Indigenous Artists Chief Lady Bird and Aura

Chief Lady Bird: “Introduction in Anishnaabemowin” My name is Chief Lady Bird I come
from Rama First Nation and I sit in the Eagle clan. Aura: “Introduction in Haudenashonee/Oneida language” Hello my name is Aura
I come from Oneida Nation of the Thames and I sit in Turtle clan. CLB: You want to start?
Aura: yeah so we’re gonna share a little bit about the cover art Aura: so the image is a
young woman and she’s she’s got like an abalone shell and she’s smudging I’ll talk about the little girl in the image since I had added her in she’s offering tobacco to the water and she’s picking medicines and that’s kind of in
connection to reciprocity and the idea that we give before we take and
give thanks before anything happens Aura: you notice that there will be medicines in
the smudge bowl and so even before the medicines get to that point, we
need to be able to offer tobacco in order to take those medicines and
then use them for our healing so CLB: so the whole piece is basically about
reciprocity cycles healing which is why we included the 13 moon
teachings to talk about the phases of life that we go through the ways in
which we sort of know how to live and nourish ourselves during each changing
aspect throughout the year and that also sort of tells us how to interact with
each other how to care for each other which directly coincides with using
these medicines right? So teaching our youth how to pick them and how to give
back at the same time without taking too much that was one of our original
agreements was that we wouldn’t take too much and we would just take enough to
sustain us and that we would always take care of the four-leggeds, and the wingged
animals and the plants and the water as well and as a whole as humans we
haven’t lived up to that and so I think a lot of people are trying to sort of
revisit that and look into how we can sort of get back on
that path and so by having two younger individuals in the piece talks about
how the youth are leading that movement to getting us back on that path to taking care of each other, to learning, relearning how to love each other and
how to offer the safe spaces that like smudging each other can have Aura: there’s also florals within the image and these florals are both of our
designs combined these florals are really important to every aspect of our
creative process and our own creative selves and just who we are the red
florals are florals that I designed and they come directly inspired by Haudenesaunee beadwork At the bottom of our skirts there’s usually flowing lines and like these inside of the sky dome there’s usually like a little like flower or
plant life within the sky dome and that’s I’m talking to what my sister was just
talking about in terms of you know the respect for like the plant life
and everything within that sky dome and even beyond that sky dome so the florals are connected also we’ve combined them which I’ll let Chief Lady Bird talk about her florals CLB: yeah so the blue ones are based in woodland style art which is obviously
like nation specific and something that I’ve been learning over the years so I actually I started making those a few years… …five years ago, six years ago… and when I started making florals it became about my personal healing process through …well through everything… (both laughing) …we have a lot to heal all right? and it’s also been helping me in terms of like coming to terms with the fact that I don’t have my language or like I’m living in an urban space
it’s all about connection and weaving all these things together and so no
matter what subject matter I’m talking about in my work or that she’s talking about in her work when we have these florals weaved in it’s about healing and bridging and you know talking about what came before us and honouring those processes
as well and when it comes to woodland style work like there wouldn’t be a platform
for me as an Anishinaabe artist CLB: if like Morrisseau and Daphne Odjig and
all of those amazing iconic people hadn’t have paved that path and gotten
us into gallery spaces because prior to that we were just seen as artifacts that
would be in museums and we weren’t we weren’t seeing as present we were seen as past tense and so they did a lot of work to get us to this point and so I
attribute a lot of what I can do now to those movements of contemporary art and then when we combine them together as an Anishinaabe and Haudenesaunee artist Aura: it kind of connects to the Ojibwe Oneida friendship belt which I didn’t
know anything about before we started working together and then it was on the
wall and we were reading it and we were both reading at the same time we’re like
Ojibwe and Oneida and I’m like that’s us (both laughing) we were like WOW and then we were thinking about it and I was like this is like our florals like because the way that the
friendship belt goes it’s like that relationship and then the combining of
our florals is about that relationship of like learning from each other
learning with each other and then when we’re teaching and we’re sharing we’re
sharing those different aspects of self and then it is a really interesting
building on that you know the nation-to-nation friendship and those
relationships so it’s just really cool to learn that CLB: and the floral has become
a really good teaching tool in terms of diversity of our nation’s you know we
talking earlier about Ojibwe like supremacy which like I don’t want to
call it a supremacy but the idea that like Ojibwe teachings are disseminated
more than other teachings and so there becomes a pan unionisation of
who Indigenous people are both within our communities and outside of our
communities so we do our florals were able to talk about the differences that make us who we are and make our nation’s unique and it opens up
the space to talk about that and so with this design we actually when
we make art we only include our perspectives we’re not going to take
from other nations that are not ours we’re not going to take from the Cree, Métis, the Mi’kmaq, Inuit etc etc etc it goes on and on like we would never do that and
that’s lateral appropriation because we should one of our core beliefs is
that we should kind of stick to what we know and without taking and harming from
our brothers and sisters of other nations Aura: yup

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