The Museum & Archives of Vernon is bringing together three Indigenous artists and storytellers.
Mariel Belanger, Shayla Raine and Kim Senklip Harvey will be at the museum July 16.
“The work of each of these women is so powerful,” says Amy Timleck MAV program co-ordinator. “To be able to bring them together, in person, and showcase their work in one place is so exciting.”
The day begins with a reading by Raine of The Way Creator Sees You, a long, free-verse poem about a Plains Cree boy named Kihew.
Raine is Nehiyaw Iskwew from Louis Bull Tribe in Maskwacis, Alta., who now lives with her syilx partner on Okanagan Indian Band land. A mother at age 15, Raine is now 23 years old and a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves and is studying human kinetics at UBCO.
“I’ve wanted to write books since I was a child,” says Raine. “Once I hit adulthood, I realized that I wanted to make books for Indigenous youth because I never saw people that looked like me on book covers growing up.”
At 1 p.m., Belanger will give an artist’s talk about her exhibit at MAV, Not the Indian Princess You Expected, followed by a screening of a video of her performance Illegal: Let Us Live.
Belanger is a syilx interdisciplinary performance artist who has devised a life “of the land” with self-directed digital performance art as a way to revise history.
Following in her syilx grandmother’s footprints, Belanger weaves community-driven, land-based artistic knowledge and practice into projects and stories of caring for the land and maintaining matrilineal relationships.
At 2 p.m., MAV will screen the Vernon premiere of Break Horizons: A Rocking Indigenous Justice Ceremony.
Gravitating around an Indigenous women’s healing lodge, the film follows five Indigenous matriarchs, the mothers of the animal worlds, and a dimension bending shifter as they work to reclaim Indigenous Peoples right to exist with dignity and freedom.
Harvey is a member of the syilx, and Tsilhqot'in Nations with ancestral ties to the Dakelh, Secwepemc and Ktunaxa communities. She is a storyteller, Indigenous theorist and cultural evolutionist who uses a variety of media to work towards the equitable treatment of her Peoples.
Her play, Kamloopa: A Matriarch Story, won the 2020 Governor General’s Award for Drama. With a BFA and MFA, Harvey is now a doctoral student in law.
“Throughout history, the voices of women and of Indigenous women, have been either ignored or silenced,” says MAV Curator, Laisha Rosnau. “To have their work speak so powerfully – and for the artists, themselves, to be present – is an honour for MAV.”
Presentations will be followed by an Artist’s Panel and Q&A with all three women, and a small reception. Beadwork by Angela La Londe, an Indigenous artist from OKIB, creating handmade beaded earrings and pins will also be available for purchase.
Information and registration for the event is available via Eventbrite.