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  • Kim Senklip Harvey

Land Based Dramaturgy: Creating Indigenous Theatre


I've spent the last week Directing a workshop of Quelemia Sparrows new show and working closely with Dramaturg Dr. Lindsay Lachance rooting our practice in land based dramaturgy. We started the week with a small feast at my place, then canoed on the Salish Sea, we met with the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Protocol Officer, then did some medicine picking with her Aunty, mixed in some Indigenous table work, took a Redbone detour at Bardapalooza and today we finished visiting X̱wáýx̱way and jumped into the water.

Lately I've been really thinking about the way our stories live, exist and echo. What are the stories that live in the water, the land, us. When we were stepping into the canoes, wading and moving through the place where the water and land lap over each other Quelemia said "the ground feels like how my language hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ sounds."

The power of returning to the land to listen and think is a necessary part of the process to root ourselves and the work. For me as an Indigenous artist, this process is the real reclamation of our positions as protectors and stewards of Mother Earth. An Elder once told me "we are the land" so this practice of putting our bodies onto the land to create, is this kind of multifaceted journey of returning to ourselves. Our blood memory, the ancestors who live within us become activated.

This exploration into how we create, inquire and hold Indigenous stories is taking a lot of vulnerability and humility to bear witness to the sometimes murky waters we literally head into but I know we're on the right path when the salmon come say hello and surround us which is what happened today. This land based work provokes and resonates and I feel very fortunate to get to let all those inquiries percolate.

I'd like to take a moment to give limelet's to Savage Society, The Cultch, the community members who joined us on the canoe journey, thank you!

To Lindsay for your generosity, insight, curiosity and leadership - creating with you is a gift. To Quelemia, whose got a name so old and ancestral the meaning comes from many worlds, we are so fortunate to have you creating on your territory and always generously gifting us with your artistry.

I'm going to continue to better myself as a practitioner to ensure that I can best assist you in doing this remarkable work. The love and joy I feel doing this creation work truly feels like a journey home. So from my ancestors to yours I raise my hands and say huy tseep q’u.

Limelet, sechanalyagh,

With deep love,

Kim


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