I am a storyteller regardless of which medium I’m working in: a painting, an audio track, a video, or the craft of writing. Stories that always seek to entertain, enlighten, and de-colonize; drawing heavily on my family history, Anishinaabek language, culture, and methods of storytelling, as well as historical research, dreams, intuition, and synchronism. I write mostly fiction in the Urban Fantasy and Horror genres, the sort of writing I most like to read, and I strive to write as well as my favourite authors, who tend to have a literary, gothic aesthetic, and a dark sense of humour. Stories are the best, funnest, most awesome thing to be involved in creating, and I can’t think of anything better than to be a good storyteller.
As much as I love singing (and I love singing), and song writing, I love more the work of awakening and healing our inner selves through art and music. The process behind each album represents the places or points I am at in my personal healing journey.
My vision is to spread the power of music as a healer.
Susan Aglukark is an Inuit singer from Arviat, Nunavut and currently resides in Oakville, Ontario. htt://www.susanaglukark.com/
“My work is firmly decolonial, a practice of cultural resurgence, affirmation and survivance.”
As an Anishinaabe writer from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON), my work is part of a continuum of artistic cultural practice including oratory, story cycles, songs, chants, invocations, poetry, libretto, stories, novels, essays, radio plays, creative non fiction, “experimental” writing and multidisciplinary works. It arises from the traditions of my people, and the canon of Anishinaabek orature/literature. SON is the home territory of generations of renowned writers, orators, and storytellers including Nahnebahwequay, Basil Johnston, Duke Redbird, Lenore Keeshig and my grandmother Irene Akiwenzie. My work is inspired by my mixed ancestry and the work of other Indigenous artists. In dispelling stereotypes and telling the truth of Indigenous realities in my own way according to concepts of truth and beauty rooted in Indigeneity and Anishinaabe culture, my work is firmly decolonial, a practice of cultural resurgence, affirmation and survivance. It rejects marginalization, centring itself within Anishinaabek creative cultural practice. My writing is inherently political, a form of activism, empowerment and resistance as well as a creative and spiritual act. Stories in my newest book, The Stone Collection, examine love and the ways in which our perceptions of people and the world around us can be misleading and incomplete. In the Anishnaabek language stones are “alive,” infused with life force. Although many of the stories are about loss, under the surface they are “alive," celebrating the beauty and preciousness of life and the web of connections that join and strengthen us.
Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm is a writer from Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, Saugeen Ojibway Nation.
Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, Saugeen Ojibway Nation
I started my training in 2007 at Freda Diesing School of Art in Terrace BC. I was the first woman in the very first year of the program. My Instructors were, Stan Bevan, Ken Mcneil and Dempsy Bob. My artwork is my life's passion; I enjoy bringing the art back to my community of Gitwangak.
“Cherish’s aspirations are to be able to create art and teach youth, she gets much of her inspiration from her community of Gitwangak, which has some of the oldest poles still standing, her wish is to one day be able to carve a pole for her people.”
“For the past 30 years, I have been painting and carving northwest coast art.”
For me, art is always opening an opportunity to go through new experiences and to let more stories to be heard. I have been inspired by my uncles, Roger and Jerry Alfred, who in turn, learned our stories from my grandfather and other elders in our community. Increasingly, I am taking that direction with my pieces, finding my own unique experiences in my homeland.
For the past 30 years, I have been painting and carving northwest coast art. My first teacher was Dempsey Bob (Taltan/Tlingit Artist) in 1986 and I later worked with Ken Mowatt (Gitxsan Artist) for 4 years between 1991-1995. Doing native art has been a dream come true and an important way to express myself. After all these years doing northwest coast art, I am finally finding a style that I can call my own.
Receiving a REVEAL Indigenous Art Award will give me the opportunity to carve and bring back "dance sticks" for our dance group "Selkirk Spirit Dancers" and our community of Pelly Crossing. These dance sticks were once used in our community feasts and potlatches about 80 years ago. They were taken from original home of Fort Selkirk and put into museums around the world. They were taken from our community when people were out on the land. These dance sticks are an important missing link to our past and the future of our young people. These dance sticks will be hand carved with homemade tools and use yellow cedar wood.
Eugene Alfred is a Tutchone/Tlingit carver and painter from central Yukon.