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Braiding Our Past, Present And Future: Understanding Treaties And Embodying Settler Responsibilities Through Engagement With Community Arts

Braiding Our Past, Present And Future: Understanding Treaties And Embodying Settler Responsibilities Through Engagement With Community Arts

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Title: Braiding Our Past, Present And Future: Understanding Treaties And Embodying Settler Responsibilities Through Engagement With Community Arts
Author: King, Kelly Margita
Identifier: MESMP02871
Abstract: This major research project looks at how community arts practices can inform and engage on themes of treaty responsibility, settler colonialism and Indigenous histories of space. By looking at two different examples of community arts projects, this paper investigates how both personal reflection and larger collaborative education can lead us to greater understandings of history and responsibility, as well as stronger relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. The first example of community arts practice is a multi-season research engagement with my personal settler history. Through spending time with extended family in Nova Scotia, I was able to utilize existing genealogy records to further my investigations of settler-colonialism through an auto-ethnographic lens. By conducting interviews, visiting historical sites in Nova Scotia, and ultimately creating an art exhibit called Unsettling the Homestead, I was able to ground myself in some of my own settler history before I extended the work into the next community arts project. My second example is Talking Treaties Spectacle, a large scale outdoor performance which was developed over several years with hundreds of collaborators. This arts engagement aimed to educate people about Indigenous histories of Toronto and settler responsibilities to treaties through both the creation of the project as well as the finished performance. This community arts practice invited people to reflect on their own positionality, as well as their knowledge of place and history – or lack thereof. Braids were central metaphorical and structural pieces to both Unsettling the Homestead and Talking Treaties Spectacle. Extending this metaphor helped me to think about the links between past, present and future, both personally and in relation to greater social movements of Indigenous resistance and settler solidarity.
Type: Major project
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/34856
Citation: Major Paper, Master of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Date: 2017

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