Through 2017-2019, the Pîkiskwe-speak Art and Film Installation: An Invitation to Conversations in Reconciliation toured across Canada, making stops at major centres in the east, the west and the north (See Tour Stops). This important cross-Canada tour was a collaborative arts project undertaken by filmmaker Beth Wishart MacKenzie and Indigenous artist, Lana Whiskeyjack, in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of Confederation in Canada.
An anniversary gives us occasion to look back on our past while at the same time looking forward to new possibilities. For Canada’s Indigenous peoples, however, acknowledging Canada’s 150th was deeply problematic because during this period of time more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children passed through the doors of Indian Residential Schools (IRS) designed to remove them from the cultural influences of their parents and communities and to assimilate them into mainstream Canadian society. The damaging effects of the system on IRS survivors and the children of survivors were brought to light by the careful work of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The authors of the TRC Final Report write, “Getting to the truth was hard, but getting to reconciliation will be harder.” They go on to say, “Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem; it is a Canadian one.”
In this “Time of Reconciliation” Pîkiskwe-speak seeks to engage audiences in Conversations of Reconciliation through ART; conversations that will explore the enduring effects of Canada’s IRS system with the aim of writing a new chapter, painting a new vision, and creating a new protocol for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relations in Canada.
With the cross-Canada tour complete, we now look forward to offering the content of the Pîkiskwe-speak Art and Film Installation ONLINE and to continuing the Conversation in Reconciliation we began with the tour. The online installation includes photographs of the ARTWORKS created by Lana Whiskeyjack for the tour: the powerful mixed-media triptych, Lost My Talk, and other artwork related to the theme of the installation. It also includes the award winning documentary FILM, Lana Gets Her Talk, created by Beth Wishart MacKenzie.
“Pîkiskwe” means “Speak” in the Cree language. Our ONLINE audience is invited to join the continuing Conversation in Reconciliation through WORD and through ART. Together we can carefully and creatively work to heal the wounding that occurred in our shared history and build community across this wide land.
PÎKISKWE-SPEAK ONLINE is an initiative of Beth Wishart MacKenzie created in cooperation with Lana Whiskeyjack.