Monday, April 25, 2011

instant family

last month, York Uni student amanda pereira brought a heap of folks in to see the NEPA/red diva projects Tombs of the Vanishing Indian. most of those people were new to NEPA work. amanda also took it upon herself to fundraise a substantial amount of cash donations to NEPA.

 who IS this magical woman, you ask? 

over the next few days, i offer you some insight into how such wonders can happen, here on earth. 
i posed a few questions, and amanda took them on.

1) Why is Native Earth work for everyone?
Although Native Earth Performing Arts presents stories of an Indigenous basis, I do not believe only Indigenous peoples can enjoy these stories, nor do I believe they are put on only for Indigenous peoples. In raising money for Native Earth, I brought a group of 30 classmates of all different backgrounds to Tombs of the Vanishing Indian. Despite our multicultural histories, I heard the same thing from everyone: how powerful the show was, how beautiful the presentation and style, how important the message, how magnificent the performers were...whether they were Indigenous or not, none of us could deny the brilliance of the piece. Furthermore, I believe Indigenous stories are ones every person living in Canada, living on Native land, should be familiar with. Borrowing from the words of Ward Churchill, if you are living on someone else's land, you ought to learn about those people and perhaps why it is no longer their land. I believe in doing nothing, one is actively participating in the oppression taking place against Indigenous peoples, and so these stories told by Native Earth include everyone! It is my duty, I believe as a non-Indigenous person, to familiarize myself with these stories, and direct others where they can learn of these stories as well. The stories of Indigenous culture told by Native Earth I believe are stories of North America before it was deemed North America and about what has happened since this land has been deemed North America. In that sense, the stories include and encompass everyone. The pieces of art presented by Native Earth are ones that can be enjoyed and learned from by all peoples.

amanda's words conjure up the text spoken by the character "Ruth" played by michelle st. john.

"As a practice, you should always know whose land you're walking on."

                                                        Michelle St. John and Nicole Joy-Fraser.        photo by Nir Bareket
-contributed by Amanda Pereira and Tara Beagan

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