Episode 53. Interview with Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdoch

Broken Boxes Podcast is proud to present this episode featuring Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdoch as the 9th installation in a series of interviews featuring participants and their respondents from the socially engaged project #callresponse.  

For the #callresponse project Christi Belcourt works with traditional teacher and collaborator Isaac Murdoch to hold ceremony with plants and animals as her community with The Onaman Collective. Just as the natural world is depicted symbolically as medicine in her work through the act of painting she aims to take action in an effort to restore balance as a human being amongst many living beings. Her project stems from the believe that we as people are not ready for reconciliation. She does not consider the first step towards reconciliation as starting between native and non-­natives but rather as something that needs to take place between humans and the plants and animals. Pronounced ah­nah­min, The Onaman Collective was formed in 2014 by Isaac Murdoch, Christi Belcourt and Erin Konsmo out of their deep care for youth and the future of community. The collective was formed for the express purpose of finding ways to connect youth to land, traditional knowledge, language and Elders through art and land­based activities. 

"All I want to do is give everything I have, my energy, my love, my labour – all of it in gratitude for what we are given. I’ll never be able to give back enough. My love for this world overwhelms me. My love for this world, and my love for everyone and everything is what drives me." -Christi Belcourt

Here is the conversation with Christi Belcourt & Isaac Murdoch:

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Music featured in this episode by Ziibiwan

"We need a Revolution. We need something different. We need a new beginning. And we need it right now. We can’t wait...I believe thousands of years from now they are going to look back at this time in history that the two leggeds tried to destroy the earth. They’re gonna be telling the sacred story that we are in now. I believe that we are in a legend, a sacred story that will be told thousands of years from now. And knowing that, I believe that right now is the opportunity to create the next part of the story. And we have options. We could be extras in this story, that just sit on the fence and do nothing. Or we could be evil villains. Or we can be heroes. And I believe right now is the opportunity for indigenous peoples and all races to come together to save this planet.” -Isaac Murdoch

Buffalo Robe with water beings. Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdoch for #callresponse 2016

Buffalo Robe with water beings. Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdoch for #callresponse 2016

More about the artists:

Christi Belcourt (b. 1966) is a Michif (Metis) visual artist and author whose ancestry originates from the Metis historic community of Manitou Sakhigan (Lac Ste. Anne) Alberta, Canada. Raised in Ontario, Christi is the first of three children born to political Indigenous rights leader Tony Belcourt and Judith Pierce Martin. Her brother Shane Belcourt is a respected filmmaker and her sister Suzanne is a graphic designer and emerging visual artist. Christi Belcourt is the author of Medicines To Help Us (Gabriel Dumont Institute, 2007) and Beadwork (Ningwakwe Learning Press, 2010), Christi’s work is found within the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gabriel Dumont Institute, the Indian and Inuit Art Collection, Parliament Hill, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and Canadian Museum of Civilization, First People’s Hall. Christi is a past recipient of awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Chalmers Family Fund and the Métis Nation of Ontario. In 2014 she was named Aboriginal Arts Laureate by the Ontario Arts Council and shortlisted for the Premier’s Award. She is currently the lead coordinator for lking With Our Sisters. 

Visit Christi Belcourt's Website


 Isaac Murdoch , whose Ojibway name is Manzinapkinegego’anaabe / Bombgiizhik is from the fish clan and is from Serpent River First Nation. Isaac grew up in the traditional setting of hunting, fishing and trapping. Many of these years were spent learning from Elders in the northern regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Isaac is well respected as a storyteller and traditional knowledge holder. For many years he has led various workshops and cultural camps that focuses on the transfer of knowledge to youth. Other areas of expertise include: traditional ojibway paint, imagery/symbolism, harvesting, medicine walks, & ceremonial knowledge, cultural camps, Anishinaabeg oral history, birch bark canoe making, birch bark scrolls, Youth & Elders workshops, etc. He has committed his life to the preservation of Anishinaabe cultural practices and has spent years learning directly from Elders.


#callresponse project details:

 

Strategically centering Indigenous women as vital presences across multiple platforms, #callresponse is a multifaceted project which includes a website, social media platform, touring exhibition and catalogue. The project brings together five local art commissions by Indigenous women artists from across Canada, including Christi Belcourt, Maria Hupfield, Ursula Johnson, Tania Willard and Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory. Each artist has invited a guest to respond to their work, including Isaac Murdoch, IV Castellanos and Esther Neff, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Marcia Crosby and Tanya Tagaq.

#callresponse is co-organized by Tarah Hogue, Maria Hupfield and Tania Willard, and produced in partnership with grunt gallery and generously supported by the {Re}conciliation initiative of the Canada Council for the Arts, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. Additional presentation partners include BUSH Gallery, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, FADO Performance Art Centre, Kamloops Art Gallery, OFFTA live art festival, the National Arts Centre, and the Native Education College.