ago. Um, and I was such a baby and didn't know like anything about myself. I feel like everyone feels that way when you're a teen and you're figuring out who you are and you're exploring. But like when you throw queerness into the mix or like racialized identity into the mix, you're like adding more things to figure out and like conceptualize code switching is like a big thing. Where is it safe to be authentic? And where are these spaces that feels safe for you to let those walls down? Growing up in a smallish town that was like, I didn't grow up on reserve. The reserve was like 30 minutes away. It was very separate. So I grew up without knowing traditions or like really knowing my community. And so when I came to Ottawa, I made the conscious effort, especially when I heard the term two-spirit. Cause like I said, that was when I started to feel whole is when I heard that term, that felt like a good feeling. So to choose that feeling, I wanted to not only explore these queer scenes, but was exploring at the time, Speaker 3 00:20:48 But also explore like these indigenous communities as well and find space for both parts of myself. There wasn't a specific events that I've been to that like really made me feel that way. So I think like the way that I worked that out is that I started creating them like I'm making and taking out my own space and making my own space. And the way I did that is, um, for the organization that I used to work for, I, we did a two-spirit campaign. Um, and so we had a big like launch party. This was like 2016. So we had like a big celebration. We had throat singers and dancers and uh, the documentary to soft things, to hard things screened in Don Donald Park. I'm very much like if there's no space for me or I can't find that space or it's hard to access, I try to make it myself, which isn't always accessible for everyone. Speaker 3 00:21:51 Um, and I've been fortunate enough to be able to create those spaces. Even the film that Howard I worked on, even that was like one of the first times that I had been in a room with five other, very like gender diverse folks who were indigenous. And we all had very different experiences, but we all had very similar experiences too. And that was like really affirming and lovely. And like that film was super fun. I mean, it sucks that we had to do it twice, but like, it was also kind of like a blessing because then we got to hang out more and have these conversations and I feel like, yeah, these conversations need to happen. And these spaces need to be created. I think it was a couple of years ago, there was the two-spirit ball. I think it was last year. And that was, that was another like really amazing event. Speaker 3 00:22:39 And you're seeing more, you know, two-spirit in this queer indigenous culture, like a rupture, like, and in, on a Chavez culture specifically, if there's a prophecy of the seventh generation and the seven fires and it talks about how our ancestors wait for the seventh generation to come to like essentially like change the world. And a lot of people say that we're in that seventh fire now. Um, but you see that a lot, even with like the protests or movements with West Wharton and what's happening in Navajo nation and all these other things, the people in the front lines are young queer two-spirit youth who are doing this work, who are challenging these notions of gender, challenging, these notions of what it means to have relation to the land and they're creating these spaces. So it goes beyond just the Ottawa scene and goes like far, far beyond that too, like borders. And we are reclaiming not only like one piece of, but a whole way of being Speaker 1 00:23:50 Before we shift over to Howard Cole, just to continue with some of the things that you were bringing up. And when you're talking about creating these spaces for yourself or for community members, what are some of the challenges that you've encountered coming into the auto space at that point, you know, as a baby queer and then has that sort of landscape change for you now and like how you can put events together, how you can sort of rally folks to come together from like the earliest histories of where you tried to set the pathway for where it is now. Speaker 3 00:24:18 Yeah. I think one of the main barriers is tokenization and this idea, especially like being a young queer person, a lot of folks were, and just because of the history of colonization, they were ready to explain my labor and my emotional labor and my like everything to like create these spaces under the guise of like creating these spaces for a good reason, but actually just there or like, okay, let's tick this box. Like we have a land acknowledgement and now we're not racist. Like, you know, rock colonial or like, Oh, it's okay. We have a two-spirit person on our staff. So it's fine. Like, um, so I think that was like my name barrier and like creating these spaces, I'm making them safe. And when I say safe, I don't mean for a white queer person. I mean, for the street involved drug using, I want it safe for everyone. Speaker 3 00:25:20 I want someone who, you know, we have a lot of high rates of drug use and homelessness and our indigenous communities. Why aren't our street involved, folks able to access these events? I think that was a big part of me. Like reasons why we have it. I had our event in a park. I wanted people to have access and there's a lot of colonial tape and gatekeeping around who has access to ceremony who has access to these spaces. And, uh, for me that was like a big, I want these spaces to be accessible for everyone as, or as accessible as they can possibly be. And when I talk about ceremony, I'm not talking just about the ceremony that you go to in a sweat lodge or whatever. But I mean, like even just the ceremony of like connecting and the ceremony of like sharing space, sharing food, sharing medicines, and I feel we often don't get those times together or there's a lot of gatekeeping alone who's allowed to access those spaces. So that's like the main barriers I think for me now I've definitely learned to pick and choose my battles. Um, and I mean that in a way of like, I put my boundaries first, now I know when someone's Speaker 2 00:26:44 Using me for good or evil, like I know when someone is genuine and has the same intentions as me or someone that just wants me to do a thing. So they can tick off a box on their organization. That's not to say that I might not do the ladder because the space needs to be created, but it just means that I'm aware of those things. And I'm aware of like how to navigate those systems better now. Right. Speaker 1 00:27:13 Right. I want to come back to some of the things that you're bringing up. Cool. I just want to have an opportunity for Howard to share, and then maybe we can come back to thinking about like, as a youth, the spaces that you've had to generate for yourself. And then what does that mean? Um, when you're shifting from being a youth to becoming a youth mentor, but, uh, let's revisit with Howard first and then we'll come back to that. So like, as Cole was sharing about what it meant for them to generate a space because the space wasn't necessarily easily available for them when they came into the Ottawa scene as a youth, what did that look like for you coming into the Ottawa landscape? What kind of spaces existed for you? How did you get into the sort of both creative and political communities that you're now deeply entrenched in? Speaker 2 00:27:55 Yeah. So I guess when I first came to Ottawa, it was in my mid twenties. So it was a bit older and like many queer people still figuring out who the fuck I was, but I came to university. So I was in the Canadian says program at Carlton. And I, you know, I had a, a group of other indigenous students that I was in class with and became friends with. So I did find a community here. Um, hanging out in the old native students lounge in the tunnel system, there, there was like three computers in like a dirty old couch. Um, the new one is much more fancy. And, um, just like also considering myself, an artist probably found, saw video or saw gallery at some point and just started going to their events and programming and found spaces like that, that are, um, you know, supportive of artists. And, uh, what was the second part of your question? Speaker 1 00:28:58 Like, so you're talking about places like saw video, where there spaces that you could readily access. What did the institutional access look like for you? Speaker 2 00:29:06 Well, I mean, I think that there are basically no spaces for two spirit people in my experience. Like not really, I feel like things are getting a bit better, but there's still, there's queer organizations and there's indigenous organizations. And sometimes the queer organizations will do native programming and vice versa. Sometimes the native organizations will try and do some two-spirit things, but it's kind of just like this afterthought or something. I think that's still a problem. I think that there aren't specifically always safe spaces for us as two spirit people. So I think that's still an ongoing struggle. I kind of agree with a lot of what Cole said about creating your own space. And I always came at things sort of as an artist and a filmmaker. Um, I remember my friend did a TP confessions event at Carlton and it wasn't queer specific, but it was like very, you know, open. Speaker 2 00:29:59 And I ended up making a film with Charlotte at the TB confessions and it was called snag lines. Oh, I remember I was there. I thought it was so good. It was so fun. I just set up like a microphone and a camera and it was open. Anybody could just tell the camera their best pickup line or the best snag line and probably had like a hundred different people tell us their snag lines, or maybe not that many. Anyway, I cut all the pickup lines into one short little four minute video. And I feel like I've come into queer spaces or native queer spaces by creating them. Like after I finished the Carlton, I kind of started the SNF cup film festival with my friend Chris Wong. And we'd been doing that festival for nine years now. And I think I've always tried to have queer film programming at the festival. And then, um, last year we ended up planning the two spirit ball and partially from just an admiration and love of all the two spirit talent out there. There's so many amazing indigenous indigent queer artists. And we just wanted to showcase just queer content, just indigent, queer content. And it turned out to be probably one of our most successful events ever in my opinion. Anyway, it was a really good party. Yeah. So I think creating your own spaces and finding spaces is yeah. Speaker 4 00:31:24 <inaudible> yeah. Cool. You've done. Two-spirit blanket exercise before Howard. You're talking about us and Africa film festival in terms of generating support for the events to actually happen. So in terms of like the physical space itself to put these events together, what does that look like for each of you? What kind of support structures did you reach out to, to get the funding, to get the sort of conversation generated so that people would know about it so that like folks could feel safe to come and attend call. Do you want to go first? Can you tell us a little bit more about what the two-spirit blanket exercise is? Speaker 2 00:32:01 Sorry. No, not blanket exercises. So blanket exercise. I don't do blanket exercises, but I do like just general two-spirit workshop. Speaker 4 00:32:11 Okay. All right. Do you wanna like share a little bit of the details of those workshops, what they covered or like how do they come about, what does that relationship look like? Speaker 2 00:32:21 Yeah, mostly when I was working for the nonprofit and Ottawa, um, I used a lot of their resource connections in terms of like being able to use space and their networks. And when I left my contract there or like when my contract ended, I kind of just kept doing workshops so often, like I have a website and do beading workshops and stuff. And just through like talking to folks and having made these spaces in the past, I tend to meet people who are always like interested to learn more. And then I'll just be like, if you would like to learn more, I do workshops or I can speak more on those topics. The workshops that I normally do is I talk about the history of like, two-spirit the term, like, where did it come from? I have been fortunate enough to meet several two-spirit elders and learn some of those teachings and histories about two-spirit in itself. So I try to pass those on and keep sharing those stories. I feel like that's part of my role here is to make sure that these things aren't lost and yeah, that's it. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:33:36 Okay. Howard, you were speaking about the Asana Africa film festival. Do you want to tell us a little bit more about the festival? It's now an Ottawa mainstay, and I know with COVID restraints and all we're potentially looking at a digital version of the festival coming out, but do you want to share with the audience a little bit more about what brought the film festival together? What sort of the focus is and, and how you roll it out, depending on when it's happening in the winter? Like, what are what's one of those sort of primary features in terms of how you show the films and what sort of projection scenario? Speaker 2 00:34:09 Sure. So I guess the festival really started because I had a background in film and really love film. And Chris Wong also had a little bit of a background in film and arts. We were talking about starting some sort of art event randomly in like probably like 2012 or something. And we were actually a meeting up in the summers in, on Victoria Island and practicing a dupe way on Sunday afternoons, you know, once a week kind of thing. And then one time it was like pouring rain. And we took refuge in the library, archives, Canada, and there happened to be a Bollywood film festival on, in the auditorium. We went and saw this great Hollywood film. It got us talking and we're like, why, why isn't there an indigenous film festival in this town? It's the capital. And you know, other cities in Canada have indigenous film festivals. Speaker 2 00:35:05 And so the next thing we knew, we were writing grants and trying to get it off the ground. And we got some funding approved and the first year we didn't know what we were doing, but we did it. And then, yeah, and then we just kept going with the festival, figuring out what works and what doesn't work. We always wanted to like prioritize indigenous made film and video and art and stories and perspectives, and also sort of create like a gathering space for indigenous people to share and come together. So some of things that we do have been film screenings. Yeah. But we've always started with an opening night outdoor film screening. Uh, it used to be on Victoria Island, outdoors and outdoor screening. It was open free to the public good way to start things off. And then we also worked with like local artists were on senators, like saw gallery and gallery one, a one to curate and art exhibition focusing on indigenous artists with a theme each year. It changes. And then we always included music programming since the first year we've always had musicians and performers and yeah. So it's kind of a mix of different arts and yeah, I guess we just always really wanted to just showcase and celebrate the amazing indigenous artistic talent out there. Um, yeah. Speaker 1 00:36:21 Yeah. I think you'd do that successfully. Like there's such a breadth to the work that's shown and like when it moved over to lands down, what's now called TD place, having the ice screening in the winter time, that's always something that is not a common practice in the city. Right. So it's definitely something that like folks are curious and wanting to know. And I think it's such a wonderful way to like get people to come out in the winter. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:36:46 Yeah. Okay. So the snow screen, something we do with the SNF go festival and it's like not the main festival, but we usually do try and do different screenings in one off screenings and programming throughout the year. And back in, uh, I got, I don't know when that was, but we, me and Chris went to this conference. It was actually a gathering of indigenous film festival organizers from all over the world. So that imaginative and Toronto kind of organized this conference. And at this conference we met the coolest people that are planning indigenous film festivals from like Hawaii to New Zealand, to Finland and South America. And it was an unbelievable experience, but we met us Suna and she was Sammy from Gamago, but film festival in Finland, I believe in that. And anyway, she told us how bad their festival, they do this outdoor winter, snow screening. Speaker 2 00:37:36 They build this Johnny snows, snow theater and they screen films. And then like Chris was ever since then, Chris was like talking about, we got to do this, we got to do this finally, like two years after we first heard about, I was like, fine, let's do it. I think we got like under $2,000 from like a couple different organizations or something. So we have the tiniest budget, you know, we literally built screen like ourselves with like shovels. And like we brought in a July Patty and Inuits snow cover who kind of taught us how to Ellis saw blocks of snow into cubes. And we spent like two days, like building this wall of snow to protect films on. And yeah, so there's no screens really fun. It's really cold and we've been doing it. I think we've done it three or four years now. And it's kind of like, we always do it with like almost no budget and just with the labor of love and the support of the city who donates the space and resources, but mostly just our own time and labor to get it going. It's pretty cool. We films Speaker 3 00:38:36 On a screen made of snow in the winter. You got to check it out. It's beautiful Speaker 4 00:38:41 Folks. Haven't been to an, and I've winter screenings and very direly needed to be a thing you're both talking about doing works to your different organizational relationships. Pull you'd mentioned that you'd been with a nonprofit before Howard, your work with saw gallery and having film making workshops as we're wrapping up. I'll revisit a question I'd mentioned before. So as you're going from a youth Howard, I know you mentioned you came to Ottawa a little bit later in your twenties, but I'm still gonna frame that as youth, but you're now going into youth mentorship territory, and that's what you've been cultivating, both your artistic practices and your organizational relationships. What do you wish for the president in terms of resources, but what do you wish for ideally in the auto landscape for what it could look like for two-spirit creatives, for indigent queer youth to be encouraged to produce and take up ownership of telling stories? Speaker 3 00:39:34 I'll let Howard go first this time. I guess I really like to see organizations make more dedicated, continuous inclusion of two spirit programs and arts programming and not just doing it kind of like sporadically, if that makes sense. Yeah. I mean, with that said, I've got, I've always tried to include like, not every year, but a lot of years we've done two spirit dedicated film programs and you know, we've always tried to make space for that at the festival. And I just wish other organizations would do that a bit more. Yeah. Right. Yeah. I agree. Like, I feel like a lot of time gender issues in terms of like indigenous organizations, gender issues, or two-spirit NAS like come secondary, or it's only like funded for a short period of time. Right. I currently work for an indigenous organization on a gender project and it's funded through the government, the women and gender equality department. Speaker 3 00:40:39 And that's like just a four year program, but like, how do we keep these for like the small projects off the shelf and going for more longevity, how do we create these spaces? Um, and continue these conversations, um, in a sustainable way so that they don't just collect dust. Um, and when I say collect, as I'm thinking specifically about like toolkits or events, you know, like how do we make sure that they are ongoing? And we give our communities the tools that they need to like, self-sustain these conversations. So that's definitely something that I'm looking into and trying to answer those questions for myself. And it all comes down to money, which is like really unfortunate in our capitalist society that like, it's, where's the funding going to, we're all Speaker 4 00:41:34 Fighting for the same crumb of funding. And so, you know, I think spaces like this, like art galleries or exhibits like this that include these voices and are creating these platforms. You know, like this podcast is excellent for having these conversations. When I first got here, Howard first got to Ottawa and these conversations weren't happening and now they're happening. Like, that's amazing if I was 18 and hearing a podcast or hearing about something, maybe that would have helped my trajectory. So that's my hope is that, you know, maybe some young queer indigenous person is able to come to the exhibit and just see representation that they so desperately need, but don't have, you know, with podcasts, the internet, now we can reach farther audiences. And that is beautiful. Yeah. I think you bring in like such a beautiful point of both of you in terms of when it comes to like the pragmatic of like the fact that we exist inside a capitalist space. Speaker 4 00:42:43 So that like funding is so direly needed in order to get things off the ground and to keep them continuously rolling and then to exist beyond the snapshot of a moment when you're coming in in terms of like reaching internal community, but also just like trying to situate yourself and Ottawa, you know, it's harder I find to break into to just come in and all of a sudden all the resources are like in your face, they're really not. You almost have to seek them out and sort of like DIY your own adventure. Yeah. So then what kind of resources can exist that are accessible, that aren't like reliant on you having to like fund your way into those spaces. Right. And that they're, they're welcoming you to like generate for yourself and then for your peers and your broader community at large, are there any last questions or thoughts that either of you would like to share before we wrap up our talk today? Yeah. Howard, Speaker 2 00:43:35 No, I can't really think of anything. Just a Timmy Gretchen, a big, thank you for having a song. Speaker 4 00:43:41 It's been really fun chatting. Yeah. Thank you both so much for taking the time and chatting with me. It's always a little bit startling to not have faces to talk with as we're in conversation. So I appreciate the patience and just like sharing your stories with me and with the audience who will listen in on this podcast. Kara and I are so excited to have your work in the show. We can't wait to be able to see them, but also to be able to share the beautiful labors of love that both of you have been working on for so long. So thank you, thanks for this afternoon, but thanks in general for the labor that you've been putting in for having me and for creating this space and creating this conversation, right. Speaker 2 00:44:22 Uh, Speaker 4 00:44:24 Alright. Take care. Everyone. He continued, uh, Stonecraft symposiums podcast Speaker 5 00:44:32 Is produced by Finn sun, Ana Shaw Hawks and Kara Tierney music provided by Ben sound.com. The podcast is part of Carleton university art galleries, virtual stone craft symposium. Symposium's organized in conjunction with the exhibition to be continued troubling. The queer archive, curated by Otto Shah Hawk and Carra Tierney and presented at the gallery in the fall 2020, the exhibition and podcast expand conversations around local queer histories and futures. We're grateful for the support of Carlton university, the Canada council for the arts, the Ontario arts council and the stone Croft foundation for the arts. The Stonecraft foundation promotes education in the visual arts and fosters the public's appreciation of the visual arts. Find out more about the stone crop symposium by visiting quack.ca that's C U a g.ca Speaker 6 00:45:28 <inaudible>.

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