ayisîyiniw ôta asiskiy
I am human being from this earth.
Lana Whiskeyjack is a multidisciplinary treaty iskwew scholartist from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Treaty Six Territory, Alberta. Guided by her grandmother’s advice, “Go to school, travel, and see as much as you can. Then return home to share what you learned, but do not forget where you came from.” After graduating high school, the young mom moved to Red Deer to attain her Art & Design diploma, then moved to Ottawa with her growing family, attaining B.A. (Honours) and M.A (Canadian Studies) degrees. The story continues with returning to work near her home community and attain her doctorate degree at University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills (UnBQ) in iyiniw pimâtisiwin kiskeyihtamowin, the first Indigenous owned and operated educational institution in Canada. Prior to 1970, UnBQ operated as Blue Quills Indian Residential School, where two generations of her maternal family attended.
Lana’s research, writing, and art explores the paradoxes of what it means to be nehiyaw (Cree) and iskwew (woman) in a Western culture and society; and, how she and other Indigenous peoples are reclaiming, re-gathering, and remembering their ancestral medicine (sacredness and power). Her art is passionate and expressive, born from the deep roots of her culture, history, and intergenerational relations. Through the examination of sometimes difficult subjects, her art reflects the intrinsic beauty of her interconnections with the earth, nêhiyawêwin (Cree language) and wahkohtowin.
Lana brings her leadership and knowledge in nêhiyaw (Cree) arts-based practices, community-engaged research and scholarship into her role as an assistant professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta. Her decolonizing learning and being at UnBQ grounded within nêhiyaw (Cree) ceremony, nêhiyawêwin (Cree language) and nêhiyaw worldview is foundational to her creativity, research, teaching and community service practices. Her current research projects explores issues re-matriation, (re)connecting to the spirit of nêhiyawêwin; and, nêhiyaw diverse gender worldviews and rites of passage.
Lana is featured in a documentary by Beth Wishart MacKenzie, Lana Gets Her Talk (2017) that explores how she uses art as ceremony in confronting and transcending historical trauma and reconciliation. For more information please see http://pikiskwe-speak.ca/
I was trained in ceramic sculpture but during my left brain studies of my B.A. and M.A., I picked up photography and acrylic painting to help process the colonial studies. Art is my ceremony, it is my way to connect to spirit. Each medium become a different way to connect to spirit: clay, acrylic, oil and digital storytelling.
Lana's early influences and teachers were her mother's gifts in the traditional arts of bead work, moose hair tufting, fish scale, moccasin making; and, her grandmother's gifts in medicine picking, quilting, sewing and song. At 10 years old, her mother's gift of a book of Pablo Picasso’s etchings changed the way she expressed herself, the simple and expressive lines influenced her to draw on everything she could.
I am a Cree woman from Treaty Six territory, Saddle Lake Cree Nation. I graduated from University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills iyiniw pimâtisiwin kiskeyihtamowin Doctoral Program in 2017. Currently, my role as Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta is evolving my research, creative process, and teaching-learning scholarship to focus Indigenous ways of knowing and being within research, art-creation, and teaching and learning.
I am a human of this earth. I humbly work towards living by the Laws of these lands that my ancestors were so inherently connected to and continue to guide my way of living while evolving with the ever changing present. I am committed to connecting to the spirit of nêhiyawêwin, my Cree language, so that I may learn to language of this land like nikihci-âniskotâpânak (ancestors) and share with others through Indigenous art practices.
Helping one another is so important to living peacefully with one another. When you support artists you are supporting communities. I am of service to the future generations, to share what I can to ensure they know who they are and where they come from, this is an important Natural Law. For more information on my art practices and workshops please subscribe.