It is a time
it is a time
no more do we
hide our dreams
we wear them
on our shirts
round our necks
they make music
in our hair
-Alex Jacobs (Mohawk), Poet
"It is the terrible truth that most of us, in dark painful moments, have felt inadequate for not living up to the romantic images. We know they aren't really true, of course."
-Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche), Artist
My people will sleep for one hundred years and when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.
-Louis Riel (Metis)
We have to pick things that our people have left along the trail. Everything wasn't passed down. Too many of our people died too quick back then. They didn't have time to pass it all down. So we Indians today have to go back and find the things that got left along the trail. It's up to us to go back and pick them up. We have to educate ourselves to know who we are. That's what I mean when I say, 'Teach the children.' The Grandfathers and Grandmothers are in the children. If we educate them right, our children tomorrow will be wiser than we are today. They're the Grandfathers and Grandmothers of tomorrow. -Eddie Benton-Banai (Ojibway)
...Before the healing can take place, the poison must first be exposed...
-Tomson Highway (Cree), Playwright in Dry Lips
Oughta Move to Kapuskasing
After days of blue haired ladies commenting
on the odd slant of your eyes, asking
if real men wear earrings, or, "darling,
perhaps he's supposed to be a pirate";
after hearing, "my, what big teeth
you have," as if all people's stories
are the same, Coyote gets lonely
for brown women whose grandfathers
told them tales, whose memories
collect adventures that run deep in time
when everything was changeable.
Coyote waits 'til no one is looking,
comes off the wall to check out other
rooms. Hoping he's found the girl
of his dreams, ripe and ready,
he laps the ass of a Maillol bronze
and sniffs the air. The hard, cold surface
caresses no one's tongue, makes him
wish for desert girls who sing
while they grind corn, who know they own
the world and shyly catch the image
of a stare in the corners of their eyes.
How was it that he ever let that bright-eyed
brown man with the wild hair talk him
into posing, tell him fame would make them
both rich; one has to laugh, mangy gambler;
one has to laugh at where vanity and wealth
will take one. An Indian understands
you're just a horny devil playing tricks
on yourself and making the whole world
rich with ironies while people try to figure
out what the image you're creating means.
- Coyote, Hanging in a Museum, Comes off the Wall by Gail Tremblay (Onondaga Mi'kmaq) for Harry Fonseca in Indian Singing in 20 th Century America
We are all related.
My works are like little puzzles, interesting little games.
I play a game with humanity and with creativity. I ask viewers to play the participatory game of dreaming ourselves as each other. In this we find out that we're all basically human...My work is not fabricated for the art market. There's no market for intellectual puzzles or works of spiritual emancipation.
If we look at the world in the form of a circle, let us look at what is on the inside of the circle as experience, culture and knowledge: let us look at this as the past ... What is outside of the circle is yet to be experienced. But in order to expand the circle we must know what is inside the circle ... it has been the art that has brought us back to our roots. ... I am proud to be one of those people chosen to put the puzzle back together and move on ...The challenge is ours to keep expanding the circle.
In my language, which is Cree, the mind is called mom tune ay chi kun . Mom tune ay chi kun is the sacred place inside each of us where no one else can go. It is this place that each one of us can dream, imagine, fantasize, create and, yes even talk to the grandfathers and grandmothers.
The thoughts and images that come from this place are called mom tune ay chi kuna , which means wisdoms, and they can be given to others in stories, songs, dances and art.
Stories are called achimoona , songs are called nugamoona , dances are called neemeetoona and art is called tatsinaikewin . They sound almost the same, don't they?
That is because all of these words describe gifts that come from the sacred place inside.
-Marie Campbell, introduction to Achimoona