Once with names like
Ancient Wind…
Now, little fisted flowers falter
on good days when hard rains come washing
strangers walking darkly
to your door.

And on bad days
as children step aside
for sun glinting bright
off a rusting

I close my mind
to the older man brown and weathered,
with hair untied or to
the younger woman with
dead doll eyes… And outside
wind pushes echoes of
a dying
land earth song.


Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew - White Shame

AP: “White Shame”:
The actions taken in Maskegon-Iskwew’s work are private, shocking; as audience members we are given a sense of both voyeuristic privilege and profound unease. This public enactment of suffering triggered outrage, shock and grief among members of the audience, especially those of First Nations descent. Some Aboriginal people viewed the performance as a sacrilege of the Sundance. A line was crossed in which a representational facsimile of a sacred ceremony was shown. The mechanics of the Sundance are widely known, if not understood. In the repetition of this act the artist places himself in the hands of the audience, baring himself painfully. The act is one of protest against a racist attack on elders, women and children seeking refuge. But was it sacrilegious? Or in performing this act in a secular space does Maskegon-Iskwew create a new ritual of protest?
From my essay ‘New Traditions: Post-Oka Aboriginal Performance Art in Vancouver’

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