Ancestral Women music and speaking performance followed by healing circle and a community meal.
Video by Kristin Ojaniemi.
Date: Sunday, August 8
Free to attend.
Ancestral Women in Wisconsin
A Collaborative Performance Art Production
Ancestral Women: the Performance Project incorporates spoken word, theatre, jingle dress dance, traditional drum and song, contemporary music and projected images of ancestors and the land and water from which the people come.
The first presentations were done at the Indian Community School in Franklin and the MILWAUKEE Public Museum in November of 2018. Since then a dozen more performances have been shared including one in Olympia, Washington at the Longhouse at Evergreen University. Venues in Wisconsin include Widening the Circle Conference in LaCrosse and the Campanile Center in Minocqua. Performances and/or workshops have also been done in Lac du Flambeau, Mole Lake, Oneida, LCO, Forest County Potawatomi, and at WIEA in Wisconsin Rapids.
Ancestral Women: the Performance Project was inspired by the beautiful fiber artwork done by artist Mary Burns. Working with the tribes on the selection process, Mary created a tapestry honoring an ancestor from each of the twelve tribal nations in Wisconsin.
We realized that a powerful performance art project could be based upon that work. Securing Mary’s permission for the project, we travelled from tribe to tribe seeking guidance and blessings to proceed. Receiving encouragement, we recruited a woman from each tribe to honor the ancestor depicted in Mary’s tapestry for that tribe.
Inspired by the beautiful fiber art pieces of Mary Burns, this performance piece honors the First Nations people of Wisconsin, reminds us of the wisdom of our elders, and takes a look at Tribal histories and current day presence in Wisconsin.
Shared in story, music and movement, ANCESTRAL WOMEN weaves a tapestry of personal stories, tribal history, and the interconnections of all living things. A Native woman selected by each of the Tribes of Wisconsin is honored in the fiber art exhibit and in the performances.
Coordinated by Miigiiziikwe (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) and Carol Ann Amour, each tribal nation’s story has been elaborated by members of that nation. The set is composed by larger than life prints of Burn’s tapestries. Accompanied by drum and song, all elements are woven together to create a compelling performance piece.
Andy Connors (Bad River Ojibwe) is working with students at the Indian Community School of Milwaukee. Miigiiziikwe and Amour are working with Bobby Bullett and students at the Lac du Flambeau Public School to provide music for the show. Christine Doud, (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is the Stage Manager and Assistant Producer. Diane Amour (Prairie Band Potawatomi) is the Lighting Director.
The premier for the performance piece was held at the Milwaukee Public Museum in November, with a dress rehearsal the day before at the Indian Community School. A documentary of the project is in the works and there are plans for a countrywide tour in 2019 and 2020. Among other venues, Widening the Circle in LaCrosse, Wisconsin Indian Education Association April conference, National Indian Education Associates, and The Longhouse Cultural Center at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington.
We suggest Ancestral Women is an Indigenized model because it heavily features the Four Rs of Respect, Relationship, Reciprocity, and Relationship. All thirty cast members and crew created the piece collaboratively. There is no “director” in a colonized sense. The project is, rather, facilitated by a group of women dedicated to working in consensus mode.
If you would like to know more about their project, or contribute in some way, please contact Carol Ann Amour at 715-439-3078 or [email protected]
This event is part of our Connect to the Northwoods programming.
“Connect to self, to species, through culture, through time…”