This post is a little different from my usual photo blog. A couple months ago I joined the #Next150 Challenge. What's that? In short, it is an Indigenous response to Canada's 150th birthday celebrations. But it's much, much more.
"The #Next150 challenge is all about setting a different tone in 2018 than what we've seen in the first 150 years of our country. Throughout 2018, we will be releasing new challenges for you to take part in that we hope will push your thinking and your understanding of Indigenous issues forward."
Always curious and willing to learn I was eager to check this out! I thought I knew stuff, but now I know more. I can't know everything, but I continue to learn about Indigenous histories, issues, cultures, and peoples. I also know more about colonialism and the crap Canadian governments have and continue to put Indigenous people through.
The #Next150 challenges range from putting Indigenous art on your profile photo to reading an author never read before to creating an Indigenous Mixtape.
I tried to keep close to what was challenged, however, my mind tends to wander (frequently) so some of what I found may not match the challenge exactly. Some things I have posted on Twitter and Facebook, but it occurred to me maybe I should blog this. There are more challenges yet to be posted, but I thought I'd record what I've done so far. So here goes, from current (to be updated) to the oldest challenge.
Oh, I might also throw in a few of my own photos.
Week 8: Storytelling Mixtape
"Create a playlist of Indigenous storytelling that teaches, motivates, or otherwise inspires you. Curate a playlist of 10 songs, poems, videos, short films or other forms of Indigenous storytelling and post as #IndigenousMixtape."
This challenge was the most fun to create. My mixtape includes:
- The traditional Strong Woman Song, first heard at a local protest.
- Buffy Sainte-Marie's song "You've Got to Run" which includes punk throat singer Tanya Tagaq.
- Tanya's Tagaq's stunning video for her song "Uja".
- A Tribe Called Red "We Are the Halluci Nation".
- Info vids from Wab Kinew (500 Years in 2 Minutes), TedX (Judge John Reilly's "My Aboriginal Education"), and This Hour Has 22 Minutes ("150 Years? That's Cute").
- An Idle No More round dance that took place in the TD Square mall in downtown Calgary December 22, 2012.
- A series of photos of vintage First Nations photos (many Blackfoot people).
- N'we Jinan's upbeat song "Bimaachiihiiwassuu" which in Cree means "to provide or to be a provider."
#Next150 suggested the mixtape should take from 40 to 90 minutes to make. Being easily distracted, it took me most of a day to do. Worth it!
More will be added on a second Indigenous playlist I'm continuing on YouTube!
One of my co-workers is also doing this challenge. Here is her excellent #IndigenousMixtape.
Week 7: Indigenous Art in Public
The Indigenous art in public challenge was to put Indigenous artwork around a profile photo. I dislike photos of myself, so my profile photos are usually photos of objects. Lately, my Facebook profile photo has been a small, stuffed bear. The frame was created through the #Next150 Challenge website.
Week 6: Diversify Your News
This challenge was to find media sources for Indigenous news that I hadn't read before. These were my finds:
- Muskrat Magazine - Indigenous arts, culture, and living magazine.
- AFN - Assembly of First Nations has news updates.
- APTN National News - Uncovering the stories that others won't.
- Reporting in Indigenous Communities - An online educational guide to assist journalists who report in Indigenous communities.
- Alberta Native News
Week 5: Indigenous Reads
This week had us find an author we hadn't read before. Again, another tough one since I've already read several Canadian First Nations authors including Richard Wagamese, Thomas King, and Wab Kinew. My choice was based mostly on a keyword title search of "colonialism" and I found "Islands of Decolonial Love: Stories and Songs" by Leanne Betasamosake. Less about love and lots about colonial attitudes and repercussions, it was a riveting read. A small book, it was a quick read of poems and short stories. A bonus was a web link to the author reading her poetry and songs: http://arpbooks.org/islands/
Week 4: Understanding UNDRIP
UNDRIP is the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. I had no idea. I shook my head in disbelief that this was necessary to create. I kept thinking these rights are basic human rights. We shouldn't have to make declarations. What made me really angry was the fact that the governments of Canada would not sign UNDRIP, thinking they had done enough with the Canadian constitution. Unbelievable.
Eventually, in 2016, Canada did agree to UNDRIP. According to the CBC News coverage of the signing, Chief Wilton Littlechild was optimistic saying, "today's announcement marks a beginning to what could be a long process of "harmonizing" Canada's laws with the standards set in the declaration and improving the country's relationship with Indigenous Peoples." However, Indigenous history shows that Canadian governments have been and continue to be less than honest with First Nations people when it comes to creating and honoring treaties. I say Indigenous history because I wasn't taught any of this when I was a kid. To be honest, I probably zoned out during the recitations of white male accomplishments. I hear there is a movement afoot to make Canadian history lessons more diverse. Here's a copy of Treaty 7 kept at the Glenbow Museum Archives.
Week 3: Amplify Youth Voices
We got to choose and share a video from several created by youths from around Canada. They were posted to the We Matter campaign website. First I searched the We Matter website by Region, then by Challenges, and then by People (singer, comedian, actor). I lost count of how many videos I watched. The videos about suicide and depression were especially challenging to watch. Finally, I chose motivational speaker Savvy Simon from New Brunswick. I loved her positive twist on the famous "today is a good day to die" saying. "Today is a good day to have a good day."
Week 2: Moosehide Campaign
We were invited to order small patches of moosehide pins to wear to start conversations about missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls (MMIWG). It took a while to get my patches, so I forgot about this challenge. I have to admit to only partially completing this one as I don't remember where I put my patches. Still, I don't need a patch to get the word out.
Week 1: On Whose Land
This first challenge was to find out on whose traditional land I live on and acknowledge their territory.
According to the Native-Land website I live on the traditional lands of the Treaty 7 peoples including the Tsuu T'ina, the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), the Sarcee, the Ktunaxa, and Metis.
The Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society has a website with a ton of information designed to be shared with schools. That's where I found this map:
According to the Guide to Acknowledging First Peoples & Traditional Territories created by the Canadian Association of University Teachers these are commencement introductions used by schools in Calgary:
"I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearpaw, and Wesley First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III." - ACAD
"We [I] would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearpaw, and Wesley First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III." - SAIT
The University of Calgary has three acknowledgments and a video "Why are territorial acknowledgements important":
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
Specific Tribal Territorial Acknowledgement
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearpaw, and Wesley First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina, and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearpaw, and Wesley First Nations. I would also like to note that the University of Calgary is situated on land adjacent to where the Bow River meets the Elbow River, and that the traditional Blackfoot name of this place is “Mohkinstsis” which we now call the City of Calgary. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
I just found on YouTube this short "Acknowledgement of the Land"
used in a Calgary Junior High School.
My place of work is currently working on an acknowledgment of their own.
The first place I heard an acknowledgment was at a multi-cultural event I was photographing and it was Calgary Mayor Nenshi who gave it. I remember my heat feeling warm. Feeling like this was the right thing to do. Almost wanted to fist punch the air. Now I hear it everywhere an event takes place. And it still brings a smile to my face.
This is the acknowledgment I have created for myself:
With respect, I wish to acknowledge I live on Southern Alberta Treaty 7 lands which include the territories of the Niisitsapi Blackfoot Confederacy (the Kainai, Piikani, and Siksika), the Stoney-Nakoda (Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley), and the Tsuu T’ina Nations. I also acknowledge the Metis Nation Region 3 community that also resides in Calgary.