“My work is firmly decolonial, a practice of cultural resurgence, affirmation and survivance.”
As an Anishinaabe writer from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON), my work is part of a continuum of artistic cultural practice including oratory, story cycles, songs, chants, invocations, poetry, libretto, stories, novels, essays, radio plays, creative non fiction, “experimental” writing and multidisciplinary works. It arises from the traditions of my people, and the canon of Anishinaabek orature/literature. SON is the home territory of generations of renowned writers, orators, and storytellers including Nahnebahwequay, Basil Johnston, Duke Redbird, Lenore Keeshig and my grandmother Irene Akiwenzie. My work is inspired by my mixed ancestry and the work of other Indigenous artists. In dispelling stereotypes and telling the truth of Indigenous realities in my own way according to concepts of truth and beauty rooted in Indigeneity and Anishinaabe culture, my work is firmly decolonial, a practice of cultural resurgence, affirmation and survivance. It rejects marginalization, centring itself within Anishinaabek creative cultural practice. My writing is inherently political, a form of activism, empowerment and resistance as well as a creative and spiritual act. Stories in my newest book, The Stone Collection, examine love and the ways in which our perceptions of people and the world around us can be misleading and incomplete. In the Anishnaabek language stones are “alive,” infused with life force. Although many of the stories are about loss, under the surface they are “alive," celebrating the beauty and preciousness of life and the web of connections that join and strengthen us.
Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm is a writer from Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, Saugeen Ojibway Nation.