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Native Performance Culture and the Rhythm of (Re)Conciliation: Re-Membering Ourselves in Deep Time

Native Performance Culture and the Rhythm of (Re)Conciliation: Re-Membering Ourselves in Deep Time

On 01 July 2017, Canada will celebrate her 150th Birthday; as a nation built on the Doctrines of Discovery, Extinguishment and Terra Nullius, she is, understandably, a precocious and forgetful entity. Her very existence, as an internationally recognized sovereign state, relies upon that forgetting—upon her refusal to acknowledge that there are stories that precede her recent genesis, stories that inhabit and reverberate throughout “deep time” and upon a rigorous and methodical campaign to sanitize the present moment of Indigenous presence and eventually to erase all traces of Indigeneity from living memory. Resisting such erasure (in place, historical memory, or cognitive space), Indigenous artists have begun to script medicine and craft ceremonies for the contemporary stage. In their creation and manifestation, such projects are active, mindful recoveries of wholeness: their artists actively seek to dislodge colonization from their bodies, to intervene upon the brokenness and excise psychospiritual scars that unbalance so many survivors of the relocations, residential schools, the sixties scoop, the forced sterilizations, etc. They seek too to reconnect themselves and their audiences with our biotas, reminding the Indigenous witness of the responsibilities s/he carries to live in right relationship with every element of the creation. And they seek to re-cover the first literatures of this land -- the ancient texts left for us by Indigenous ancestors on the talking rocks, the hidden scrolls or the mounded earth. Artists who carry such objectives into their work must perforce plunge themselves into deep time–-into that place where all times are one—wherein artists locate themselves “sitting at the feet of the ancestors” (Favel 63) 1 to devise works in the present moment that build legacy for future generations. It is in these spaces of ceremonial time wherein entanglements are most acutely apprehended that conciliation between Settlers and Indigenous peoples might begin. To facilitate such conciliation in our own work as artists and scholars, we require opportunities to explore and test out the ways by which our nations’ storytellers might effectually mediate such spaces of profound encounter and renewal.

Jill Carter, FAS Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
Myrto Koumarianos, Ph.D. student, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies

Faculty at University of Toronto
Antje Budde, FAS Drama Theatre & Performance Studies
T. Nikki Cesare Schotzko, FAS Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
Stephen Johnson, UTM English & Drama
Amos Key, FAS Aboriginal Studies and Linguistics
Pamela Klassen, FAS Study of Religion
Sasha Kovacs, FAS Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
V.K. Preston, FAS Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
Cheryl Suzack, FAS English
Karen Recollet, FAS Women & Gender Studies

Faculty, outside University of Toronto
Alberto Guevara, Performance Studies, York University
Jon Johnson, History, York University

Postdoctoral Fellows, University of Toronto
Erin Soros, Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the humanities

Graduate Students, University of Toronto
Sherry Bie, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
Paula Danckert, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
Gio Diokno, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
Shelley Liebembuk, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
Sonia Norris, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
Audrey Rochette, Study of Religion
Jenny Salisbury, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies

Graduate Students, outside University of Toronto
Megan Davies, Performance Studies, York University
Colleen Manning, Philosophy, Western University

Undergraduate Students, University of Toronto
Sarah Bear, FAS History
James Bird, Faculty of Architecture and FAS Indigenous Studies
Trina Moyan, FAS Indigenous Studies
Jennifer Sylvester, FAS Indigenous Studies

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