#TAG is an Indigenous-led research project, infused with the spiritual power of dreamtime, includes elements of prophecy (the Eagle and the Condor) and follows a path of practice that was governed by the Spirit World or Ancestors. For some of our team, TAG was an experiment in both faith and consent, learning to navigate the world according to Indigenous ways of knowing. We, the research team and the Youth Advisory Council, agreed to be the human vehicles bound by Ancestral contract and used by the spiritual dimension of the Universe to manifest a message for humanity.
This was Indigenous research in practice; learning to trust ourselves, each other and the unknown for direction and guidance. TAG was guided by the following questions: How do youth understand Indigenous identities in the context of traditional knowledge and arts-based practices? Does cross-cultural Indigenous exchange of knowledge promote community health and/or assist in reconciliation? Do young people benefit from learning about Indigenous cultures from Indigenous people?
The project involved young people (ages 14-24) from Six Nations and the Brantford area. Half of the participants identified as Indigenous, while the other half identified as settlers or non-Indigenous people. Under the leadership of our Youth Advisory Council, 22 young people took part in 3 days of workshops on Six Nations.
Over the three-days, the youth participated in ceremonies, socials, dancing, art and storytelling about Haudenosaunee, Metis and Mapuche culture, history and identity. During this period of experiential learning, the youth were encouraged to doodle and draw pictures and images that represented what they were seeing and hearing. At the end of the workshops, the Alapinta muralists collected the youth’s drawings and integrated their ideas into the two public art sister murals that were painted in Six Nations and Brantford in the proceeding three weeks. As two halves of a whole, these two pieces were intended to remind each community of their relationship to the other.