Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Historical past within the Making: Lana Whiskeyjack


A way of id goes past first and final names. For Lana Whiskeyjack, co-owner and curator of Whiskeyjack Artwork Home situated in Amiskwaciy (Edmonton, Alberta), her id is tied to her household’s historical past and her connection to the land.

Whiskeyjack remembers the story of how her authentic final title, kwêskácahk, was modified to a colonial model: Whiskeyjack. As a result of tough pronunciations, title modifications had been frequent for a lot of Indigenous Peoples all through Canada, perpetually altering their self-identity. Regardless of that, the English title turned an essential a part of her and her household’s lives. A lot in order that, on the fiftieth wedding ceremony anniversary of her grandparents, Whiskeyjack remembers an essential dialog together with her grandmother.

“She simply actually needed me to vow to by no means get married however I stated I couldn’t promise that, however I promise to by no means change my final title,” she says.

Holding the title maintains a household matriarchal connection, Whiskeyjack says. “My household endured a lot grief and loss, but in addition energy, expertise and tales which might be related to our title.” Whiskeyjack honours that promise to at the present time. “You will need to look after our grandmothers. I’m grateful that we’re capable of proceed carrying the title.”

Whiskeyjack is initially from Saddle Lake Cree Nation from Treaty Six territory, however she acquired a lovely instructing throughout her upbringing: she is from this land, not a spot with a reputation. “Our Cree creation tales inform us particularly that we’re free,” she says. “Our spirit got here from the cosmos and the heavens, we’re made of 4 components of the earth.” Whiskeyjack says she has a job and accountability to reconnect to the teachings of her tradition and the land. She goals to keep up the connection to each.

“Edmonton is a gathering place for a lot of of our nations and it’s essential that we come collectively and construct these relations (between teachings and the land).”

Whiskeyjack Artwork Home is a testomony to her ardour for reconnecting to her tradition and teachings. Whiskeyjack is enthusiastic about Indigenous tourism as a result of it gives alternatives of connection and understanding.

“Bringing practices of kindness, sharing, being trustworthy and brave are rules into creating good relations via Indigenous tourism,” she says. “Indigenous folks carry so many lovely teachings, traditions and tales of this land that the remainder of Canada and guests to those lands can be taught, and construct a more healthy relationship with the land.”

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