FREE BANNOCK TACOS made with a Mexican/El Savadorian twist by Karla’s International Foods as a homage to the Indigenous Latinx influences found in this popular Indigenous food.
The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba Billboard is a new exhibition space that showcases work by Indigenous artists. From July 2017–June 2019, the AGSM Billboard will exhibit a total of four site-specific images that celebrate the presence and importance of Indigenous culture to Brandon and the Westman region—in the past, present, and future.
“Namoya gii shipwetanaan, kiyapit kahkyow ota dayanaan pi enn waay dayanaan” is a Michif phrase that translates into English as “we haven’t left yet, we are all still here, and we have a voice.”
The City of Brandon was built on the homeland of the Métis nation at a well known crossing of the Assiniboine river where multiple trade routes converged. In addition to being home to various First Nations (including Dakota, Anishinaabe, and Cree), this area also saw the birth of a new people, the Métis, through the intermingling of blood and cultural influences between European settlers with First Nations people. The Métis flag, first flown in 1816 (almost 150 years before the Canadian Flag), features a white infinity symbol on a blue background. The infinity symbol represents the joining of two cultures into a distinct new nation with its own identity, culture, languages, and traditions that will carry on forever.
Enn Waay Dayanaan: We Have a Voice celebrates this history, the continued presence of Métis people in this region, and reminds us of this promise to thrive well into the future. Embracing Michif (the Métis language) as the key for Métis survival and prosperity, Cameron Flamand worked with knowledge keeper Verna DeMontigny to craft this phrase that asserts Métis sovereignty and culture. Having origins as trappers, traders, and interpreters, language is deeply embedded in the Métis history. The specific dialect used in this billboard is Michif-Cree, which is unlike any other language in the world but draws influence from primarily Cree and French language structures.
Languages are more than just tools for communication; they are world-views, holding important teachings, philosophies, and specific ways of understanding the objects and relations that we share this world with. These teachings are passed through generations, and as an educator himself, Cameron wishes to honour this process and the teachings he received from Verna. The words in this piece invite you to reflect on your relationship to the languages that have shaped this territory (and continue to do so), to find a greater understanding of self, place, and interrelation.
Cameron Flamand is a Métis artist who graduated from Brandon University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2015. He also graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba in 2018. Cameron was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and lived most of his life in the Interlake Region in a town named Teulon. Cameron currently resides in Winnipeg in the outskirts of the historical Métis land known as St. Vital. Cameron is currently working for Seven Oaks School Division, but his art and education will soon be taking him to Thompson, Manitoba. Cameron’s art practice focuses on Métis identity and moving families forward through the conversations of art with language, reconciliation, and education.
Verna DeMontigny was born and raised in a small traditional Métis community known as Lii Kwaen (Fouillard’s Corner). Her parents relocated there from the community of Ste Madeleine in 1939, and her grandparents were originally from the Red River area. Verna now resides in Brandon, Manitoba, where she is a fluent Michif speaker and knowledge keeper of her ancestral language and culture that she works diligently to teach, promote, and preserve. At present, Verna is employed teaching Michif in the Brandon School Division and community, as well as working with various Linguists. She is also a visiting Elder with Assiniboine Community College. Verna likes to share her knowledge of her culture and language with anyone who is willing to listen and learn, and aims to preserve Michif for future generations.
Support for this project has been provided by
The Whitehead Foundation For Western Manitoba Inc
and the RBC Emerging Artists Project.