" My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirits back. "
Louis Riel, Founder of the Province of Manitoba
I once read that the roots of true achievement lie in the will to become the best you can become. I have found this to be very accurate in my life, and this truth runs deep in the heritage of my native people. I trace my descent to the first union of First Nations people and European settlers, better known as the Red River Settlement. During this unique time in history, a new breed of Native Heritage evolved. Our homeland is a small town in Northern Canada near the Hudson Bay, called Duck Bay, otherwise known as the Canadian Prairies. I am proudly a part of the Metis Nation of the West, of the Province of Manitoba, Canada.
My families history, like many other lineages, began with a story of immense struggle, indignation, loss, and hardship. These unfortunate events crippled our Sacred Culture and Native Race in so many ways, still affecting many of us today. Nonetheless, we are a Nation determined to completely restore every aspect of our culture at every level of society. As a member of my family leads, as President, of the Manitoba Metis Federation, It is with great pride that I am a part of the generation who will see great strides in this restoration. As an artist, I feel a high calling to not only succeed but leave a legacy that displays strength, adversity, and dignity and ultimately brings honor to my Metis culture and ancestors.
DUFF ROBLIN AWARDS
As I walk through the doors of the iconic Fort Garry Hotel Ballroom, I am unprepared for what is about to take place — invited to accompany my artwork for the event's auction. Little did I know, I was venturing into a room that was about to change Canadian history, and I was selected to be a part of it! A beautiful interactive Kiosk welcomed attendees, designed to bring awareness about the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC). The TRC is a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Its mandate is to inform all Canadians about what happened in the Indian Residential Schools (IRS).
Everyone has a rich history in their lives, mine includes my father, his siblings and their parents, unfortunately going through this painful time in Manitoba's history. As I watched the black and white images of young displaced children, tears streamed down my cheeks. I saw my father and my grandparents faces. My family's history has always been prevalent prior to this evening; however, something was different; something was being unveiled.
Justice Murray Sinclair was the keynote speaker, and he spoke words of survival, strength, endurance, injustice, and dignity. He called to action any descendants of these survivors to take the torch and press on towards a brighter future, filled with victory and legacy. A future that supports all the sacrifices of our ancestors. He further requested anyone in the room connected to this rich bloodline, to stand with pride as you were strategically placed throughout this ballroom room for a higher purpose this evening.
The room filled with corporate Canada, an audience strategically called to attend this event, the Duff Roblin Awards Dinner. The intention of having the second generation survivors stand was a call to action for corporate Canada to invest in our futures and for accountability and support for our generation to accept the invitation to press on. As I rose to my feet, I felt an immense sense of value. I am called to live a life that blesses the generations before me and enriches the generations to come. As I embark on this journey, as an artist, may the most beautiful images flow through the work of my hands.
METIS GOVERNMENT ARCHIEVEs
It is with immense pride that my work can be found along side the Permanent Government Archives within the Manitoba Metis Federation Government Building. The work instantly welcomes you as you enter the Presidential floor at 300-150 Henry Avenue, Winnipeg Manitoba. The work you will find is part of my Thermea Provincial Collection. The Thermea Provincial Collection was created from more of a memory than a representation. I was greatly honored when asked to create work that represented the nature of my native Province. It was such a beautiful process watching the banks of the Iconic Red River flow from within me, historically recognized as Metis Land. The work you will see is Encaustic + Mixed Media which consists of Wax, Bee Maid Honey, Manitoba Extracted Granular Sand, Acrylic Pigments fused to Gallery Canvas.
ASPER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS-ABORIGINAL STUDIES
The Asper School of Business Aboriginal Studies Awards Ceremony is one coveted event. To be honored with an award on this evening is even more desired. My parents were being recognized for Excellence in Small to Medium business by the organization and all board members of the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce. The Family owned and operated restaurant has been serving the Aboriginal community for over 20 years. The establishment has been recognized by the Mayor, Lieutenant Governor, Prime Minister and has received several other accolades for its loyal, cultural service. Most importantly for our family, my siblings and I were in attendance as our parents were bestowing the responsibility of excellence in Aboriginal business. During this memorable event, I was also honored as the featured artist for the evening.
UNIVERSITY OF WINNIPEG
The University of Winnipeg Foundation focus is to build legacies for The University of Winnipeg. They are equipping the University to meet the needs better and inspire the dreams of students, creating limitless possibilities for the future. The organization focuses heavily on providing financial assistance to the lower income and Aboriginal communities who would otherwise have no chance at post-secondary education. In honor of this legendary group of donors, the University held an Inaugural Reception designed to bring recognition to the Foundation. I was invited as the featured Aboriginal artist to create a body of work that would pay tribute to my Rich Heritage and show appreciation to this elite group.
Within the University of Winnipeg Richardson College for the Environment & Science Complex, my work was curated and installed by Howard Gurevich from Gurevich Fine Art. The Serenity Collection is an Encaustic body of work fused to Russian Birch Panel. The work installed, intentions were to stimulate and invigorate the minds of the viewers. At the same time, they are bringing a sense of peace, restoration, and grounding.