Tansi Sandra Lamouche Nitsikason…
Niya nehiyaw iskwew. I am a Cree woman.
Aisinew askiy ota. I am from the land.
We belong to the land. The land belongs to us. We are in a mutual relationship with land.
We belong to each other. Not in the capitalist sense of ownership, but an indigenous collective matriarchal way. In a way that involves respect, responsibility, and generosity.
The past few years has seen me dancing out more on the land and spending more time outdoors. Although the practice of ‘land dancing’ is not new. I have spent several months over the past decade working with Rulan Tangen of Dancing Earth (Santa Fe) creating and collaborating with a diverse group of artists with the environment and land as the inspiration, from movement to eco-friendly costumes.
When the popularity of the Land Back movement took hold I had to do a lot of reflecting and learning on what this meant to me, my family and my community. This movement is not just about land ownership. It is about returning to land and culture. It is also about adhering to treaty agreements and addressing the ongoing problem with Indigenous consultations and land acknowledgements in a fair and just way. The Indigenous led movement is all of this and more. It is complex, interconnected, and extensive.
These goals might seem audacious in the face of the colonial oppression we were taught. How incredulous and bold a statement it may seem to some to suggest Indigenous people are entitled to our own lands, cultures, languages, and more.
The last few years during the pandemic have helped me to reset my life. I have been able to align myself more with the natural cycles of nature and spending winters close to home, hibernating, alone, quiet and reflecting. Travelling in spring and summer. Harvesting more often medicines, food, and hunting with my family. This has got me thinking that we don’t need permission for Land Back. We can start right now by returning to the land and continuing our relationships with plants and animals regardless of the colonial state.
My performance piece explores the theme of Land Back through a multidisciplinary approach.