MOTHER – An Afternoon of Ten Short Films
Sunday, October 17 at 2 PM
MOTHER: embodied earth performance is a series of ten short videos of Indigenous performances inspired, enacted and created on the land and waters of the lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ territories. Each performance expresses empowering acts of resurgence and healing to weave together embodied teachings from Mother Earth. MOTHER honours Indigenous presence on the land and echoes the impulse to act in reciprocity towards all living beings. Healing our sacred bodies on our sacred mother earth through ritual, song, and the dances of our ancestors have always been the way onward.
Originally titled Vision Quest, this project began in 2019 with a grant from the BC Arts Council, in partnership with the Belfry Theatre. Creative vision by Lindsay Delaronde invited an all Indigenous creative team: Rebecca Hass, John Aitken, and Krystal Cook. Five weeks into rehearsals with an all-Indigenous cast, Covid-19 changed the trajectory of the project vision. Transforming Vision Quest into ten filmed performances on the land. MOTHER: embodied earth performance was birthed through enriching conversations on and in the earth and waters. Ten Indigenous performances created by diverse nations: Coming of Age Girls, Elowynn Rose, Cheryl Henhwake, Jody Bauche, Meagan Saulnier, Erynne Gilpin, Guy Louie jr. Calvin Louie, Nicole Mandryk, Denni Inismin Clement, Danielle Alphonse, Jenna Bailey, are responsible for a visual journey of intimate earth stories of the deep relationship Indigenous bodies enact on Mother Earth.
Creative director: Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde
Main Videography/editor: Dean Kalyan, Kalyan Studios
Other video credit: Peruzzo, Lio Huijbers, Mike Stibbard
Audience advisory: some nudity, mature content. Suitable for ages 13+
embodied earth performance
Creative director: Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde
Filmed By: Dean Kalyan
Edited By: Kalyan Studios
Indigenous Performance Artists Across Turtle Island
Sponsored by: BC Arts Council, The Culture Den Society, Belfry Theatre
Duration: 50 minutes
The Fire She Makes
Performers: Meagan Saulnier, Elowynn Rose, Cheryl Henhawke, Jody Bauche, Lindsay Delaronde
Song: Fire Song
Location: Mount Tolmie
This co-created piece was birthed by a council of five Indigenous women, embodying the intimate dance of fire that ignites the beginnings of all ceremony. Each artist contributed to creating the choreography. Co-creating the fire dance contrived of separate components that came together to embody: wood, spark, flame, ambers, and air. Fire reminds us of the journey within and the importance of awakening truth.
Performance title: The Whalers
Performers: Guy Louie jr., Calvin Louie, Nicole Mandaryk
Song composer: Guy Louie jr, Nicole Mandaryk
Location: Witty’s Lagoon
Entering the realm of healing and transformation through chant, and cleansing rituals, we embark on a journey of witnessing the masculine fragments amend and heal through connection back with the teachings of the ancient whalers. Remembering the call, and song of the ancestors awakens Indigenous men to prepare their minds, bodies, and hearts to re-connect and reclaiming their innate desire to protect and provide.
Performer: Erynne Gilpin
Videography and Editor: Kl Peruzzo
Location: Prospect lake, lək̓ʷəŋən territory
Erynne Gilpin is an artist of mixed Cree-Métis (the Pás, MB), Filipina and Celtic ancestry. Her work weaves singing and soundscapes with dance and movement storytelling.
W O M B is a piece about time travel, thresholds and conception. The song is composed by Emilee Gilpin and is a prayer song for sisters who are far away from each other. The prayer song is for thanksgiving and gratitude for light across time and space.
Performer: Estelle Carmona
Location: French Beach, Pacheedhat territory
My traditional name is Sewsawmut, my English name is Estelle. I am coast Salish and Mexican. I come from the traditional territory of Shishalh people. I’m a mother to two beautiful daughters Katiyana and Ivy-Jane. I dedicate this piece to my late great-grandmother Margaret Joe-Dixon.
Mirrored Vision is about the life cycles of birth, growth, death and re-birth. Staying connected to spirit and seeing truths to all aspects. Wholeheartedly surrendering to original source of spirits teachings as and indigenous women
Performer: Denni Inismin Clement
Music credit: Saturn Sakura by Mourning Coup
Denni Clement is a Ktunaxa dancer and choreographer from ʔaq̓am. Denni grew up performing
as a figure skater and fancy dancer and has studied ballet for a decade. She has collaboratively choreographed performances with Indigenous women in Victoria including Achord (2017), a dance about reconciliation on the BC Legislature steps, and in two climate change dances titled Elementals (2019) and Love Letter to Mother Earth (2019). Denni works for Pinna Sustainability as an Indigenous climate engagement specialist supporting Indigenous communities and settler governments. Denni has campaigned for Indigenous women’s mental health as a spokesperson of Bell Let’s Talk. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with distinction from the University of Victoria.
Ktunaxa dance and choreography require a spiritual process rooted in ceremony and is guided by the natural world. Denni choreographs safe spaces that value Ktunaxa women by uplifting matriarchy in their roles as life-givers and protectors of ʔamakis Ktunaxa. Ktunaxa women are important and have the right to be loved and heard. Morning Star is dedicated to the strong matriarchs who raised her, who are integral to her identity and artistic practice, and especially for the brightest light Robyn Morningstar Thomasena. Morning Star was performed with care and deep gratitude in the territories of the W_SÁNEĆ people.
Performer: Cheryl Henhawke
Cheryl Henhawke, Mohawk, Seneca artist from Oshweken territories. Henhawkes serendipitous life journey with Bear has profoundly guided her freedom to express and explore the ‘bearing witness’ of her own personal, social belief systems; illustrating a ‘wounded bear’ transformation into ‘dancing bear’. In raw expression, Bear emerges from the womb guided by the cycles of nature to connect to spirit and to heal wounds. ‘Bear Becoming’ is a drawing about transformation and when I cried, “What are we to do with our wounds and Bear answered… “Bear dances!” This performance is spiralled from the bones of our ancestors and painted in flesh.
Performer: Elowynn Rose
Location: Pkols, at the ocean
Elowynn Rose has lived and gratefully practiced her art on the lək̓ʷəŋən and Songhees Territories for over 10 years, she is a multi-disciplinary, Metis performance artist and creator, whose creative process is grounded in storytelling. She often brings abstract and lived experience into a visual woven medicine, cultivated and expressed through dance, movement, theatre, film and music.
In the watery depths – Octopus speaks to humanity reminding us two-legged creatures that the ocean is home to many, it is the life-producing and life-giving energy for us all. Where creative impulse thrives we too shall thrive.
The Earth Sings
Performers: Rebecca Hass
My name is Rebecca Hass and I am Metis and of mixed European descent. I have spent over thirty years as a professional singer in the world of classical music. This art gave me many gifts in my long career but I have struggled to connect that world to my ancestral way of knowing Mother Earth. I have felt divided within myself. In this exploration- The Earth Sings-As a proud Metis woman, in my ribbon skirt, I sing one of the great classical arias by G.F. Handel, a song that glorifies a tree. Composed in the 18th Century in Italian, it is beloved still. But the song dissolves as I come before a real tree, not a poetic notion of a tree. As I feel the tree and we speak to one another, Handel’s song is transformed into the song that Mother Earth sings, and the Italian language turns into Anishinaabe, a language of the land. By the end, the European tradition marries with the Anishinaabe language and rhythm and I find the true marriage of music and the two worlds I walk in.
Mother Earth Teachings
Performers: Coming of Age Youth
Creative Vision: Jessica Sault, France Syr
Cultural support: Sarah Rhude, Nicole Mandryk, Coming of Age families
Song: Wild Flower
Location: Place of the Peas, lək̓ʷəŋən territory
Culture, art, medicines, protocols and tradition anchor the Coming of Age girls as they transition from children to young women. Community members share cultural stories, history and practices to build the young women’s inner core. Mother Earth and Longhouse teachings remind them of the close connections to nature and the world around them they can live by within today’s world. Service to community ensures humility, respect and gratitude.
The Mother Earth Teachings is the way First Nations within all of Turtle Island have always walked in their world view. Mother Earth is our mother and gives us everything we need, including the 4-leggeds, water, Standing Still trees, grandfather rocks etc. Father Sky is home to all the winged animals and holds our air, our breath. Grandmother Moon divides the days, connects young girls to womanhood and pushes the tides for us. Grandfather Sun heats our soil to grow food, dry meats and fish and gives us our shadows for our ancestors to live. The Star Nation is home to our ancestors so we may talk with them every night.
Performers: Meagan Saulnier, Danielle Alphonse, Alysha brown, Jenna Bailey
Location: Goldstream waterfall, W̱SÁNEĆ territory
Raise our hands to the waterfall to hold us up in sharing a prayer song and to the W̱SÁNEĆ nation to allow us to be on their territory. The waterfall song was composed by Megan Saulnier, a gift of prayer to the waterfall at Goldstream W̱SÁNEĆ territory. As sisters, we intentionally brought a message to the land, healing the land, reciprocity and language back to the land and waterfall. The piece recognizes the importance of developing mutual understanding with the land and our connection to spirit. Also, as a group, we were calling out to the land with prayer our responsibilities towards the water, plants, trees, animals, our ancestors, and Indigenous language. Each sister shared a word from their Nation. We interwove the language together to bring strength to all our communities past, present and future. Female generations we are all connected as mothers, daughters, aunties, grandmothers. We interconnect generationally to our ancestors through prayer and by showing up as ourselves: caregivers of the land and each other. It was significant for our sacred little ones: Nakoa and the baby to observe and witness the strength of the matriarchs’ circle from a very young age.
MOTHER: embodied earth performance is supported by