In light of the recent and ongoing police brutality, anti-Black racism, and anti-Indigenous racism in Canada and the United States, we are pausing our regular podcast release schedule to highlight the Black and Indigenous voices who joined us for the TIA House symposium Black Lives Out West in November 2017.
TIA House stands in solidarity with the movements to end anti-Black racism and find justice for Black and Indigenous lives. As an organization committed to social justice and innovative aesthetics, TIA House will continue to amplify and connect the creative work that educators, writers, and artists are taking on in academia and in the community at large to end racial violence and discrimination.
In this recorded video, Nadine Chambers, Joshua Whitehead, Wayde Compton, and Suzette Mayr give creative readings of their work to close the symposium.
About Black Lives Out West:
Recent discussions about the relationship between Black and Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island underline the expropriation of land on the one hand and the making-property of human beings on the other. With this paradigm in mind, Black Lives Out West recognized the Western territories of Turtle Island as a zone of exclusion, a site of social death, and a contact zone. Scholars, critics, and writers deeply considered what relationships can and should be, and how to imagine ethical practice in light of that condition that Lisa Lowe has called “the intimacy of four continents” but with a particular focus of Black and Indigenous concerns and subject positions. Speakers took Kamau Brathwaite’s term “arrivant” recently elaborated by Jodi Byrd in The Transit of Empire to nuance the modes and intentions (or lack of intentions) in movement. From the history of the black Albertan cowboy, John Ware, to that of Hogan’s Alley in Vancouver, to that of the recent asylum seekers crossing the US border at Emerson, Manitoba, this symposium began to re-imagine, re-member, and re-make the contact zone in the hope of better relationships and ethical practices. This symposium was organized by TIA House and Suzette Mayr.
Nadine King Chambers is an Afro-Caribbean raised by working class grandparents and a librarian mother in Jamaica with the last 25 yrs in the semi-rural and urban Pacific West Coast of Canada. Her formalized studies have been primarily hunting colonization in the areas of gender/law/resource management, literature, and Indigenous studies. She left formal school in 2012 to remain ungovernable and free to travel between subjects, languages, and transatlantic thought paths.
Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree/nehiyaw member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1) in Manitowapow. He is currently a doctoral student at the University of Calgary where he focuses on Indigenous Literatures and Cultures. Josh is the author of full-metal indigiqueer and Jonny Appleseed.
Three of Wayde Compton’s books have been finalists for the City of Vancouver Book Award, and The Outer Harbour won it in 2015. In 2002, Compton co-founded the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project, an organization devoted to the public memory of Vancouver’s historical black community, and he is a member of the Northeast False Creek Stewardship Group and director-at-large of the Hogan’s Alley Society. Compton is the program director of Creative Writing in Continuing Studies at Simon Fraser University, where he administrates the Writer’s Studio.
Suzette Mayr is the author of five novels, including her most recent book Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall. Her novel Monoceros won the ReLit and the City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Awards and was nominated for the 2011 Giller Prize, the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, and Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. Her novel The Widows was a finalist for the Commonwealth Prize for Best Book in the Canada-Caribbean region. She is a former president of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, and she has been teaching creative writing at the University of Calgary since 2003.
Special thanks to Ben Groh for editing this video.