Tanya Lukin Linklater PHOTO Liz Lott

Stone, stick, star
published June 5, s024

When invited to respond to the 7a11d archive by curator and performance artist, Paul Couillard, I was struck by his written description of Rebecca Belmore’s 1997 performance, For Dudley. I have admired Rebecca’s rigorous performances and installations for decades. Her work addresses violent ongoing colonialisms in the Americas.

In 1995 the late Dudley George, holding a stick, was shot and killed by an Ontario Provincial Police officer. Dudley George was protesting during collective action in Ipperwash Provincial Park. Anishnaabe land had been expropriated during WWII and never returned to Stoney Point. This land was later returned.

The late Neil Stonechild, a Saulteaux teenager in Saskatoon, was taken on a starlight tour in 1990. Starlight tours, as they came to be known, were acts committed by Saskatoon police officers. Driving Indigenous men to the outskirts of the city, they deserted them partially unclothed in frigid temperatures at night. Wearing one shoe, Neil Stonechild died of hypothermia in a field. He was 17.

In both cases inquiries were launched. The OPP officer who killed Dudley George was convicted of criminal negligence causing death. The Premier of Ontario was publicly criticized for his involvement in the Ipperwash Crisis. Two Saskatoon police officers were never charged in the death of Neil Stonechild and were eventually fired.

Rebecca’s works, For Dudley and Freeze, address these histories.

I was unsure how to respond to Rebecca’s work during the remote residency, which I undertook in Nbisiing Anishnaabeg aki. I view my practice as quotidian, everyday; small gestures that accumulate over time. Like the women from my Sugpiaq homelands, my gestures are bodily, material, affective, and intellectual, often happening in the home before moving out into the world.

I read newspaper articles, timelines, and reports. I looked at photographs. I spent time with Rebecca’s performance. I wrote names. On long sheaths of paper, I placed handfuls of dried raspberry. I gathered woolen blankets — starlit and tartan. I picked rocks and felt for sticks. I asked my daughters to perform with materials.

I imagined.

I remembered.

I am remembering.

I remember.

I will remember.

Tanya Lukin Linklater’s performances, works for camera, installations, and writings cite Indigenous dance and visual art lineages, our structures of sustenance, and weather. She undertakes embodied inquiry and rehearsal in relation to scores, ancestral belongings, and art works. Her work reckons with histories that affect Indigenous peoples’ lived experiences, (home)lands, and ideas. Her recent exhibitions include Aichi Triennale, Japan; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Gwangju Biennale, South Korea; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; New Museum Triennial, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Toronto Biennial of Art. In summer 2024 her solo exhibition, inner blades of grass (soft) inner blades of grass (cured) inner blades of grass (bruised by weather), curated by Kelly Kivland, will be presented by the Wexner Center for the Arts. She is represented by Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver. Her first collection of poetry, Slow Scrape, was published by The Centre for Expanded Poetics and Anteism, Montréal in 2020 with a second edition released by Talonbooks, Vancouver. Her catalogue, My mind is with the weather, with contributions by Eungie Joo, Frances Loeffler, Layli Long Soldier, Tanya Lukin Linklater, and Beth Piatote launched in April, 2024. Her Alutiiq/Sugpiaq homelands are in southwestern Alaska. She lives in Nbisiing Anishnaabeg aki.


A list of Indigenous creators, thinkers, and collaborators mentioned by Tanya Lukin Linklater in her TPAC interview.

Ceiwen Gobert 
Rebecca Belmore (see also Rebecca Belmore’s work on the 7a*lld site )
James Luna (see also James Luna’s work and artist interview on the 7a*11d site)
Lori Blondeau
Adrian Stimson (see also Adrian Stimson’s work on the 7a*11d site)
Norval Morriseau
Kay WalkingStick
Maria TallChief (see also Tanya Lukin Linklater’s work in relation to Maria TalllChief)
Rita Letendre (see also Tanya Lukin Linklater’s work in relation to Rita Letendre )
Beau Dick (see also Tanya Lukin Linklater’s work in relation to Beau Dick)
Sonya Kelliher-Combs (see also Tanya Lukin Linklater’s work in relation to Sonya Kelliher-Combs)
Duane Linklater
Tasha Hubbard (see also Tasha Hubbard’s Two Worlds Colliding, a documentary film about the starlight tours, and also nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up documentary feature considering the death of Colten Boushie

Artist, Tanya Lukin Linklater
Performance in video, Mina Linklater
Performance in photography, Sassa Linklater
Sound mix, Ben Leggett
These problems are multiplied by the difficulty I have in front of a tape recorder” by Steve Bates from All The Things That Happen, Constellation Records, 2022
Dress, Warren Steven Scott
Commissioned by Toronto Performance Art Collective for the 7a*mgr8 project © Tanya Lukin Linklater, 2024

Stone, stick, star (video) © 2024 Tanya Lukin Linklater

Tanya Lukin Linklater interviewed by Paul Couillard ©Toronto Performance Art Collective, Tanya Lukin Linklater, 2024

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