Keynote post: July 12: Jessica, Skylar and Sarah

2017 summer intensive

Jessica, Skylar and Sarah

Keynote Responses 1 and 2

Keynote 1 – Monika Kin Gagnon

Duane Linklater

– “Earth Mother Hair, and Earth Mother Eyes, Indian Eyes, Animal Eyes”

-threaded a theme through Monika’s presentation regarding gaze. Connecting the ideas of both the indigenous and white gaze. The theme of the gaze can be seen in not only Linklater’s piece, but also the ‘Indian Pavillion’ in the ’67 expo itself, in terms of the photographs of indigenous people that lined the inside of the pavilion and the (frequently white) gaze of the visitors to the pavilion, which could be seen as hostile or as exoticizing the indigenous photographs and histories themselves. This led to questions about the original photographers, as well as who curated the photography within the ‘Indian Pavillion’.

Canada 150

-At one point Monika differentiated between the people at Kwakwaka’wakw who were “Canadians celebrating Canada” as opposed to “Canadians celebrating Canada 150”. This was an interesting distinction as it shows that celebrating Canada is not the issue with Canada 150 but rather the issue is in the way we celebrate it. In Canada 150, it is a celebration of colonial Canada as opposed to the Kwakwaka’wakw celebration that acknowledged indigenous cultures.

Some questions we were left with:

Hostesses at the pavilion

-Who was the woman leading the tours? Why did she choose to do this?

-Was the hostess indigenous?

-How do you explain to privileged people that the indigenous feel disrespected at the time of the ‘Indian Pavilion’?

Who was the curator of the original photos? We wonder because:

-The photos looked passive.

-The people looked as though they were being observed rather than owning their own space.

Keynote 2 – Chris Creighton Kelly and France Trepanier

We found the format more engaging and easier to follow. It allowed us to recognize both sides in a format that was easy to accept. It was not an aggressive argument but a respectful debate.

Beginning the piece with a light turning appeared to signal the opening of perspectives or the opening of conversation. The ending with the light turning off was also interesting. It could have signified that the conversation is still in the dark and controversial.

The use of various objects was a good resemblance of the mixing opinions, especially when the water was mixed into the bowl. I appreciated the way that each object had a purpose as to why it was chosen; however, I also enjoyed that Chris and France didn’t reveal exactly why each object was there and the overall meaning of the bundle at the end. The ambiguity fits well with the theme of colonialism and indigenous oppression. It speaks to how the answer to these problems is not yet known and how few of us are really aware.

The significance of the bundling of artifacts in the blanket, as was discussed in class, brings to mind the idea of ’tidying up’ or the term ‘sweeping things under the rug’. While I believe it was meant to signify an ending to the performance and a bringing together of cultures, to me it also signified the way that we within the academic community often leave these conversations behind. Through creating the bundle of objects, France and Chris were able to produce an effect that is at once a comfortable ending and an uncomfortable signifier of our inability to truly bring academic communication about contentious topics surrounding immigration and indigeneity to the public eye.

I think the idea of people being tied to the land is very intriguing. I, personally, don’t have any ties to land in Canada or in the countries my ancestors are from. I find my connections are based more on people because I don’t have a land or history to tie myself too. The idea of the importance of land to an individual is new to me and the idea that I may have had a connection to the land of my ancestors had my family not left their country is interesting. Because I don’t have this connection, I find that despite my lack of understanding of this feeling I think it’s very important that we try to preserve the connection for the indigenous people who do have it as, with the increasing amount of migration in our world, I think the number of people with this connection may decrease despite the benefits of this relationship that the keynote speakers detailed.

I loved the statement “We don’t deal with one injustice by ignoring another injustice” that was made multiple times throughout their presentation. It is important to recognize it’s possible to care about more than one group of people at a time and that just because there’s focus on one does not mean the other is not important. Stemming off that thought, I think it’s important to realize that a success for one group can often be a stepping-stone for other groups. By that I mean that if one marginalized group makes progress, it can help to pave the way for other marginalized groups to make progress as well. Ignoring the struggles of others is one of the worst things we can do as a society. Every injustice deserves to be taken seriously and it’s more than possible to care about and fight for multiple groups at the same time.

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