In August 2017, a group of shiatsu practitioners and interdisciplinary artists from Montreal (fifteen people in total) will be travelling to the North of Quebec province in Canada to visit Innu communities in Natashkuan and Mingan. This 10-days self-funded trip is organised with the intention to establish the links with remote Innu communities and to initiate the dialogue with their culture that predominantly remains marginal and unacknowledged in the context of contemporary Canada. During the trip, we offer free Shiatsu treatments, thematic workshops (art therapy and mindfulness workshops for children and adults centered around sharing, positive thinking, and cooperation) and give therapeutic art sessions to parents and children to help each other heal from the effects of cultural and social disenfranchisement. First Nation’s communities in Québec continue to endure inter-generational trauma as a result of resident schools in the mid-twentieth century. This neglected situation has resulted in a myriad of negative social, emotional and psychological effects, which continue to hamper the positive development of the community as a whole. Cultural segregation and underrepresentation in mainstream Canadian cultures reinforces the sense of alienation that profoundly affects Innu communities Through participatory art workshops, deep listening circles, and play we will initiate the dialogue with Innu communities vital to restore damaged relationships between First Nations and mainstream cultures in Canada. Instead of seeing Innu community as one having a problem and ourselves as helpers, we propose collective engagement, co-creation and sharing as a form of mutual healing process. The results of this encounter will be documented in a short video focusing on dialogic relationships between Indigenous communities and volunteers and the process of cultural exchange.The video will be presented during the indigenous awareness week at McGill university in September 2017.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (October 2017)