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Re-storying place: The pedagogical force of walking in the work of Indigenous artist-activists Émilie Monnet and Cam

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Walking plays a generative and pedagogical role in the work of contemporary artists Émilie Monnet (Anishnaabe/French) and Cam (Innu/Québecois), both of whom work and live in the region known as a Tiohtià:ke to the Haudenosaunee, as Mooniyang to the Anishinaabeg, and as Montréal to many others. This article proposes that recent artistic interventions and participatory projects offered by Monnet and Cam infuse the international discourse about walking as a pedagogical force with their distinct perspectives as Indigenous women. They employ walking to reinforce their presence, to learn from place, to contest colonial narratives and exclusions conveyed by visual culture, to honour their ancestors, to indigenize collective memory by amplifying Indigenous voices and contributing to the re-storying of place, a concept inspired by Potawatomi environmental biologist Robin Kimmerer. Monnet is an interdisciplinary artist who combines theatre, performance, image and sound art as a performer, creator and director. She is also the founding director of Onishka, an mutlimedia Indigenous arts organization. Cam is a street artist and the lead coordinator of Unceded Voices, a street art convergence for artists who are Indigenous women, women of colour, queer, two-spirit and gender non-conforming. She is also currently the national coordinator of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective. With a shared awareness that the dynamics that comprise place are intrinsically relational and dialogical, the work of Cam and Monnet intervenes in the felt and seen world to reinforce their sense of belonging to this region. Walking is integral to their respective research, creation and collaboration that enables their work to contest dominant colonial narratives while honouring the contributions of those who have been disavowed.

Keywords: collective memory; decolonizing; indigenizing; pedagogical force; public intervention; walking art

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 000000012375521XDawson College

Publication date: March 1, 2021

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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