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En/countering the Colonial: Aiako’nikonhraién:ta’ne and You Are On A Mohawk Land. Two Case Studies on Art, Refusal and Recognition in Montréal.


En/countering the Colonial: Aiako’nikonhraién:ta’ne and You Are On A Mohawk Land. Two Case Studies on Art, Refusal and Recognition in Montréal.

Nesbitt, Sarah (2017) En/countering the Colonial: Aiako’nikonhraién:ta’ne and You Are On A Mohawk Land. Two Case Studies on Art, Refusal and Recognition in Montréal. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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At a panel discussion in 2014, the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) artist, activist and community leader Ellen Gabriel drew attention to the absence of visual signifiers that Montréal is Mohawk territory. Gabriel identified this elision as an example of neocolonial dispossession. This thesis responds to Gabriel’s provocation by asking what it might mean to remediate this visual absence and activate Indigenous visibility/assert Indigenous sovereignty in urban space, particularly that of Montréal. Framed by recognition theory and the problems of state-based recognition addressed by Glen Coulthard and Audra Simpson, this thesis looks at Aiako’nikonhraién:ta’ne (2015) by Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde, and You are on A Mohawk Land (2015) by Marie-Andrée Poulin as site specific artworks that exemplify strategies for countering the naturalization of settlement in the city of Montréal/Tiotià:ke.

Grounded in a long and rich history of artists responding to the complexity of Indigenous representation in urban spaces, I draw on texts by spatial theorists and Indigenous scholars that illustrate the challenging conditions under which these responses occur. These include disparate views towards land, the prevalence of settler co-optation of Indigenous art, and the deployment of formal recognition as a pacification or co-optation tactic. I argue that the specificities of site, material, context, and ephemeral quality of both Aiako’nikonhraién:ta’ne and You Are On A Mohawk Land work together to create space for meaningful and transformative acts of recognition that assert Mohawk sovereign relation to the contemporary urban space of Tiotià:ke or Montréal.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Nesbitt, Sarah
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:15 April 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Igloliorte, Heather
Keywords:Montreal, Iroquois, spatial theory, performance, street art, recognition, refusal, Haudenosaunee, Lindsay Delaronde, Marie-Andrée Pouliin, urbanism, Tiotia:ke, public art
ID Code:982437
Deposited On:05 Jun 2017 15:50
Last Modified:12 Jun 2020 21:49


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