Tepknuset Language Sticker Packs
Sticker Packs Available in Cree, Mohawk, Ojibwe and Mi'kmaq
Each Package Includes 3 stickers
Tepknuset is a street art and indigenous literacy project that incorporates Indigenous history, knowledges and language into the urban periphery.
I have illustrated three city animals, a squirrel, raccoon and pigeon. These animals are often viewed as nuisances and pests to the general public. I have chosen these animals to portray my project and draw upon a metaphor of what is oft called "The Indian Problem", something that everybody sees, but nobody wants to. Something uncomfortable but demands attention in order for social change and reconciliation to occur. The survival of the indigenous reminds us of a colonial failure that no one was prepared for. it also reminds that the problem isn't going away These wheat pastes and stickers directly create dialogue about land, language, consent and interruption.
I have researched the indigenous languages spoken in this territory: Ojibwe (Anishnaabowin), Mohawk, Cree (and Mi’kmaq) and have translated the animals' names in each language and affixed these names individually onto each poster, separately. This has a few distinct intentions: to harken a reference to spirit animal totems , to create community as a means of cultural representation in the public sphere , to interrupt colonial spaces with indigenous words , to disrupt the spaces I cannot consent to while walking through the city, to see my heritage represented honorably and without regret.
The TRC recommendations link restoration of language to cultural healing and reconciliation. In Mareike Neuhaus’ Decolonizing Poetics of Indigenous Literatures, asserts that there is a major epistemological difference in the language structure of indigenous languages, which are primarily verb-based and holophrastic, meaning, that individual words serve as a clause, or story. This means that language must be included within any act of cultural restoration, lest a major source of cultural information be missing.
This project has been inspired by Susan Blight’s Ogima Mikana placename project and Leanne Simpson’s book of poetry Islands of Decolonial Love. I seek to expand the works to include site-specific text based works that incorporate Toronto’s urban, colonial and cultural history into attractive and informative posters. These posters may include modest illustration, but primarily will include site, region and street-specific historical references.