Pan-Aboriginal Confederation, anyone?

As the years have passed, I have seen the aboriginal condition only worsen. We do not have the rights that the white men enjoy, nor the power to bargain for any sort of deal. The treaties continue to sell our land, without regard for the people and where they will hunt and live. The white people invade our land even where there are no treaties, and force us out of our own home. Much of Eastern Canada is colonized, and now I hear that the Atlantic colonies are joining East and West Canada to form a dominion – the Dominion of Canada.

Oh Aboriginal peoples; we have been divided for far too long. When separate, the Englishmen can invade our land and squash our culture. But together, we can stand against them. They do not want a full-blown war when they are still afraid of the US attacking. They no longer have the protection of the British Kingdom. Now is the time to join together.

The Metis are included in this invitation, if they wish to join. They are of our blood, and also face discrimination and lack of rights. We will always have a place for our Metis brothers and sisters here. But many Metis have families with European blood, usually French. They will not want to split up their family. Neither would I force them to choose between their family and their heritage. When my mother’s tribe moved, my father left his tribe to go with her, rather than force her to choose between her love and her family. It shall be the same with out confederation. French people who are married to Aboriginals will be allowed to live in our new country with their families. In fact, I would welcome these mixed-race families as important alliances between the Aboriginals and the French.

The French share many of our struggles and grievances. They do not like the British much, either. Like us, they wish to preserve their culture and people in this new and changing world. We both want more rights, and the opportunity to keep our own languages and traditions. We can form a alliance with them, in East Canada. We will trade with them. Metis peoples will be able to travel between East Canada and Aboriginal lands freely, without the British urging them to settle down and become “civilized”. We will celebrate our diversity and stand up for each other. Let not the British set us against each other, like a pack of dogs fighting over a piece of meat. The pack finds more meat when they hunt together!

Our confederation will have its headquarters in Manitoba, where we are close to the French and Metis, who trade furs.The land originally belonged to the Aboriginals, then France – British is but its most recent owner. It is high time for the French and Aboriginals to rally together and take back what has been stolen from us.

In Manitoba, we have large, established trading networks, and a chance to finally have the freedom and equality we deserve. Our borders will be those same borders that we have had for years, the water which is too wide to cross and the skies, which we cannot fly. The land will be shared by all aboriginals, and those who wish to join our union. Remember the word shared. This means it is not mine, or yours, but ours. No one can sell it, nor sign treaties of it, without consulting everyone else in the country! The only places that we cannot go are those where the British and Americans will kill us. When one of our tribes is attacked, we all will respond to their call. When one of us has a bountiful harvest, we all reap the reward. We will share our wisdom with each other, our art and our trades, and lend our strengths to each others weakness. Such is the nature of the word shared.

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The center of the solar system…. In-depth #6

Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

White hat = information

Red hat = feelings and intuition

Black hat = critical thinking

Yellow hat = values and benefits

Green hat = new ideas/alternatives

Blue hat = organizes other hats; moderator

In the last two weeks of in-depth, I’ve had the chance to further develop my two main art pieces: the jellyfish and the space junk mobile. I’ve had a lot of conversations with my mentor exploring different possibilities for each one, and deciding when to come back to a problem later. For example, we were having  a discussion about how to represent the sun (arguable one of the most important parts) in my solar system. The conversation went a little like this:

Me: “So, my biggest problem so far has been trying to figure out what the sun is going to look like. It can’t be the proper size in relation to the other planets, obviously, but I’d like to make it stand out in some way that obviously designates it as ‘The Sun’. “

Ms. Kirkwood: “Yes. Well, we can definitely make the sun a bit larger than the other planets. To give it a round shape, I could use some of my circles and cross them over each other, to give it more depth. I also think it would be good to show some movement for the sun.”

Me: “That sounds good. I definitely think movement is a good thing, because the sun is always burning and giving off solar flares and radiation, right? It would be nice to have a little globe or sphere for the sun, because most of the other planets are 2D. That would set it apart for sure. What were you thinking of with the circles?

Ms. Kirkwood: “I have some old guitar strings that are really nice, they have this bouncy-ness to them that makes them really fun to work with. (Gets them out and arranges them like so) What if we wrapped a shiny clear material, like this cellophane, around it to reflect light?

guitar string sun, courtesy of me

Me: “Oh, yes I really like the guitar strings like that. Especially how the rings that make it look like the skeleton of a globe aren’t entirely lined up, so they make these great little crescents. The cellophane….I’m not sure. I like how it reflects the light, and it’s plastic, so it’s reusing garbage material, but it’s a little bit too green and pink. It doesn’t remind me of the sun that much. I almost feel like we would want something fluffier and lighter, because the sun is full of gas, and it’s always burning and releasing energy. It would be cool if we found a way to make the material be releasing, or expanding. Hmmm…..I’m not sure about the cellophane, but I really love the guitar strings. How can I attach them to make them stay in that shape?

Ms. Kirkwood: “I usually just tape them together using strong crafting tape. It works well because you can easily take it off if you don’t like it or need to make changes, and because it’s easy to put on and holds very well. If you tape it like this, crossing over one way and then the opposite direction, it makes it more difficult for the tape to get pulled apart.

Me: “Oh yeah, because now it is held together in a way that by trying to undo one piece of tape, the other piece will stop it from moving. Cool! It’s just coincidence that the tape is bright yellow, but I really like how that colour contrasts with the more copper-y guitar strings. (puts pieces together with tape) The two overlapping points are at the top and bottom of the sun if you hold it this way. It’s kind of cool, because it looks like two “poles” on the top and bottom of the sun.”

Ms. Kirkwood: “Yes, it does. Do you have any more ideas about the fabric we could use for the sun? If you want plastic, or garbage-y material, I could give you some kind of plastic-y wrapping paper I had…just let me go look for it…(15 minutes and a messy storage room later) Huh, I thought I had something, but I guess not. None of those more napkin-y tissue papers stood out to you?”

Me: “No, not really…. I don’t know, I can’t really think of anything that seems to fit with the mobile.The rest of it is coppery wire, wood and red plastic.

Ms. Kirkwood: “Do you want to come back on it? We can always work on something else, and come back to it with new ideas later.

Me: “Sure…maybe let’s work on the jellyfish for a bit.

(We make our way back to the space where we do most of our work. After about 30 minutes working on the jellyfish, my leg brushes a piece of cellophane and causes it to shift and expand, falling a little more flat).

Me: ” Wait, what if we crumpled up a material and put it inside the sun, instead of overtop of the guitar string fame?

Ms. Kirkwood: “Why don’t you show me?

Me: (crumples the cellophane and holds inside of frame) “It would be cool if I could suspend the material in the center of the frame…but I still don’t really like the cellophane. It just doesn’t seem to go with the rest of the project. (…) Could I use those yellow bags you get from No Frill’s instead? They’re a bit fluffier and match with the yellow tape really well.

Ms. Kirkwood: “Sure! That might work out well, because its always good to make objects kind of relate to each other. Then they look more like they fit together.

After that conversation, we didn’t actually get around to suspending the bag in midair. But I, for one, kind of like the way the bag flip and curls on itself like solar flares are protruding in plastic strips, and the reflective, somewhat luminous nature if plastic. I can see that in this conversation, we had a lot of ideas being tossed around. Since art is pretty subjective, most of our decisions about what to do were based off of emotions and intuition, the red hat, or the resources we had available (the white hat). Blue and black hats occured the least, but we often talked about what looked or felt good (yellow hat) when trying out new ideas. Now, off to Cuba, where I’m sure I’ll see some sun that isn’t made out of plastics and guitar strings!

wow... do those sun spots spell out No Frills, or is it just me?
wow… do those sun spots spell out No Frills, or is it just me?

1st Mentor Meeting: Mission Successful

So, I had my first meeting with my mentor last night. I was a bit worried, because we’d never met before and I wasn’t entirely sure what would transpire that evening. But, “only good things” as I told myself, were about to occur. My mentor is an incredibly kind and generous person. She lives within a 15 minute drive for me, so she’s also quite local. When meeting with her, I brought along my space junk mobile and my milk jug jellyfish. She was super helpful with both of them – she lent me some ribbon that would work well with my jellyfish, a large metal ring to hang my mobile from, and a 2mm hole-punch to attach the ribbons. We agreed that hole-punch would work best, because you can’t sew through plastic, and glue tends to fall apart after a while. My mentor usually presents me with different ways to do things, or different materials to use. She tells me why she thought they could work, and then I tell her what I think would would be best to use, and why. Often, her experience is really valuable helping me decide what to do.

Two new things I did were:

  • Pulling apart copper wire
  • Dyeing cheesecloth navy blue

Cool things I saw:

  • six-ring masks
  • dragonflies (my mentor suggested I could make similar dragonflies with plastic bags instead of fabric – I might look into this)
  • birch bark and paper mache holders.

Next time I go over, I’ll ask to take some photos to upload here on the blog! I’m really looking forwards to recycled art all over again now that I’m working with another artist.