FTA: three artists talk about the art of creating with their native language

FTA: three artists talk about the art of creating with their native language

The Day of Creation and Indigenous Languages ​​proposed during the 16th edition of the International Dance and Theater Festival was therefore an opportunity to bring together at the headquarters of the event three indigenous artists recognized in their disciplines: theatre, music and the arts. visuals. Together, they emotionally shared a number of reflections on the often complex links they have with their mother tongue.

The Inuk Nancy Saunders, alias Niap, went straight to the point to emphasize the importance of using Inuktitut. It is first to take square and allow his language to appropriate the space by forcing the listening, she launched.

I don’t forget that my uncle who is only 60 years old was not allowed to speak Inuktitut when he was youngrecalled the visual artist at the start of the meeting led by Annie O’Bomsawin, member of the Abenakis of Odanak nation and professor of philosophy.

Born in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, Niap emphasized that her work is intimately connected to her language. After having lost the use of Inuktitut at the age of 18, she spoke of the efforts undertaken to relearn the words of her ancestors, an experience she recounted in 2019 in a work written under the leadership of Émilie Monnet and entitled Kiciweok : 13 Indigenous Words That Give Meaning.

Express yourself with your language

Thus Niap clarified the importance of including language at every stage of his work. It’s all about tonality and musicality, she said. Today, at 35, I am very proud to have the ability to communicate and to understand what is said to me in Inuktitut.she proclaimed with a smile on her face.

And then the indigenous language sometimes makes it possible to express untranslatable concepts, said the visual artist, claiming to use Inuktitut to give strength to his creative proposals. It is a language that is both spiritual and poetic, she said.

My work helps me to have a greater knowledge, both in syntax and vocabulary. For example, I recently learned that to say the word suffering, we say “disease of the soul” in Inuktitut.

The panelists discussed several sensitive topics related to the practice of the indigenous language such as incommunicability and the right to express oneself in one’s own words.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ismaël Houdassine

Émilie Monnet also spoke of a desire to make exist the indigenous language in his creations. At the same time multidisciplinary artist, activist, actress, playwright and director, the one who grew up between a French-speaking father and an Anishinaabe mother often explores the theme of language in her works.

When I create in Anishinaabemowin, I practice words and phrasesshe added, while keeping the right not to always translate them on stage.

In 2018, she presented to the audience of the Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui the play Okinuma touching reflection inspired by his experience with, as a tutelary figure, a giant beaver. I realized that there were many people who had never heard of the words anishinaabemowin or kanyen’keha. Most did not even know that these were languages ​​that were born here in this territoryshe regretted.

In my creative process, language is also a gesture of transmission. »

A quote from Émilie Monnet, multidisciplinary artist

There is a greater open-mindedness on the part of non-Aboriginal people, especially among young people, said Innu Natasha Kanapé-Fontaine. The author, originally from Pessamit on the North Shore, maintains that ten years ago, it was not uncommon to see laughter erupt just by listening to an Aboriginal language.

The young people I meet are much more open and curious about these issues. They are more aware of the issues and many are ready to participate to contribute to bringing people togetherrejoiced the author.

In and of themselves, our indigenous languages ​​are already poetry. »

A quote from Natasha Kanapé-Fontaine, author and poet

It is not far, however, the time when suspicion reigned with regard to Aboriginal languages, commented Kanapé-Fontaine, taking as an example the case of the Innu group Kashtin, boycotted by Quebec radio stations during the crisis of Okay.

People began to believe that the lyrics of the group’s Innu-aimun songs were hiding propaganda. Behaviors have since evolved even if we still have to fight to continue speaking our languages.

According to Kanapé-Fontaine, reading or listening to Innu-aimun is a unique experience. We feel the words with great intensity, she defended. When she uses French, it’s just surface of thingsshe then mentioned.

But when I speak my language, I feel like I’m in time, in the world and in the present moment. Take kauasheshkunat, which means both the sky is blue and the sky is clear. It’s a beautiful word, isn’t it?

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