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“These are the things they took from us, they left us bare. These are the things they couldn’t.”

-Maureen Callihoo Ligtvoet

These Are the Things is a gentle attempt at navigating intergenerational barriers to grief, tenderness and longing, in the presence of enfranchisement and personal displacement. It gives space to the lingering complexities of what was taken, a gratefulness for what couldn’t, and for the things that are still nurtured.

The stories shared through this work come from memories of living with my moshom and a revolving door of family members on scrip land, as well as the loss that has come with leaving home. This work is story-telling, and repetitive attempts at re-mapping scrip land to how I know it, as opposed to the documentation of its enfranchisement that’s found in colonial archives, or the photocopies of maps folded beneath family members mattresses for safe keeping.

This is where we watched bats flying overhead in the dark until we fell asleep in damp grass, its where my moshom always wanted to teach me to drive on the gravel roads and old wagon trails (but I was too scared), its where my cousin and I lived one after the other and repeat, and it’s where I’ve sat gossiping on the steps of the bunkhouse with my mom during dry prairie summers. In her words, these are the things they couldn’t take.

Thank-you to the Edmonton Arts Council for supporting the research and development of this project through their Creators’ Reserve.

These Are the Things was shown at Latitude 53 in Spring 2021. Photos taken by Adam Waldron-Blain at Latitude 53. 

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