Relation, Resilience, and Revitalization
Saturday, June 26, 2021 | 15:00 - 16:30
Live panel on Zoom; spoken in English. No ASL interpretation or translation will be offered for this event.
(CHAIR: NICOLE NOLETTE) MORGAN JOHNSON, LEAH TIDEY, KIRSTEN SADEGHI-YEKTA & THEA 102 CLASS
Performing the Nation: Settler colonial scenarios of conquest and the Canadian imaginary
Scholars have contended that colonial relations rest on acts of geographic violence and that this profoundly negative relationship to land can only be restored by acts of resistance, recovery, restoration and resurgence (Coulthard, 2014; Fanon, 1963; Said, 1994; Simpson, 2017). Solving the myriad environmental crises we face today requires simultaneously pursuing an environmental and decolonial political vision, as colonization and ecological degradation are intricately connected (Tiffin & Huggan, 2009). This has never been so important as it is during a global pandemic, when Indigenous communities and grassroots groups are disproportionately impacted while extraction and land theft continue largely unabated.
My paper will critically explore the history of settler-land relationships in Canada and how this history-present is embedded in what Diana Taylor calls scenarios, defined as “meaning-making paradigms that structure social environments, behaviors, and potential outcomes” (p. 31). I will analyze a selection of key Canadian figures, narratives and symbols in order to explore how they contribute to these scenarios which, through their repeated performance over the past 400 years, construct and uphold the nation. My research thus proposes an un-mapping of white settler subjectivity through a critical analysis of the nodes in which it is most heavily embedded in order to explore how settlers can engage in narratives and performance practices that subvert settler colonial hegemony and work in solidarity with Indigenous-led decolonization movements across Turtle Island.
Morgan Johnson is a PhD candidate at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, under the supervision of Dr. Honor Ford-Smith. She is also a theatre creator and performer and co-runs Animacy Theatre Collective in Toronto.
Performing Jealous Moon: Resilience in Language Reawakening on Zoom
CHRIS ALPHONSE, MARTINA JOE, ROSEANNA GEORGE, SHARON SEYMOUR, DONNA MODESTE, THOMAS JOHNNY, SIERRA PELKEY, THOMAS JONES, DR. KIRSTEN SADEGHI-YEKTA, & DR. LEAH TIDEY, UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA
Teaching theatre online is not an easy task. But using theatre as a means for language reawakening on Zoom presents even further challenges. Mourning our previous (and precious) methods of connection while striving to build new paths forward, the University of Victoria’s theatre department 102 class has navigated the tricky terrain of building theatre and language skills through Zoom to bring the Hul’q’umi’num’ story, hw’i’ttsus lhqel’ts’ (Jealous Moon), to life. Weaving together the voices of theatre students, mentors, and teachers, we propose a performative and interactive presentation that reflects our practice in using community-based theatre for Hul’q’umi’num’ language reawakening on Coast Salish territory. Our approach of sharing language, songs, stories, drawings, virtual backgrounds, and screens strengthens our connection to each other as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples yet disrupts our sense of place and community. Inspired by Donald’s (2009) métissage approach which holds space for diverse voices to emerge and blend, our embodied presentation strives to “braid strands of place and space, memory and history, ancestry and (mixed) race…familiar and strange, with strands of tradition, ambiguity, becoming, (re)creation, and renewal” (Hasebe-Ludt, Chambers & Leggo, 2009, p. 9). As we all grapple with a new reality each day, our ability to create together in a time of prolonged crisis has never been more necessary for our recovery.
Donald, D. (2009). Forts, Curriculum, and Indigenous Métissage: Imagining Decolonization of Aboriginal-Canadian Relations in Educational Contexts. The Journal of the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre: First Nations Perspectives. 2(1). 1-24. http://www.mfnerc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/004_Donald.pdf
Hasebe-Ludt, E., Chambers, C., & Leggo, C. (2009). Life writing and literary métissage as an ethos for our times. Peter Lang.
THEA 102 Class: During the fall semester of 2020, the THEA 102 class at the University of Victoria rehearsed and performed hw’i’ttsus lhqel’ts’ (Jealous Moon) over Zoom. This course is part of a multi-year project entitled the Hul’q’umi’num’ Language Heroes which has explored using theatre for language reawakening. The course was designed for students interested in Indigenous performances and languages and was co-lead by Dr. Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta, Indigenous scholar and artist, Thomas Jones, and white-settler postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Leah Tidey. This course used the Hul’q’umi’num’ language by looking into the ways traditional stories can be brought to life in dramatic performances that spark and hold the interest of language speakers, language learners, and the general public.