As a Swampy Cree person, I ask myself, “what is agency without connection?” We walk this world touching both earth and sky all at once. As living beings, we intuitively understand our engagement with many spheres simultaneously; our worldview is to understand and contemplate our connection to all things. There are a multiplicity of perspectives that involve how Indigenous people currently see themselves—the concept of belonging and not belonging is a condition of the heart for Indigenous people. After generations of colonialism, we have painfully or tentatively evaluated our connection to Indigenous spaces and manage our disconnections to culture and community daily. As Indigenous people, we navigate this world at times feeling severed, disconnected. Yet every day we are reminded of our complex integrated relationship to creation. Our understanding of who we are as a people is not severed, not fragmented, but perhaps only sometimes sleeping. We have agency with this land we have lived with for thousands of years, and we breathe in the stars that have watched over us all this time.
Touching Earth and Sky involves the work of artists Judy Anderson, Thirza Cuthand, Casey Koyczan, Bradley Larocque, Mary Longman, Shelley Niro, and Julia Rose Sutherland. Each artist has interpreted with poignant beauty their understanding of themselves and of their agency and connection as Indigenous people from Turtle Island.