Peoples Treated as Garbage

<strong>Peoples Treated As Garbage</strong>
Peoples Treated As Garbage

Selma Mekanak & Zoee Maxwell
Bearskin Lake First Nation, Kenora District, Ontario CA

Our work is about Indigenous peoples whose ancestors were forced to live in isolated communities, were forced to give up their self-governance, education, and spiritual beliefs , were left unattended to create a healthy future without the necessary resources…Yet they survived and continue to do so.

Bearskin Lake First Nation is an Oji-Cree First Nation reserve in Kenora District, Ontario, Canada.  We have been hidden away in the remote landscape. We are isolated and far away. Out of sight, out of mind. It is easy to ignore us and not respond to our needs. Racism does not play a part in our daily life here, on our land, with our own peoples. Not far away however, is what is purported to be the most racist city in Canada – Thunder Bay. There the experience of subtle and subversive discrimination is a constant aspect of life in the North. This is where we send our children to go to school.

As two good friends, we meet weekly for companionship, beading, conversation and art making. The stories shared for Environmental Racism is Garbage  are the personal true stories of Selma Mekanak, however they are also the stories of many Indigenous people;  extraordinary, heart-wrenching, though unfortunately, not uncommon. 

With incredible resilience, and a commitment and love for mother Earth, Indigenous peoples strive to be strong. 

We look forward to revealing and re-telling our true experiences; short scenarios with disastrous impacts. We propose to work with video and audio to tell these stories – of the lives of those who lived and were lost. 

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