Mainly, I am a storyteller. I try to educate people about who we are: Inuit. I have been doing this since my first children's book was published 28 years ago. I visit schools, libraries, children's festivals and other venues to tell stories about the Inuit. What I would like to do in the next year is to start writing for adults. I have developed an outline to write a novel which takes place in Nunavut, Yukon and other places. It will talk about the residential school experience, pilot training and a return back into Inuit society in the modern day.
Michael Kusugak is an Inuit storyteller from Nunavut. He lives in Sooke B.C.
Region or community
“For the past thirty years I have created and made art that addresses historical and political issues that have affected the fabric of First Nations/Inuit/Metis Cultures.”
I have used my art as a healing tool to create awareness for people and situations in order to create a voice for those who are unheard.
I feel that my art with its vivid colours offers a spiritual connection and healing for the viewer. Each piece I create tells a story and makes a connection to a time, event, situation and place. I often paint portraits that focus on homage, respect and dignity. My muses are vast; elders, dignitaries, men, women, children, and the world community.
The gift of art is a powerful tool that offers a breadth of healing by osmosis and visually stimulates the mind, spirit, body, and emotional states.
In my First Nations teachings, these aspects of our humanity are all-encompassing and need to be given the utmost respect, as life itself is the greatest gift.
I use colours which have always been innate with me and my art practice. The brightness and hues of each colour creates an unconscious shift and a healing that creates a stimulating response from the viewer, such as awareness, joy, and gratitude that cause connectedness to our spiritual selves.
George Littlechild is a Plains Cree artist working in Comox, B.C.
“The objectives of my concepts are to raise public awareness about issues to bridge the gap between cultures.”
My art is a reflection of my life, of being in place and time, just as art production is essentially a mirror of the self and the self in life. My visual narrative reflects my current Indigenous experience, based on personal and socio-political issues or drawn from historical events, archives and cultural context. The objectives of my concepts are to raise public awareness about issues to bridge the gap between cultures.
The predominant genres of my artwork are sculpture, drawing, digital imaging and illustration of children's books. My sculpture is conceptual minimalist work, though at times I integrate partial realism. My artistic strategy is to create poetic, distilled forms that are metaphoric for a deeper reading of layered Indigenous content. I work in mixed-media, often employing natural materials of stone, wood, and bones with cast material, usually with Matrix G and also work in bronze. In the past several years I have integrated stones into my sculpture with a historical and aesthetic purpose. Stones were a central medium for Plains people that were used for its practical physical properties and well for ceremonial purposes ritual land markers, and artistic/spiritual production. It has been my intention to revive the traditional use of stone, and transform traditional forms and concepts into contemporary meaning and relevance.
Currently, I am planning the national tour of my billboard, Warrior Woman: Stop the Silence!This work is a call to action, to Stop the Silence of the North American mass genocide of Indigenous people, which remains submerged and absent from educational history texts and government discourse. It is also a call for justice and for memorials to be set up in honor of all Indigenous people who have died. The billboard is accompanied by awareness ribbons and an educational pamphlet.
Upcoming work will concentrate on sculpture and installation in public space by creating drawings and maquettes. Public art provides a powerful opportunity to access a wide audience and to create permanent urban markers of time and place, in this way, Indigenous presence and voice cannot be erased and the content will be available for generations to come.
Mary Longman is a Salteaux mixed media artist from Gordons, First Nations living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
I work in the theatre, film, documentary, animation, television and radio. But, my bannock and butter comes from the theatre gigs I do as an actor on stages across the country. I am a creator of my own work: I write it, perform in it, direct it, and produce it through my non profit theatre company, Savage Society. I am trained as a professional theatre artist and have studied and employ indigenous theatre methodologies and language in my work.
“I write to provide perspective and insights into the world of policing, race relations and our communities. “
With candid, honest stories based on my experiences and observations I try to make people have empathy and realize we all have a story worth listening to. I do this so I can continue to help people and be a leader.
Ernie Louttit is a writer from Missanabie Cree First Nation living in Saskatoon.