Ni'kma'jtut Mawita'nej -My People Let Us Gather Spirit in the Fringes: Reframing Through Relationality, Trans-conceptual Spaces, Creative Practice, and Intervention




Rhude, Sarah

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Situated in my experience as an Indigenous educator, I have witnessed and experienced Indigenous people, knowledge, and relationships being systemically pushed to the fringes of Western education systems. Utilizing a specific circle framework which invites the reader into the role of witness, this thesis acts as a guide to understanding the Indigenous, art-based, research-creation (Loveless, 2019) methodologies and knowledges that were revealed to me over the period of four seasons. This research highlights how Indigenous, trans-conceptual (“The Bush Manifesto”, 2017) space in various emplaced locations of gathering and intervention, allows for the enactment of our natural agency (Maracle, 2021), where we are able to share our stories outside the grasp of the settler colonial systems we are in relationship with, but not of. In these spaces, we honour our laws, ways of knowing and being as Indigenous peoples who are away from our homelands, waters, and relatives. In these spaces, the sovereignty of host nations is affirmed. At the site of cross-cultural relationship, we bear witness to each other’s lives (Hunt & Holmes, 2015) and through the generation of shared knowledges, we are drawn closer to our own cultural locations. Creatively articulating and centering Indigenous freedom, hope and joy, and envisioning worlds outside the confines of colonialism and Western systems shifts perspective and allows for revisioning and reframing (Martineau 2014). Within these articulations, the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the systems they work within but are not of, are reframed and self-determined Indigenous spaces are recuperated from the fringes, “allowing them to dance in a new light” (Hunt, 2021). Through this reframing of relationality and vision sharing, a particular, situated intervention into systemic racism can be had. This work is done in relationship with and recognizing the authority of lək̓ʷəŋən law, ancestors, wind, peoples, land, plants, animals, and waters, as well as my responsibility to them.



Indigenous, trans-conceptual, Indigenous methodology, community art-based research, research-creation, Indigenous education, Indigenous gathering, Indigenous pedagogy, Indigenous sovereignty, Indigenous art, Indigenous cultural practice, Indigenous freedom, Indigenous joy, First Nations, Mi'kmaq, Indigenous relationality, Indigeniety, Indigenous governance, self-determination, Spirit in the Fringes, systemic racism, situated knowledges, Indigenous research, Agency of Knowledge, coming ashore protocols, Indigenous circle framework, 2SLGBTQIA+, Indigequeer