The Women's Long Lodge
I feel a bit heart broken at the moment. I'm waiting for the shuttle to take me to the airport to leave Banff, my Ktunaxa territory and I don't want to. I don't want to leave my land, I don't want to break up the Indigenous theatre mafia and I don't want to leave the dedication to the artistic practice. We had an incredibly productive 10 days here in a beautiful studio which turned into the women's lodge.
The Ktunaxa peoples always had 2 long lodges, one was for the older people in the community to have meetings and the other was for the young people to dance - I'm not joking, it was for dancing. So that is what we did here in the women's long lodge, we spent the mornings focused on our health, deep thinking and the afternoons and early evenings for working and then we held epic dance parties until the wee hours of the morning almost every night. We danced, we reclaimed that practice and we reclaimed space.
Being able to create a space for Indigenous work to happen is incredibly important and there just aren't enough of them, yet. The space was for our bodies, for our ideas, for our laws and customs, for our artistic practice, for ceremony, the space was ours and it meant so much to me. Sometimes I'd just go out there and blare my music and sit and think about the work we put up on the walls at like 2 in the morning. We drenched ourselves in the practice, in our culture and I'm heart broken that it's not permanent.
That being said, this land is not a place to stay permanently. For thousands of years Indigenous peoples gathered here and met at this power point, some people call it a vortex. The energy here is aggressive, propelling and inspiring. It does something to your body, your mind and your spirit that's not sustainable. I said to someone nobody comes here to do old work. We come here to invent, innovate and create new ideas, and I'm so proud that we did that and that I got to participate in a thousand year old practice of my peoples.
To the women who embodied the work, Quelemia Sparrow, Emilie Leclerc and Yolanda Bonnell limelet for your courage, wisdom and generosity.
To Kevin Loring who witnessed the work we are doing, sechanalyagh for your support, your friendship, belief and your continued guidance. You mean so much to me, you are the "emperor".
To Lindsay Lachance, dramaturg and so much more, I cannot and do not have the words to fully express how remarkable you are, how powerful you are and how lucky we all are to have you doing this work. I couldn't imagine igniting a fire with anyone else. I love you so much my friend. We will always have the powerful experience of when the 5 female elk, our ancestors surrounded us in the lodge.
I put some tobacco down, I'm going to wipe my tears away and always remember this trip as one of the most forceful and moving artistic practices of this life.
With love and love and love and love,