Sqilxw Apna Artists

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Latest @ N’sis’ooloxw

June 25, 2020

“So tonight under the stars as a young African I am honoured to be a guest, a guest on a land I knew not of because of the stories that were hidden. Stories that were hidden so much it made an African believe that life doesn’t exist in the obscurity of the European eye. I’m alive, I’m watching the fire burn, the guitar strings play, and the stories that were supposed to be hidden are appearing right here,” Trophy Elwida shares at Sqilxw Apnas summer solstice event full of storytelling and poetry on the land.

Photo and article by Kelsie Kilowna. Read more at IndigiNews

June 9, 2020

Press Release

Sqilxw Apna Society is pleased to announce we were awarded a BC Arts Council Youth Arts Engagement grant to produce Land based Poetics at N’sis ooloxw, Dry Creek on OKIB #1. The project will support Indigenous ways of being to empower Indigenous ways of knowing and traditional egalitarian family groupings through community, culture, art, and the environment. “When learning how to take care of ourselves, we teach the next generation what is valuable. At N’sisooloxw what we do to care for the land reflects how the young people will better care for themselves and the world around them”, states Mariel Belanger, a co-founder of Sqilxw Apna.

This project will bring together the multi-media poet, historian, and scholar, Dr. Margo Tamez, (Dene Nde’/Lipan Apache Band) and Mariel Belanger, a multi-media performing artist (Syilx/Okanagan Nation) who, received her MFA at UBC Okanagan. Combined, these Indigenous women bring together more than 50 years of extensive experience, practice, knowledge, and publication in Indigenous creative arts, land-based pedagogy. Their critical research and praxis in Indigenous decolonization, violence, conflict, genocide, trauma, and recovery raised the profile of Sqilxw and Ndé common ground issues they are collaboratively addressing through bottom-up approaches which strengthen Indigenous initiatives and promote Indigenous innovations to current day problems. Joining them are the emerging poets and performing artists, Mundia Kabunda (Lozi Tribe), Trophy Ewila (Lango and Munyakole–Uganda), Maura Tamez (Dene Nde’/Lipan Apache Band), Maria Alexis (Syilx/Okanagan Nation), Ashleigh Griffen (Oji-Cree Kahkewistahaw First Nation) and Erik Hrabovsky (Hungarian/Scottish, Ally) Living systems artist and  elder marsh artist Barb P Marchand (Syilx/Okanagan)

Based on the outcomes developed collaboratively in last summers “Indigenous Poetics” retreat (August 11-12, 2019), hosted by Sqilxw Apna, (and funded in part by First Peoples Cultural Council), Belanger and Tamez seek to create possibilities for unity building between First Nations and Black Diasporic Indigenous poets. This project will bring these poets into critical conversation to share personal stories, experiences, ideas, influences, methods, and forms, which emerge from working through barriers and challenges. Through this exchange, the collective seeks to draw from these historical processes through song, music, and movement, and will connect this back to the land, which informs their identities as conveyers of knowledge and memory.

Belanger and Tamez are collaboratively mentoring and modeling their commitment to the power of truth and to open up space on the land, through Indigenous hospitality, to another generation who put deep value on “our words–the things we say“, which they argue are crucial to Indigenous truthing today.

Influenced by the power of Indigenous knowing, and mobilized by the Truth Commissions–in Canada and Africa—and respective calls to action, Sqilxw Apna is inspired to take further the commitments to truthing, written onto hand-made paper of fibres from Indigenous plants of the Okanagan lake.

This project will begin June 20/21 with a live feed online event and continue between the months of June 2020 to December 2020, and bridges urban (Kelowna) and rural (N’sis’ooloxw) Indigenous cultural workers and allies.

By providing a COVID19 safety plan, structured mentoring, skills building, and leadership capacity for decolonizing the borders of race, gender, sexuality, ableism, nation, religion through intercultural transformation, Sqilxw Apna Society is poised to encourage, support and strengthen Indigenous peoples in the northern Okanagan and surrounding areas.

Sqilxw is a registered society in BC, and centered in the unceded Syilx Okanagan territory. Our aim is to strengthen Indigenous families’ capacity from a Indigenous perspective by engaging the pressing issues which threaten Indigenous health and sustainability.

For more information email sqilxwapnamedia@gmail.com and follow us on social media at

Facebook.com/SqilxwApna,

Instagram and Tictoc @SqilxwApnaLive

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Click here to learn about the Solstice Dreamer Song and Story event
Solstice Dreamer
Check out these photos from photographer Shawn Allison

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Earth Diver Tattoo on Mariel Belanger MFA by Dion Kaszas MA in Tule Mat Lodge by Shawn Brigman PHD

This page was created to feature the interdisciplinary artworks of artist scholars living and being sqilxw.

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