Monthly Archives: March 2017

Indigenous Feminisms

 


Indigenous Feminisms & Womanism: A Conversation with Lorena Cabnal & Megan Kanerahtenha:wi Whyte
Hall Building 760 Concordia University
Thurs. Mar. 9 @ 11:30am

Join us for a chat with Lorena Cabnal and Megan Kanerahtenha:wi Whyte where we’ll hear about their work for gender justice in different communities and contexts. Both are connecting the land and body through issues such as reproductive justice and challenging violence against women, as well as extractivism. They’ll talk to us about two alternatives to mainstream feminism that arise in their work: communal feminism (feminismo comunitario) and Indigenous womanism.
– Speaker Biographies –

Lorena Cabnal is Maya-Qeqchi Xinca and a communal feminist, as well as a healer. She is from the Network of Ancestral Healers of the Commununal Feminism of Iximulew-Guatemala, a member of the Alliance Against the Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala. Lorena co-founded the Association of Indigenous Women of Santa María Xalapán (AMISMAXAJ), working towards the revitalization of the Xinka ethnic identity and the recovery of their ancestral lands. She has also been active in leading the struggle against Canadian mining in her community despite suffering threats and persecution because of her work. She has taken part in the creation of a approach to healing which connects communal feminism and Mayan cosmovision for the spiritual and emotional recuperation of Indigenous women in communities facing multiple forms of violence, both within their communities and in defense of territory.

Megan Kanerahtenha:wi Whyte is a young mother, artist, art educator, and art therapist candidate from the Kahnawake Mohawk First Nation community. She is currently completing a MFA at Concordia University in Art Therapy, with focus on addressing multigenerational trauma and attachment through visual media. Outside of her schooling, Megan is actively involved with the Kahnawake Youth Forum, the Native Youth Sexual Health Network and the Indigenous Young Women’s National Advisory Board providing an arts-based approach to social change. Her main project, Skatne Ionkwatehiahrontie, is a youth program that aims to foster relationships to the land, explore sexual health and connect youth to cultural networks. Megan’s social work in these spaces also inspire her artistic development, having her art pieces reflect concepts of healthy relationships, indigenous ‘womanism’, as well as environmental, reproductive, and social justice.

In partnership with Projet Accompagnement Québec-Guatemala (PAQG)and their speaking tour, which is focused on denouncing the criminalization of human rights defenders. More information here:http://www.paqg.org/node/481

Girl Positive Book Launch

On September 28th 2016, I participated on a panel discussion surrounding the “Girl Positive” book launch. The book, compiled and edited by Tatiana Fraser and Caia Hagel, features stories of girls across Canada regarding themes of empowerment, community mobilization and challenging heteropatriarchal dialogues within society.

I was included in this book for my community work regarding creating safe spaces for young Indigenous mothers to explore identity, cultural tools and empowerment as women. During the panel discussion, I explored the impact of colonization on female Indigenous identity and the ways in which cultural restoration impacts personal growth.

CBC Montreal “Turtle Island Reads”

On September 21st 2016, I was commissioned by CBC radio to create a live painting for their Turtle Island Reads. Turtle Island Reads is an Indigenous initiative that celebrates First Nations, Metis and Inuit literature that have had a significant impact on educators, youth and professionals in the community.

The live event consisted of a panel of community members discussing the role of Indigenous literature in the context of decolonization, socio-political movements and identity development.

My role was to capture the theme of the hour-long event within the hour provided. I chose to paint the creation story as a segue into exploring how narratives shape our lives as Indigenous people.