BETTY PEWAPSCONIAS: Land Acknowledgments at Corporate Tables
Chokecherry Youth Response
I would like to Acknowledge we are on Treaty Six Territory.
Wherever you sit,
You sit with genocide at your feet.
Whatever you eat,
Will be the savoury taste of the extinction of a sacred species.
Wherever you stand,
Is the homelands of my kin who were stolen as children.
When you call for those who are meant to protect and serve,
Remember when they too forced us onto reserve.
As we breathe life and speak our truth, Remember,
As you underpay, and take advantage of Indigenous youth,
You too, are saying something.
Betty Pewapsconias’ poem is a responsive piece to Adrian Stimson’s Piece Iini Sookumapii: Guess who’s coming to dinner?. The poem Land Acknowledgement at Corporate Tables is meant to create a wave of awareness of how large corporations often take advantage of Indigenous people’s time, energy, education, and artwork for clout or relieve their settler guilt. In the Era of Reconciliation,
Betty reminds her audience of the ongoing erasure and colonization of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and challenges the narrative that Land Acknowledgments should be enough.
Betty Pewapsconias is a Nehiyaw (Cree) Artist from Treaty Six Territory. As a child, Betty grew up in her homeland Little Pine First Nation with her family and is a proud Aunty to many children. Growing up in the reserve, she faced many barriers that made it difficult to pursue her dream career to be an Artist.
In 2015, Betty had moved from her community to pursue her education at the University of Saskatchewan. By 2016, Betty and her business partner had Co-Founded Indigenous Novelty Company, Neechimoose Novelties.
As she collected stories, teachings and lessons from her Nehiyaw culture, Betty’s paintings and drawings began to reflect the empowerment her culture gave her. Betty’s work reflects on the Resiliency, Love and Storytelling of her Experience as a Nehiyaw Iskwew into her work.
About the project: Chokecherry Youth Response is a partnership project between Chokecherry Studios, Remai Modern and PAVED Arts. The project asked for submissions from youth-artist participants inspired by a single work in the exhibition, An apology, a pill, a ritual, a resistance. Ten emerging artists took on the challenge and got to work creating new pieces that respond to the exhibition’s multifaceted exploration of health and healing.