“For me, dance has provided a protective environment to address the limitations placed on our Indigenous peoples and to create a healing space.”
I treasure dance as the most significant inheritance I have from my ancestors and the creative process is invaluable. I have dedicated myself to this large undertaking for the benefit of my children and to honour my indigenous heritage. I feel fortunate to be able to establish our artistic practices within the greater community and affirm our ability to regain our ancestral legacy in all its intricacy and eminence.
For me, dance has provided a protective environment to address the limitations placed on our Indigenous peoples and to create a healing space. Our bodies, our thoughts, our emotional attachments and our prayers are connected through the ceremony of dance. We are not only turning to our ancestral knowledge for our own reconciliation but we are sharing and supporting others through our art.
The artistic work of the previous era in my family’s lineage was in response to the lifting of the Potlatch ban and what was referred to as the slow awakening of a culture that was made to sleep for almost 70 years. Current social context has led to a critical stage in this long narrative of artistic practice. We find that we must evolve to meet the challenges of preserving the integrity and essence of ancient practices while responding to contemporary circumstances. The present creative processes will make certain that this essential progression will engage and respond resolutely with the responsibility of carrying forward what has been established by our predecessors, while defining the current legacy to be upheld.
Margaret Grenier is a Gitxsan/Cree dancer living in West Vancouver, B.C.