Reflections of Chapter 8 “The Stem: Backbone and Supports”

Kathleen E. Absolon, “Kaandossiwin How We Come to Know”, Halifax & Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing 2011.

“If you want your knowledge to be legitimate in this society, you have to prove it is legitimate on western terms, using the western knowledge system. This is not only epistemololgically unsound, it is also racist.” KHW (Leanne (1999)

This chapter captured the essence of the role of the Indigenous re-searcher and discussed foundations in maintaining personal strength when entering the academy.  The above mentioned quote speaks to me as I step out of trying to prove myself as legitimate in western terms, using small town church going knowledge and I collapsed. For me, the learning doesn’t occur without the experience, and I’ve had many. That is my stem. My backbone is both delicate and concrete. I do break.  I lived as close as I could within the mainstream of Vernon neighborhoods, sports orientated living. I lived in town. Walked my dog with a leash down concrete paths for exercise. I was a Youth Worker for an Urban Aboriginal Media Arts Centre. I lost my connection to ‘community’ when I was forced to go on medical leave. My reason for being broke me.

I got lost.

So I went home.

And home is where I go to mend. Home is my parents home. I have to be with my mother at specific times in my healing. My parents are into there sixties as well. They need me as much as I need them. That is my foundation. Caring for my parents as they care for me. Balance. Safety for my daughter. Family security. Friends. Community. Strength. I mend and rebuild from the inside out. Cocoon like the Monarch Butterfly or hibernate like Bear. Educate myself as often as I can in every way possible. Experience.

The author speaks to the participants and gets an idea about how they view their identity foundations and how they have incorporated such concepts as finding methodology through dreams.

I dream with my eyes open, nights at a time sometime. Insomnia or spirit talking? I think the latter. Sometimes I tell them “Ok I’ve written enough, can I go to sleep?” If I focus hard enough I can almost make out every word they say.” I listen through words, canvas and metal. I have created a few Identity Models including collage and paintings.

In the past I’ve centred my work around the oral stories of my grandmother Mary Abel. I believe I have been on this path for a while, working through each genre building a stronger foundation

Quilsten Framework – Indigenous Iron Raw hide Model (Created in VISA 104 2013)


Follow this link to see the painting version

Quilsten Framework

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close