« Wai̓, x̓ast sx̌lx̌ʕalt. Inca isk̓ʷist Cen cen, kn mut il nk ̓maplqs il n ̓sis ̓oolax̌ʷ. Hello good day, my name is Mariel Belanger, I am from the Head of the Lake– Dry Creek, the northern part of the Syilx – Okanagan Nation.”
Mariel is dedicated to contributing in the growth of interdisciplinary arts as a method to engage Indigenous community, language, culture and act as a bridge to society telling stories of our time. Recently graduated with a Master of Fine Art in Interdisciplinary and Indigenous Studies, Mariel is a SSHRC, UBCO Aboriginal Fellowship, and Indian Brotherhood scholarship recipient who was recently was awarded Outstanding Indigenous Graduate Student at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry held in Champaigne-Urbana at the University of Illinois as well was nominated to the Canadian Association of Theatre Research board as graduate board member. As artist scholar, her research is about Identity through the lens of Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being, Customary Law, Indigenous Feminism and Performance Theory, exploring how cultural identity is rebuilt through oral history and performance practice.
Mariel has completed a college diploma in Media and Communications Foundations. Mariel as a graduate of the Enowkin Centre’s National Aboriginal Professional Artists Training program she received the First Year Media award, the Professionalism Award and Creative Writing Award for the NAPAT program. She directed two films which won at the Cowichan International Film Festival for “Best Documentary” (2008 Mothers Milk), “Most Promising Film Maker” and “Best Actor” (2007 Wayward Soul) As a member of the Ullus Collective, Mariel has created media instillations for Women in the Okanagan (2012) featuring Xixutem a story of revival, GeoTag Art featuring “A song for Tigerlily” and Picto Prophecy “Reminders for the People”.
Currently Mariel is a founding member of Sqilxw Apna and Kama? Creative Aboriginal Arts Collective in her home community as well was an arts instructor at the Enowkin Centre, where she facilitated Community Engagement for Artists and Performance arts for the NAPAT program. Mariel is also a professional actor appearing in Twilight Eclipse as the Third Wife, American Experience – Tecumseh’s Vision among numerous other independent film projects.
That place where New Media and Ancient Knowledge meet has opened many new opportunities to bring those stories to life. Being a ‘hand’s on learner’ comes from the artistry my granny displayed when tanning hides and sewing buckskin gloves. Inspired by the digital messages from 1978 recordings my passion lies in bringing those teachings of sustainability forward with new life.