This week’s Notable Blogs focuses on Indigenous people in the arts.We begin with a contest that requested songs to and about the salmon. Salmon, that delicious trickster who travels the world, always to come home again to mate, spawn, and die, and be reborn:
After over 4 days of listening to the 38 entries, scrutinizing each song and slowly eliminating some, the three judges finally reached their verdict this morning to choose the winners of the first ever “Song for the Salmon” contest. The winner is Anie Hepher, from Cranbrook, whose song Salmon Hymn captures the feelings of both the sockeye’s struggles to survive and the Secwepemc peoples’ connection to these remarkable fish.
Even catastrophic natural disasters have a place in the life of Pachamama. Sometimes, these events move us beyond fear and trauma, to creativity:
A rare performance by renowned Aboriginal dancers marked the start of one of Australia’s most important festivals of indigenous art. The unique dance of the Gurrir Gurrir people depicts events associated with a devastating tropical cyclone in 1974. The catastrophic event helped create one of Australia’s most highly regarded indigenous art movements.
There is much suffering, and courage, in First Nations communities. First Nations peoples around the world continue to be displaced by encroaching governments, corporations, and displaced people. Every now and then, someone takes notice. Andree Cazabom noticed, and spent twelve years making a film about so others might see:
March 2008: My daughter, Camille-Sophie, 7, is with me this trip. She’s having so much fun with the dogs and the boys that she doesn’t seem to notice the contrast between K.I. and home. Until, at the end of our stay, the leaders of the community, including the chief, are led away to prison for peacefully protesting a mining company’s exploration around their ancestral lake. Two months later, the courts will set them free, but for now it registers in the community, and with Sophie, only as an injustice no one can do anything about. We say goodbye to the leaders, now in shackles. In 12 years of filmmaking, it’s the only time I’m shooting through tears. Back at school, her friends talk about their trips to Disney World. Sophie tells the class, “Well, I went to prison with my mom for March break!”
And a photojournalist, Monirul Alam, noticed:
Thus, indigenous peoples have become the most marginalized and vulnerable group in the country of Bangladesh in its thirty eight years of independence.
Roxanna Bennett noted the continued disappearances and deaths of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. The problem is not uniquely Canadian:
For the past five years the NWAC’s Sisters in Spirit initiative has been amassing information regarding the disappearance or death of more than 580 Aboriginal girls and women in Canada. One of the more chilling parts of the report is this: “There are a disproportionately high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Between 2000 and 2008,
Finally, Kaif wrote about the debate over the Mosque at Ground Zero, and its relationship to another temple/mosque dispute in India. He noted that such conflicts can last hundreds of years, and create immense suffering. I was left wondering what drives us humans to violence and vendetta, and what allows us to stop cycles of violence. I was also reminded, once again, that when we attack Pachamama, one another, or ourselves, we all lose.
I feel that in such issues, there are no victors and losers. If one side loses, it’s the loss of everyone. Yesterday, in my country there has been a tentative decision on a dispute over building either a temple or a mosque at Ayodhya that has gone on for 500 years and killed thousands. This is the main lesson that I learn from it.
via a nook in the woods.