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istukwukwxixtet - The Path in front of us

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Istukwukwxixtet - the path in front of us, is a collaborative project with Canadian and Chilean professional Indigenous media artists who are joining forces with the intention to research and develop a story using a variety of platforms. Including visual arts, media arts, technical arts, writing, traditional knowledge and Indigenous languages.

The collective wishes to combine Indigenous protocols, history, language and stories of both countries which connect the two groups of Indigenous peoples through legend and legendary creatures and the use of science and drama. The collective also wishes to explore and incorporate the use of scientific studies, connections and evidence between Indigenous peoples through their spiritual connection and beliefs to the waters and lands specifically concentrating on the science of geohydrology... the study of underground waterways and sources.

Project History

Inspired by the high quality Media works presented at the 13th annual ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Festival this past October and by virtue networking opportunities between Sqilxw Inter-Disciplinary Artists' Mariel Belanger and Victoria Baptiste Producer/Media panelist, Chilean/Canadian film producer & presenting panelist Rodrigo Ardiles, and Mapuche Director & Visual Artist Francisco Huichaqueo. During the week of the festival, we established a need to co-create our similar legends in a contemporary story targeted to young contemporary N'sylxcen and Mapuche language speakers. Please see attached portfolios for individual artists profiles.

Project Description

The istukwukwxixtet collective aims to develop the creative, assist with our first opportunity to explore the authenticity of our story and to experience the land first hand, get to know the people - our characters on a first hand basis.

Istukwukwxixtet intends to explore stories of transformation of land, water and people while following the protocols of the Mapuche and Syilx people while on their lands exploring legend connections of the Eagle and Condor. As well explore each nation legendary serpent stories while exchanging artistic practices, producing multi-media works through exercises and workshops on the land as indigenous people.

Project Details

istukwukwxixtet logoFrom North America to South America, First Nations Peoples have curious connections from traditional protocols, creation stories, similar legendary creatures and continual contact to the land and animals through our living cultures. All of which are dominant in all their histories, teachings and cultural heritage.

During this initial creation phase of this collaboration, we need to facilitate international cultural exchanges between a newly developed Sqilxw – Mapuche (People of the Land) artist collective to research and explore the intent and importance of prophecy within both cultures. Such a partnership is contemplated by the Film and Television Co-Production Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government and Republic of Chile.

The collective will travel alternatively from Chile into the Mapuche territory and Canada into the Syilx territory on an international exchange to learn stories of struggles for land and culture - as the Mapuche people face human rights issues today, that are not so different than the Syilx reality. The writers/researchers and project consultants will physically retrace the land through the legend of the Condor and the Eagle, as allowed by the Elders of each nation during the stay on the lands of the Condor and of the Eagle respectfully.

While documenting our processes through digital media we will weave our common struggle of maintaining sovereignty through:

Site visits in both traditional territories to explore history and legend
Collective writing/collaborative sessions, on the land and in community with local artists - young and elders
Further develop story line for the film
Document our stories as indigenous artists experiencing our own connections to these lands through impromptu exercises in 'on the land writing' and inspired artistic practice in traditional and digital media works.

These initial works will be recorded in Mapuche, Syilx, English and/or Spanish with the intent to translate all works in the traditional languages of Mapuche and Syilx and exhibited in the communities of both Countries

The artists will travel for two months into the traditional territory of the Mapuche and Syilx people. The team will be guided through communities according to local protocol as a common thread and learning experience for the artists in 2 one-month international artistic exchange periods.

During our cultural exchange the group will co-facilitate traditional story telling sessions on the land following the protocols of the people. While respecting these protocols the artists will research, document and develop creative land, culture, activism and prophecy inspired pieces.

The host artists will provide access to locations and film services for the purpose of documenting the process and assist the visiting artists in researching a possible framework for Sqilxw professional film protocol specific to the protocols of traditional territories of the Okanagan Nation as established through regional Film Commissions in Chile and for the Okanagan Artists to facilitate a similar exchange with the Mapuche collective in the development of land base digital markers featuring local indigenous creations and feature for exhibition individual and collective works inspired from the collective exchange.

THE TEAM - CANADA - SYILX

  • Dust Dancer Productions, Victoria Baptiste
    Administrator, Writer, Director and Co-Producer
  • Mariel Belanger, TransMedia Artist
    Writer, Director and Co-Producer
  • Richard Armstrong
    Syilx traditions knowledge keeper and cultural advisor

THE TEAM - CHILE - MAPUCHE

  • Rodrigo Ardiles
    Writer, Director, Photographer, Visual Artist, Co-Producer
  • Francisco Huichaqueo
    Director, Writer, Digital Media Artist, Co-Producer
  • Mapuche Cultural Advisors:
    - Anita Epulef & Lonko (Chief of the community) Rodolfo Catrileo