Self-Portraits of an Abstract Image Maker

    Who is Included within Aboriginal/First Nations?

These self-portraits are about transcending perceptions of gender, human form, and social expectations. It is important to be able to be in-between social categories and be yourself from the intense roar inside of the light of being/energy acting back against being categorized. Three out of four of these images it is unclear about which gender I could be, as a child or adult. My elders have taught me that to be in balance with myself I need to have my spirit be balanced between genders, be both woman/female and man/male like the animals, plants, and elements. Act back against western social norms of girls having certain hair cuts and boys having others, colors of clothing, or trying to change you away from tradition because it does not fit well in western norms. Why if we need to try to be as balanced as possible, between gender, that we don't give more respect to two spirited, trans gender, gay, and lesbian people? Aren't we all people first? There is need and purpose to be both genders, to be in balance with təmúlaʔxʷ/earth(mother) and kʷlʼncútən/creator.

My grandmothers and oldest auntie taught me from a young age that it is important to show my spirit, know myself, not try to be like other people. They taught me that unless you continue to work on knowing yourself then you can not really know other people. My parents reinforced these teachings.

It is said that many Indigenous peoples could travel on the wind before and at the beginning of western contact. Is it the power of belief that keeps us from this travel now? Being tied to non-abstract "rational" constructs of time, possibility, and space shut multiple forms of reality out. If we allow our perceptions to be more open, then we have a better chance of perceiving the multiplicities. I am many layers, intersections, and social "categories." I see myself as multi-layered, but being in and out of western society and the influence of empire on our communities has made it more difficult to act against being categorized. I am a multiple layered person that exists at the intersections of Okanagan, Irish, Welsh, and Ojibwa culture that was raised to be Okanagan. I am mostly Okanagan (half) what ever that means.

My grandmothers discussed and decided together the best way to raise me, my parents listened.