Context and Intent

Readings Response

Chapter 1-4 readings “And then You Act” by Annie Bogart

October 21, 2013

I am intertwining my journal writings with the chapter themes. It seems I have been dreaming up someone like Anne Bogart because most of what has been written or quoted by her has resonated with me in my day to day life.

Concept – Earth

I shared my garden experience.

(mixed phonetic/symbol spelling of n’syilxcen)

Sooka lough                                                   dirt

Timw lough                                                    land

Sqilxw                                                             person of the land

Xast sooka lough                                           good dirt

Xast timw lough                                            good land

Sqilxw                                                             person of the land

Chapter one. Context

How can I express context within my performance. What is it like for me right now? An RCMP officer asked me on Friday if I thought what was going on with the Atlantic Natives was scary. I have a ‘Don’t frack the water we all need” sign taped to the inside of my jeep Patriot back window. The RCMP officer read it as he sat writing my fine. How do I put that into context for everyone to understand?  Was I scared at that very moment? Yes indeed. We both knew which side of the line we’d be on.

How else could I put that into context

By playing back the Youtube videos of Oka, Gustafson Lake, New Caledonia, Cheam, now Elsipogtog first nation while reading Rex Murphy’s opinion piece for the CBC or better yet If I read  Wikipedia’s explanation of Potlatch Ban people will know it’s true:

In the third section of the Indian Act, signed on April 19, 1884, it was declared that:

“Every Indian or other person who engages in or assists in celebrating the Indian festival known as the “Potlatch” or in the Indian dance known as the “Tamanawas” is guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than six nor less than two months in any goal or other place of confinement; and every Indian or persons who encourages… an Indian to get up such a festival… shall be liable to the same punishment.”

Context  is like launching an all native cast of Rez ‘Radio Play’ in Fredricton

I need to learn how to breathe. Literally. I’ve been squeezing so tight, trying to get the most out of everything I do, to prove to my kids I am not a failure despite my obvious failings.

Everything is context.

How do I express the notion that we all belong to this land now. It is not just the natives’ responsibility any longer. We don’t need capitalism to survive, we don’t need money to live. We need this land, the water , the plants and animals. We can survive. To be a truly equitable society we need the pendulum to swing back now.

We are all here and as the two legged of this land we have a responsibility to the natural laws. The natural elements are demanding attention. Would they understand if I said

This land is in good health because of

Those who came before

It was maintained since time immemorial for

Those yet to be

The most important role is for

Those who are here now

Those who are here now

Determine how much of what

Those who came before

Saved for

Those yet to be

Will be left

The animals are the only ones who have not forgotten the natural laws. We have to look to them to learn how to live with the land, not in spite of it.

“It is the artists job to live in the space between oppositions while articulating compelling fictional worlds”

This resonates within me being two halves of the original Canadian

Articulating compelling fictional worlds

Context is thinking

I hate half of myself

A constant battle of contexts juxtaposing themselves in day to day life

Articulating context is saying

I am Canadian

And believing it has meaning

While Canadian governments lie cheat and steal

I don’t say that unless I’m out of the country

And when I do, I always say I’m Native Canadian

“Reframing is telling the truth as we see it – telling it forcefully, straightforwardly and articulately, with moral conviction and without hesitation. The language must fit the conceptual reframing, a reframing from the perspective of progressive values. It is not just a matter of words, though the right ones are needed to evoke progressive frames.” (Chapter 2 Articulation – George Lakoff)

One day in class I wrote “The answer is always the key”

I shared a quote as my thing for experiential it was:

“The earth and myself are of one mind. The measure of the land and the measure of our bodies are the same.” (Chief Joseph)

My experience in the garden:

It makes me want to dig in. Get my nails dirty.

I want to feel the power of

Lifting

And

Moving

Earth

But not to

Change it

Break it

Destroy it

No

More like

give her a Facial

Skin treatment

Maintenance

I breathe the scent of

Good dirt

Healthy dirt

Clean dirt

I imagine and associate

The smell

With my ancestors

Those that came before

I smell the

Love, care, attention

They gave to the land

It was beautiful

They took care of it

Which made them

Healthy and happy

Singing

Beautiful songs

On the land

For the land

Taking care of this land

Take care of this land and the land takes care of you

I breathe the scent of

good dirt

Healthy dirt

Clean dirt

This concept of intention is one that really hit home in terms of where am I now with my craft.

Whom do I surround myself with in my day to day life that enhances my craft? I work one day a week with emerging indigenous artists and I collaborate with indigenous artists on a semi regular basis. I volunteer at my daughters school with their school play, digital storytelling and archiving. I don’t, or at least haven’t collaborated with many non indigenous artists except on film sets. It’s just the way things have worked out so far.

What is my intent in school? To get all of these words and ideas out of my head and into something constructive, creative and educational.  Something that puts perspective into ‘how many stories can a shattered person tell’

I needed to refine my teaching tools – my art.  Reimagine theatre from my context yet deliver in a manner which attracts non indigenous audience.

I have to be serious and seriously focus on the here and now. I spent a year researching my family lineage, which connected me back to the land from the oral stories my grandmother told to Wendy Wickwire. I have to be serious about what I’m doing here.  Our stories tell the name of the creatures, legends, stories, history of this land. Only ours tell the beginning of this story and yet finding an audience to truly listen is near to impossible. No one seems to care about living with the land when corporate consumerism makes it so easy to forget the land lives at all. Two halves fighting each other within; how often have I run from myself, running from the hypocrisy that is “Contemporary Indian”

Because we aren’t Indian anymore really……so they say

Context is…

My intent is to tell my story and share what I am allowed to share in a respectful contemporary fashion

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