• Kim Senklip Harvey

We're Doin It and Doin it and Doin it Ya!

Sitting at the Chilli's restaurant in the Treaty 6 airport and realizing that this is my "safe" place here, a place that I'm use to. I sit at the same dumb table and know that I can scarf down some food and still run to my gate if I need to. It's a colonial space that feels familiar and they usually have POC's servers which makes me feel even safer. 

In the past few weeks I've had the fortunate adventure of entering some real, spiritual and cultural spaces that aren't as familiar and navigating them has been a joyous and raucous adventure. 

On Monday June 3, 2019 at the BMO stage at The Arts Club Theatre, on Coast Salish Territories the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards were announced and over 50 shows we're celebrated including Kamloopa with a total of 8 nominations.

The committee had emailed me saying the Fire Company had been nominated for at least one award which I was very excited and grateful for. I had made the decision that I didn't want to go to the nominations party because I wanted to experience this offer in private.

So many moments around what I do is performative - which is the nature of the modality - I get it. But what I failed to do when Kamloopa was be shared with the public, was to take enough private moments to let in the joy around the scope of what we were doing into my heart.

When Kamloopa opened on the Coast Salish I actually had to book an appointment with my psychologist to investigate what was happening because I felt numb. I thought this should be a happy moment but I wasn't feeling it.

What Daryl and I worked on, was taking these moments of accomplishment and really allowing myself time to acknowledge them, honour them and be proud of them. I sat in his office crying the first tears of joy out of the whole experience. That’s right me sitting on west Broadway, tears streaming down my face, with my awesome white dude psychologist or mental strength training coach as I sometimes like to call him, feeling all the feels.

Fun Fact: we put Kamloopa together in about 16 days on the ground before tech and an audience. I was writing, directing, producing and many more things. Averaging 14 hours days for 16 days + and I did not bake into the practice letting in the joy. 

I learned a big lesson that I need to slow down and take these integral moments in - to personally, cognitively and spiritually let in the love.  And I'm still very much working on that. I still ask people to slow down, I still walk slow, I am still am working on it because being present - truly present in the here and now is work for me still. I’m spending everyday refusing colonial shame that traps me in past or distracts me with the future and ultimately denies me the beautiful powerful love of the present - I’m working on it.

So on that Monday, I was coming back from a fishing trip in the lower canyon and I realized this was one of those choices that I was going to make for myself, in service to my spirit, recognizing that yes everything is for my people but my people need me healthy, happy and peaceful because that is when I can do the most effective work. So, in the evening peak of the glowing sun, driving on the banks of the Sto:lo river, I heard the news and I broke down.

We pulled the car over and I just kind of wept. I don't cry like this often or enough and I was in a safe space that I could. I was so elated, so full of joy, so happy the tears just came. I was one proud momma. 

I've been struggling to feel a part of something. With almost no success from any granting body in 2 years for the work I want to do, struggling to accomplish the work in the way that I know it needs to be done. I was starting to feel very off. Like I was doubting the feasibility of creating this way because of euro-centric oppression and dominance and because I know can’t do it without the support of Non-Indigenous folx, I just can’t.

So when those nominations came out, I felt like we had been acknowledged, in a big way. I was crying tears of relief because I thought - this is going to help us make the case to support this way of working. I cried because I knew this was going to help Indigenous women be safer in rehearsal halls. I cried because all that pain I endured in my 20’s, all the erasure our predecessors had experienced and all that work was being acknowledged. I cried because I knew we had moved the system, even if it was just a little bit.

I'm an Indigenous person that intersects with many colonial systems and of course the ultimate desired outcome for all this work and process is that we have agency and sovereignty in all parts of the process, from inception, to funding to celebration but we’re not there yet. In this transition, there is going to have to be a redistribution of power and resources which means acknowledgement from colonial entities along the way.

So without colonial acknowledgement, I won’t have the opportunity to leverage that power because this is a relationship between non-Indigenous and Indigenous folx and we have to bear witness to one another to build trust and powerful relations to make this transition and yes, it is a transition.

So right here, right now I want to deeply thank every Jessie jury member who came to witness Kamloopa, every jury member who made a decision to engage in powerful opportunities to help create this new relationship. 

We worked really hard to be explicit and clear about what it was we were trying to accomplish and we feel seen and heard with your nominations. And to share with all the blog followers here is what we were nominated for:

Large Theatre Category:

Outstanding Set Design - Daniella Masellis - she brought the pow wow grounds on stage, like c'mon!!! - Her set was so transformative. 

Outstanding Sound Design and or Original Composition - Cris Derkson - she composed, recorded and designed it all in 14 days. 

Outstanding Direction - Me

Outstanding Production - Kamloopa

Significant Artistic Achievement 

Outstanding Ensemble - Yolanda Bonnell, Samantha Brown and Kaitlyn Yott - this one makes me cry tears of joy every time I think about it. I always said there is no lead - it’s three Matriarchs journeys. 

Outstanding decolonization of theatre spaces and practices - Lindsay Lachance and Me. This is all Dr. Lachancey. She’s my hero, sister and I have the deepest adoration for her.

Original Script - Kamloopa - Me and the Fire Company. We did this one together. 

Critics Choice Innovation Award - this one blew my socks off. I just can’t with these cats. What an honour to be in this category.

Your acknowledgement of the Fire Companies work has given us so much energy - I wish I could share with you the Kamloopa Krew What’s App group thread over the past week - it’s been so full of joy, pride and love. We said from the very beginning that any acknowledgement of the company was an acknowledgment for all of us.

All of the work we did and all of the work that our predecessors did, who will never get the credit they deserve. We are here because of all their hard work and we thank every Indigenous Matriarch who came before us and fought to hold space, alone and unsupported - this is for you and the future generations inheriting these spaces.

Together Forever, From Our Ancestors to Yours,

With such Indigenous love,

Kim and the Kamloopa Krew. 

 Photo Cred: Tim Matheson - also limelet Tim for all your incredible photos. They bring so much joy. Love you!