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Water Is Life

Christi Belcourt
Price
$40

These prints were produced  to help raise funds for the Onaman Collective a community based social arts and justice organization, interested in helping Indigenous communities, particularly youth, with reclaiming the richness and vibrancy of their heritage including traditional arts, but with a contemporary spin. “Our collective combines land-based contemporary art creation with traditional arts, anishinaabemowin immersion, and Elders and traditional knowledge and land based practices. We believe the arts are the most powerful medium to create positive social change within our communities for the future.”

Pronounced ah-nah-mun, The Onaman Collective was formed in November of 2014 by Isaac Murdoch, Christi Belcourt and Erin Konsmo. “We care so deeply about the youth and the future of our communities, each of us in our own way has been using our art for social change. We formed the collective for the express purpose of finding ways to converge land-based art creation with traditional knowledge, youth, Elders and Anishnaabemowin and Cree languages.”

Nimkii Aazhibikong (pronounced Nim-key Ah-zh-ih-bih-coo-ng) is a place where youth and Elders come to connect to the land, each other and to pass down the language and traditional knowledge to the next generations.

Nimkii Aazhibikong means Village of Thunder Mountain. It’s the name given by Elders to a year-round Ojibway Art, Culture and Language Revitalization Camp being built by a community of youth, Elders and organizers located north of Elliot Lake, Ontario within traditional Anishinaabeg territory.

Nimkii Aazhibikong is an independent Indigenous led camp that is focused on connecting young people with elders for arts and cultural land-based teachings. The camp is an Ojibway language revitalization camp for youth that is working towards producing the next generation of fluent speakers on the land. Guided by Elders, it is also a camp for cultural resurgence of sustainable Indigenous practices and restoration of traditional Indigenous land and resource protection and management.

Right now Indigenous languages including Anishinaabemowin along the North Shore of Lake Huron are in crisis. Many of the speakers are Elders and many communities have no children speaking the language. We want to inspire the next generation and encourage fluency in the language. The Elders have told us this can only be fully realized while on the land.

Christi Belcourt is a Michif visual artist with a deep respect for the traditions and knowledge of her people. Her ancestry is from Mânitow Sâkahikan, and she has lived along the North Shore of Lake Huron for 15+ years. The majority of her work explores and celebrates the beauty of the natural world.  Author of Medicines To Help Us (Gabriel Dumont Institute, 2007), and Beadwork (Ningwakwe Learning Press, 2010) Christi’s work is found within the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gabriel Dumont Institute, the Indian and Inuit Art Collection, Parliament Hill,  the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and Canadian Museum of Civilization, First People’s Hall.  Christi is a past recipient of awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Chalmers Family Fund and the Métis Nation of Ontario. In 2014 she was named Aboriginal Arts Laureate by the Ontario Arts Council and shortlisted for the Premier’s Award in 2015 and 2016. She is currently the lead coordinator for Walking With Our Sisters.

These Graphics have been used around the world by indigenous led movements for land reclamation and environmental protection.

Check out more designs here.

Printed in solidarity by Justseeds member Jesse Purcell.