• Kim Senklip Harvey

Active Artistic Ceremony

As the Fire Creator I've been deep into this ceremony going on 4 months now. The Igniters lit this about 3 months ago and the Holders have been holding it for about 3 months as well. She's burning bright and strong and I want to just take a moment to honour the Fire Company for their labour, good work and artistry - they truly are the ones sustaining the ceremony and tending the fire.

There have been so many moments of people gathering around the Fire that has been so moving, so transformational and activating that I'm definitely going to need some time to reflect on how it lands with me. Sometimes a Fire can be so warm, can dance so beautifully and illuminate new things that we've got to take some time to honour that and I look forward to that work this Winter.

I've had so many Indigenous women go out of there way to tell me how this has impacted them, some of the most profound being that they've never seen their full selves reflected in art before. When I first heard that I got really emotionally because I can't imagine what that must feel like and it's an honour that Kamloopa is allowing our women to be seen fully. We've had talking circles and talkbacks that have been filled with stories about the challenges of not feeling "enough".

Indigenous peoples have been systematically positioned away from our land and culture and have had colonial and institutional metrics of validity of wholeness oppressed upon us which makes it very complicated to feel sure in knowing who we are. It can cause lateral violence against one another, which we address in Kamloopa, where some community members harmfully position themselves above or say things like "I'm not just any community member" with a false sense of authority in a Eurocentric paradigm -which makes me so uncomfortable.

I find that Indigenous community members entrenched in that hierarchical pedagogy struggle the most to extract the colonialism and have confidence to be able to laugh and see the truth. It's why we're doing Kamloopa because it makes me feel sad for those so steeped in colonialism they are unconscious of their complicity to uphold systems that are anti-Indigenous. As much as Kamloopa is for the Matriarchs who are able to see the truth of what we're doing it's also, maybe especially, for those who are not and not quite ready and need more time on their journey and we're sending them so much courage and love.

For every Indigenous person there will be a journey to understanding who we are that is unique to that person and Kamloopa is an offer to the community to help them on their journey and that has been the overwhelming feedback. That Kamloopa has left them feeling joyous, powerful, confident, seen and ignited to keep journeying on.

We continue to have close to full houses for each show which is also teaching me that we're offering something to the community that they've been craving. And that feels so good because I want to honour everyone's time, our most precious resource. To also see how many Matriarchs and community members are helping amplify what we're doing on their social media and circles of friends has been so generous.

This week I've also been to 3 University classes to guest lecture and hang out with some remarkable learners. In these spaces I've been blown away by the innovation, generosity, intellect and courage to dive deep into the questions and curiosity of what it is we're doing here. Having students after class run after me to discuss their theories on the car crash, the journey of the Raven and how it meaningfully continues to resonate with them. I leave with a grin and happiness knowing Senklip is hanging out with us, in us. Limelet Nicola Harwood, Kathleen Oliver and Manisha Singh for creating space in your teachings to centre Indigenous Matriarchs.

We've got 2 shows left on the Coast Salish and then we head over to Metis and Cree territory on Sunday and Monday to gift this show to that territory. I'm very excited about that because a hero of mine is from there and that's a story for the next blog.

I want to send so much love out to the Coast Salish for making Kamloopa such a success here! As I am a guest on this unceded territory, a place I love so much, it's an honour to create ceremony on this powerful land.

Lots of decolonial love and sending courage to all,


p.s tickets for the last two shows at the Cultch can be purchased here. Tickets for Saskatoon can be purchased here. And check out this article I did with the lovely Jessica Johns with PRISM magazine here. You can also check out the Love Letters to Kamloopa that Vancouver Plays has created space for on their platform here.

Photo by Tim Matheson