"L'éveil au Cercle" - "Awakening to the Circle"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Call for Participation

posted for Cherry Smiley

Truth and Revolution: Aboriginal Women
Weave the Resistance
Dear Sisters,
Do you, or someone you know, have a story
to tell? Do you want an opportunity to tell it?
I'm looking for 582 Native women to lend their
stories and images for an art project about our
struggles, our resistance, and our pride as
Native women.
The media usually presents only one side of
our stories, if that. They tell the public only
about our struggles and the poor conditions of
our lives. While these stories are true and
shouldn't be ignored, I want to acknowledge our
full stories, all sides. I want to tell our
stories of poverty and loss, but also of our
resistance to these things and how we get through
them. I want to tell our stories of abuse and
struggle, but also of our successes, our talents,
and our pride. I want the public to know the harsh
realities of our lives but I also want to celebrate
518 years of our resistance in the face of colonization.
Sisters, I am respectfully asking and inviting
your participation in this project. Please email
truthandrevolution@gmail.com if you are interested in
participating. Check truthandrevolution.wordpress.com
for project updates.
With Respect,
Cherry Smiley
About the Project
As of March 2010, the Native Women's Association
of Canada had documented 582 cases of missing and
murdered Aboriginal women across Canada. We all know
the actual number is higher, and we all see stories
about this come and go in the media. My mom and I came
up with the idea for this project together. We see
this project as a response to the media coverage and
co-optation of our missing and murdered sisters by
non-native people. We see it is a statement against
colonization, racism, sexism, and violence against women.
But primarily, we see it as a celebration of our
strength and resistance as Native women.
This project will include 582 photographs and
interviews of Native women across Canada, myself
and my family included. Some of the things we might
talk about in the interviews include: the foster care
system, residential schools, prostitution, physical
violence, sexual violence, colonization, racism, sexism,
discrimination, welfare, reserves, city life, poverty,
health care, disability, addiction, employment, family,
friends, survival, resistance, pride, success, traditions,
stories, talents, goals, etc.
I will audio record each interview and also plan on
videoing parts of the process. This project will hopefully
result in 1) an installation that uses the photos, audio,
and text from the interviews, 2) a (possibly self-published)
book using the photographs and text from the interviews,
and 3) a video project, specifics undecided at this point.
Currently, I have no budget. What I do have is respect,
determination, and a desire to tell our stories. At this
point, I am financing the project myself.
Eventually, I will be asking for participation all
across Canada, every province and territory. For now,
because of lack of funds, I am looking for Aboriginal
women in and around Vancouver, BC. If you are outside this
area and want to participate, please email me anyways,
and let me know you're interested. This will help to
plan for the future.
I hope to complete photographs and interviews by
September 2011.
Aboriginal women who want better lives for themselves
and for our future generations, and who are willing to
share their stories and images, are welcome to email
truthandrevolution@gmail.com with your name, contact info,
and a bit about yourself. Also feel free to email
if you have any questions about the project, or if you
are emailing on behalf of a woman who does not have access
to the internet. Check project updates at
<http://truthandrevolution.wordpress.com/> .
Women who are selected to participate will be
contacted in the upcoming months.
About Me
My name is Cherry Smiley, and I come from the
Nlaka'pamux/Thompson and Dine'/Navajo Nations.
I live as a visitor on Coast Salish Territories
in Vancouver BC. I am a member of the Aboriginal
Women's Action Network and I work occasionally at
a rape crisis centre and transition house. I have
studied at universities in Australia and Scotland,
and I currently go to school for Film, Video,
& Integrated Media. I have a lot to learn and am lucky
to have many teachers around me.

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