• Kim Senklip Harvey

The Encircling Nature of Relational Indigenous Structures

One of the most relentless battles I face with my creative practice is the unconscious and unchecked violence inflicted by non-Indigenous folks and imperialists who aggressively and without consent force my stories into a binary comparative analysis to western structures and frameworks.

They are often fear drive, state agents looking to centre their own paradigm, analysis, ontology and thus state oppression. Well meaning white and imperial folks, coming into Indigenous worlds with the state monolithic capacity and conditioning only to engage via a imperial-centric perspective.

It feels as painful and as aggressive as plucking a flower, squeezing the stem, firmly pulling upwards and detaching the petals from the stalk and going - there now let me look at it.

It's a brutality that goes so unchecked in canadian storytelling, it was an impetus for creating this blog. I wanted to have a space to share process, methods, perspectives and decision making from an Indigenous paradigm. I've been writing and theorizing about this on da blog for about 3 years now, so if you're new and looking to work on your anti-racist practices, I strongly encourage you to go back to previous posts and spend some time saturating yourself in totems of Indigenous artistic process.

I have over 30 years of investigating white paradigms and imperial ontologies with my research and lived experiences. I've been in your teaching environments, spent much time engaging with your kin systems, and have been engulfed in your artistic and storytelling structures and I've have been involved with many of your ceremonies with your churches and state. As a part of transforming your racism, you have to respect and recognize that most anti-imperialist Indigenous peoples are more educated and knowledgeable than white and imperial folks when it comes to paradigm world hopping and traversing cultures because of the insidious nature of colonization.

If you concede that the state has violently been asserting their constitution on Indigenous people, than by way of that admission, you acknowledge that we have more experience in engaging and navigating a multiplicity of cultures. We've been enduring imperialism, with great tenacity and grit, whilst still centering and continuing our Indigenous ways of being. It's been a multi-plain experience for us.

If your not an Indigenous person, and you're looking to engage with Indigenous artistic ceremony, I think it's imperative you reflect and acknowledge how many Indigenous ceremonies have you experienced? Was Kamloopa your first one? And if so, what is the work you are doing to better understand, without centering self, what the nuances, purpose and complexities of Indigenous ceremony are? Especially before you start analyzing, comparing and asserting "expertise" in any form.

This post is an offer to ratchet up your knowledge and experience, to consciously let go of your colonial imperial mindset and enter into an Indigenous paradigm of creation. And know this should be one of many experiences you're seeking out because to re-condition yourself from your racist and imperially violent ways, it's going to take time and much dedication, remember when I said I have over 30 years of experiencing your culture.

So read many Indigenous writers, see Indigenous films, attend Indigenous zoom panels in and out of your sector, just as I and many of my colleagues have been doing for decades. You must continually be broadening your understanding and building your capacity to know the nuance of Indigenous ontologies, culture and storytelling.

So, in 2018 I tweeted:

But wut does that mean?

Distilled it means if you're waiting for an ejaculatory climax - you're missing the heat and the plethora of intensities all along the journey. And if you feel "unsatisfied" at the end of a non-well made play structure, the imperial patriarchy conditioning is strong in you little white muskrat. Strooooooong.

As a creator I know how instrumental pre-production engagements are for witnesses to fully arrive. From community of practices to zoom hangs, blogs, blogs and podcasts, I work very hard to extend opportunities so we can bravely come into the worlds. For Kamloopa there is much toteming and now for Break we're building the atmosphere of offers so I'm going to root this structural investigation into that artistic ceremony.

Breaks structure is episodic like a rock concert and it's also a tension of pulling in. Using the gravity and power of a black hole we circle the centre of Universal power, on each rotation (song and scene) we make many offers and invitations to slide and shred our dogmatic imperially conditioned ways of being to think courageously in order to break into an Indigenous paradigm.

Break is a ceremony and ceremonies can have many rounds of vibrational, energetic, physical, cognitive and spiritual cleansing. These rounds are designed to induce a trance like states which elicit many feelings, including discomfort which is necessary for the wholistic and comprehensive refresh and transformation of self. I find the repetition deepens the opportunity to access to knowledge and strengthen our physical, cognitive and spiritual capacities. That is the endurance element of ceremony.

It's sort of like when ya'll have those wedding ceremonies and the groom and bridal parties get up again and again and again sharing stories of relational connectivity, it's a protocol with the intended outcome to further bond the lovers and families beyond time and blood. But just like every Indigenous show is not always effective, not all of these protocols are either. Having Karen and Todd drunkenly share stories about party bus and frat times is maybe not the most effective contribution. I do have to admit some aspects of your ceremonies still very much confuse me.

But what I do understand with colonial weddings, baby showers, funerals and baptisms there are layers to the ceremony that include illuminating connections to mystical beings and relations beyond this dimension. I always found the people presencing these intersections fascinating. They are calling on Grandparents that might have passed and exist beyond this realm and are tying them all to the present with stories and powers that go beyond colonial notions of time and space.

Which is why I know non-Indigenous peoples have the power and ability to relate, nourish and engage with Indigenous stories, I've seen you do it. I've seen you release yourself from the confines of linear time, colonial structures, evolve your culture and breathe on a mystical practice that exists outside cognitive "rationale" and "logic" without making it "magic". I've seen you powerfully exist in your ceremonies that connect you to the ether and mystics of the Universe. And this is where Break lives.

Break as a narrative structure is designed to live on circular evolutions and it doesn't “peak”, I respect you too much as witnesses for that. I stack dimensional layers into the journey. The plains of the story traverse the imperial bonds of time and the human understandings of space to intersect the complex illuminations of why we are all necessary and deeply matter.

There is an intensifying of the ceremony when Scarlet breaks the event horizon but it’s not a “climax”. It’s an embodied dimensional transformation and a reflection of our Universal connectedness. We will launch ourselves into the centre of the galaxy on a trajectory that compels and propels us around an enormous event, breaking us out of the notions of what we think we know and if we're brave enough to be vulnerable to refresh ourselves to become what this Universe needs us to be, the ceremony and experiences will be powerful.

I was doing some research yesterday looking into ideas and breakthroughs of great and incomprehensibly innovative theorists such as Albert Einstein, who pulled the notion of gravitational waves from the ether 70 years before it was proven. It was like he channeled this vibrational truth. Can you imagine what that must have been like for him? Conjuring and illuminating ideas baked into the dark matters of the Universe- oooof it boggles, flexes and bends my mind and spirit in the greatest ways.

I deeply respect the humility he embodies in his theory and work. How he extends the notions of what's possible and I believe this is one of the epigraphs for Break Horizons:

Break exists on a praxis of compassion and liberation and it's encircling structure is built to widen our abilities to embrace all organisms of the Universe. To respect and nurture all the components and elements conducive to conscious life, including the love and belief we must gift ourselves to break out of the prisons of shame and blame the state has constructed to shackle us. Break is an Indigenous love story, one that deserves to exist outside the residue, violence and confines of imperial love and structures.

I create this ceremony with the desire we all tap into the timeless bonds of joy that will ignite a dignified future for us all.

With respect and deep love,


p.s my consultation page is here. Take a look and help this Indigenous femme by sharing this post and the page.