« 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.”
Follow this summer’s monthly live stream from Nsisooloxw on Instagram at Sqilxw Apna
Check out this amazing video where beaver visits me at the surface while I was practicing standing in the Salishan Sturgeon Nose Canoe this weekend on the Columbia river at the confluence of the Spokane
Sqilxw Woman meets Beaver
New blog entry: From the inside out: The Earth Reclaimed Her
Bringing forward the erased cultural, self governance of the Tule Mat Lodge Village, Mariel engages Sqilxw historical practices of tule harvest and mat lodge construction. It is thought that co-constructing ancestral ways of being and knowing through Tule mat lodge will provide an opportunity to give back to the land, introducing the industriousness required in constructing an actual tule mat lodge and the ingenuity of Syilx people cultivating a sense of cultural pride. As an Indigenous engagement/ visitor protocol-based operations governance model to assist in remediating the colonial agenda through an integrated health, life skills and training strategy constructed in a syilxcentric framework, the tukʷtniɬxʷ – tule mat house project aims to bring out the distinct character of the northern Okanagan storied land, and the associated issues (emotional, psychological, social, personal, economic, political), which affect the broader community’s capacity-building and collective action focusing on the roles in Summer Lodge community governance.
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 straight A’s and a Masters in Fine Art in Interdisciplinary and Indigenous Studies, Mariel is a SSHRC, UBCO Aboriginal Fellowship, and Indian Brotherhood scholarship recipient who in 2018 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. Belanger’s writing can be found in the chapter “stəqpistns iʔ pqlqin / kihew omīkwan Eagle Feather” New Directions for Theorizing in Qualitative Inquiry Norman Denzin, James Salvo. Myers Educational Press, “Experiencing Resonance as a Practice of Ritual Engagement” co-authored chapter in RESEARCH AND RECONCILIATION Andrea Breen, Lindsay Dupre, Shawn Wilson, and alt.Theatre cultural diversity and the stage magazine Vol 14.1 through 14.3 as guest curator and writer.
Mariel is a founding member of Sqilxw Apna and Kama? Creative Aboriginal Arts Collective in her home community devising land based cultural arts as community education and engagement after spending time outside community as an arts instructor at the Enowkin Centre, where she facilitated Community Engagement for Artists and Performance arts for the NAPAT program. Mariel has travelled to Chile from Temuco to Socorama demonstrating visitor protocol and how colonial violence still affects the bodies of Indigenous women through her performance Illegal: Let Us Live co authored by the late Dr. Greg Younging and contributing to local Indigenous land based causes such as replanting indigenous plants in reclaimed lands to assisting in choreographing an interpretive dance in a Mapuche language school. As a graduate of the Enowkin Centre’s National Aboriginal Professional Artists Training program Belanger 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”.
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 Belanger’s granny displayed when tanning hides and sewing buckskin gloves. Inspired by the digital messages from 1978 recordings her passion lies in bringing those teachings of sustainability forward with new life. As mentor Dr. Margo Tamez says “Your tule lodge tipi is an excellent example of how the applied land-water research, the journaling, the drawing, the collecting, the gathering, the drying, the pedagogy with white and Indigenous communities all reflect a webbing of strategies. They decolonize the humanities, and transform humanities by expanding the imagination of what humanities means through an Indigenous holistic lens, not an anthropocentric lens. This is what many humanities scholars (debates on the anthropocene) say is desirable and crucial to shift from the human centric perspective to a earth and cosmos centred interconnected pluriverse.”
Her Body Will Remember a group show curated by Erin Sutherland at the Kelowna Art Gallery On now until Sept 8. 2019
Collaborating with David Bernie Graphic artist in Illegal: Let Us Live
Totally rewrote the scene for my role as Brenda in Beneath the Surface. I have a new daughter who embodies the character a totally different way. It took me 5 days to get the words into my body. Administration and rehearsal a the same time is pushing limits. I enjoy a challenge as Creative Director for the imagi’NATION Collective
I had an amazing opportunity to participate in the 2019 Pacific Contact
showcase as part of the “Active Reconciliation in a Changing Landscape” workshop facilitated by Kelly Foxcroft-Poirier and Amanda Fenton
“Through methods of storytelling and dialogue, this workshop will support us in building our collective capacity leaning into the learning and a bit of the ‘unlearning’ required for active Reconciliation.”
Just got off the workshop production of Taran Kootenhayoo’s comedy “White Noise” Check it out here Savage Society Productions
It was amazing hearing my words come to life in a staged reading March 6 in Vancouver of a scene from “Reminders for the People” People laughed when they were supposed to and generally enjoyed it. I’ve been writing this story since before I knew it was the story. Find more info on it here Tricksters and Writers @ WIFTV
Reminders for the People: “The Medicine Story”
and on Facebook
Looking forward to an amazing 2019 working with Barb Marchand with Cat tail and Tule reed technologies.