Week Two of the Earth Line Tattoo Training Residency
The second week of the Earth Line Tattoo Training Residency was spent learning about the relationship between Indigenous tattoo revival and land. At the most basic level our identity in North America is steeped in legislation that is designed to erase our identity and with it our rights to the very land that the nation states of Canada and the United States are inhabiting. The second is that our knowledge systems, language and visual language all come from and are informed by the land, so as I have journeyed I have always found it essential to spend time out on my territory to ground me in my place. Finally our tattoos are connected too the visual vocabulary painted and etched into the rocks of our vast territories. This is the reason I felt it necessary to take the artists involved in the Earth Line Tattoo Training Residency out onto my territory.
We took a 3 day backpacking trip hiking over 30 kilometers into the SteinValley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park.
Week One of the Earth Line Tattoo Training Residency Part 1
The first two weeks of the Earth Line Tattoo Training Residency have been absolutely mind blowing as I have been able to hear the stories of the artists in attendance Dean Hunt, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Amy Malbeuf and Jordan Bennett. These two blog posts will contain a run down of the activities and some of the lessons learned and shared over the first week and another to follow outlining the second week.
The Earth Line Tattoo Training Residency is happening as part of and running concurrently with the The Summer Indigenous Art Intensive Program which is coordinated by the Creative Studies Department at the the University of British Columbia Okanagan. It is an amazing program and this year is hosting “a core group of senior artists: Rebecca Belmore, Lori Blondeau, David Garneau, and Adrian Stimson. It will also include upward of 20 visiting studio artists in residence.”
As an Nlaka’pamux cultural tattoo practitioner I have had the benefit and honor of helping in the revival efforts of many Indigenous nations across Canada as I travel and share the gifts I have been given. A simple question at my Earth Line Tattooing Action at the Gallery 101 exhibition opening of “Owning with the Gaze,” in October 2015 curated by Cheryl L’Hirondelle sparked my thinking, which has manifested into the first Earth Line Tattoo Training Residency. Rachelle Dickenson asked that pivotal question as she sat and chatted with me as she received her skin stitch Earth Line. It was a simple question in the context of the conversation around my work in reviving Indigenous tattooing in Canada, “What is next?” My reply came, “I need to figure out how to teach others how to do what I do.”
The art of skin stitch tattooing is one my ancestors practiced for generations and it is coming back to life one stitch at a time, here is a short video documenting me sewing a tattoo on a friend of mine Cody. Enjoy and stay tuned for more videos and more posts.
Check out Lars Krutak’s TED Talk, he does an amazing job outlining the importance of Indigenous tattoo knowledge and the need to document your nations tattooing practices. I am honoured to have been mentioned during this presentation and am thankful for the work that he has done and continues to do.
I have finally finished editing my short documentary Indigenous Ink, I created this in one of my classes, in it I talk with friends and family about their tattoos, sometimes while we are in the process of tattooing. I plan on doing a few more of these type of projects in the future. Enjoy
been awhile since I posted anything here, I have been meaning to post something about ym friend Lars Krutak’s new book. It is an amazing resource for anyone interested in Indigenous tattooing, and especially for any Indigenous people looking for information on their ancestral tattooing practices. I got my copy earlier this summer and took some pics of me with the book for Lars facebook page.
Here is a picture of me proudly holding my signed copy from Lars.
The following is an excerpt from the book showing the section that I am featured in.
Here is another short piece I watched some time ago that I knew I had to share, it speaks about the struggle of young urban Indigenous youth with who they are. I will add a link to the YouTube video and a article written by Indiancountry todaymedianetwork.com. It shows some of the tattoos which these young men are choosing to represent who they are.
I watched this short piece done by CTV awhile ago but haven’t passed it on to those who might be interested in the story that is told about the revival of Haida Tattooing and the work of Gregory Williams.
It is a great video highlighting some of the history associated with the putting to sleep of this great tattooing tradition, most notably in the case of the Haida as the film presents is the Potlatch laws. I loved seeing how Gregory is waking up this sleeping tradition.
I am just starting to update this blog with some of the work I have been doing since I started my masters degree at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. This is a teaser trailer for a mini doc I produced as part of the class “Digital Filmmaking for activists and scholars”. It was the first time I did any sort of video editing, recording of interviews etc. I am cleaning up the final project and will be posting it within the next few weeks.