i’ve been inspired to share my work the last few months. i was a part of a photo show middle of april with my classmates from a historic photography course at the University of Saskatchewan, and since then i’ve had this urge and need to share my photography. i have been a part of this formal photography realm through university since the January 2016 and from this experience, i’ve learned my hand in photography. for the past year and half i’ve built this portfolio that portrays my life. my life as an indigenous person and this journey i’ve been on over the last few years of decolonizing myself and finding my path again. this path has brought me to many places. currently im on the path of finishing my Bachelor of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan studying Indigenous Studies and Studio Art and completing next year. this path as brought me to confront my identity and what i really care about. which has lead my to this, here, now.
if someone were to ask me what i’m all about i’d say repurposing, photography, and decolonizing this country and place i live through my actions, sustainability, activism. kind of a long and weird introduction to say to people, but they are honestly the things i care about. i’m so incredibly irritable by garbage and wastefulness. myself as an indigenous person and understanding the ways my people have lived for so many years has meant nothing is wasted. nothing needs to be wasted and the careless way we live our lives and use everything around us needs to change. we need to repurpose. repurpose ourselves, our things, our life.
i’ve been walking down this path learning the suffering of my people and living with the aftermath of our colonized country. i’m trying to walk a path where my footprint is minimal on our planet and its resources. i’m attempting to educate people and show that there is another way of living.
so, there this show that i’m working on. it has been in the works for a month now. i through it out there in the universe and it came back to me and i felt i needed to share. my good friend Vanessa who runs her own tattoo business and studio had offered up her place for me to share my work over a coffee and conversation one day and then the ball rolled a little more down to the confirmation of my first independent photography show.
my photography has been on this heavy theme of identity and my relationship with the land i live with and came from. i’m originally from this beautiful land that sits on the churchill river. i am a dene from treaty 10. my need to find myself again as i came home from my wanderings years was apparent as i settled down and answered the call to finish my degree. through these years i’ve had a many a identity crisis (haha) and have found myself here. feeling more myself than i have in a long time.
i had a significant experience as i was home a lot last summer. on one of my visits home, someone from my community said “you’ve come back. you’re home now”.
the years of feeling displaced and disoriented as to who i was and where i came from disappeared. i felt like i can put my feet back on that land and there wasn’t any more shame in who i was. i didn’t feel like i had to explain the years of feeling lost in the city being the only indian in a crowd of east side white kids. there were years that went by where i had no idea that i was covering up my shame as an indigenous person through school, sports, education, christianity, and ministry. but creator has lead me down this path and it has made me stronger and wiser.
so as i was thinking of a name for my show. i felt like i needed a word that described this path i’ve been on.
that’s what i feel repurpose is.