Mother Earth's Honouring: a failed creation fund application but a successful process.
Nat Geo Photo: Salvator Valente
One piece of my work that I’m most proud of, that maybe 4 or 5 people have ever read, was in my 2018 National Creation fund application for an extended Indigenous development period for Break Horizons, I put Mother Earth as one of my producing partners.
The Arts Club
That application was composed of many exciting aspects including; creating a Matriarchal Council to advice the entire process, spiritual residencies, and multiple inter-Indigenous gatherings to center knowledge sharing as the art and not just "the show." And as cool as those elements are, I don't think they were what was most potent about that application and Break's current creation process - it was honouring Mother Earth as the original producing partner.
In my work to dismantle imperial hierarchies in theatrical creation, it is incredibly important that my work is participating in an ongoing process of nourishing healthy relations that honours all Mother Earth's organisms. I really don’t do this storytelling work for opening nights or "the theatre." When I say the process is the art, the process, respectful relations is what matters to me because the process impactfully echoes into the work, and becomes the art.
To reduce this understanding: you disrespectful, colonial, imperial, oppressive, ungrateful in process - that will become the art.
Putting her name down was out of deep respect for my peoples heritage and an act of resurgence and continuance in my ongoing Salish work to be in relations that are bonded by reciprocity. It was an assertion of Salish sovereignty and creative practice, that refuses the oppression of imperial hegemonic creative practice. I was stating that imperial currency - money - was only one form of support.
Presencing Mother Earth holds myself and the other partners accountable, to make decisions that honour her generosity and ongoing contributions. By honouring Mother Earth in the inceptual creation process, I’ve made many different decisions around how I create art with Break. I will share with you later more stories and elements and as we travel together on this creation journey.
Presencing her name, came from the deep respect I have for awesome energetic and material generosity. Her astonishing ability to continually send us love, when we struggle so deeply to send any back. I put her name name down because there is nothing I am more humbled by and in service to, than Mother Earth.
My Creation Fund application got very dismissed - it didn’t even make it to the second phase but honestly, next to the Treaty, the document that ideologically holds this relational honouring, this cultural evolution of presencing Mother Earth in my application, is one of the proudest accomplishments of my creative career.
That little line holding her heritage and stewardship and power, has radically impacted my process and ability to make my Ancestors proud and I am infinitely grateful.
Love to those handing in grant applications today, remember the offer that the process can be the art,
With the deepest love and respect to Mother Earth,