Episode 4: France Trépanier Interviews Chrystos at Wisdom Council
Jul 14, 2020
This interview of Chrystos by France Trépanier was recorded during a TIA House symposium called Wisdom Council in September 2019. Wisdom Council recognized the imperfect knowledge transmission methods of the colonial system, and particularly the ways it has tended to fragment non-Western knowledges and privilege the textual over the oral. Using a combination of traditional and contemporary practices, it brought together a small council of mostly BIPOC senior practitioners in the contemporary arts to sit in council over three days to discuss such topics as what our communities need now; memory and forgetting; care of elders in racialized communities; stories of the past, present and future; stories in cyclical time; community formations they’ve experienced; community formations they remember; how they understand the work that needs to be done; and practices and strategies that might be of use or interest in the present moment. This interview was recorded as part of the gathering’s work.
Chrystos is a Menominee poet and activist Chrystos born in San Francisco. In her work, she examines themes of feminism, social justice, and Native rights. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including Not Vanishing (1988), Dream On (1991), and Fire Power (1995). Chrystos’ work has been featured in the anthologies This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981, edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa) and Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology (1988, edited by Will Roscoe). With Tristan Taormino, she coedited the anthology Best Lesbian Erotica 1999 (1999). Bio taken from Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/chrystos).
France Trépanier is a visual artist and curator of Kanien’kéha:ka (gonna gay ha) and French ancestry. She is currently guest curator at Open Space in Victoria. France is also co-director of the Primary Colours/Couleurs primaires initiative, which seeks to place Indigenous arts at the centre of the Canadian art system: www.primary-colours.ca. France co-authored with Chris Creighton-Kelly Understanding Aboriginal Art in Canada Today: A Knowledge and Literature Review for the Canada Council for the Arts. She is co-chair of the Indigenous Program Council at the Banff Centre.
16:13: Chrystos refers to Radclyff Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, Jonathan Cape, 1928.
18:33: Chrystos discusses The Full Moon Collective (Women’s Collective).
20:10: Chrystos references Audre Lorde (www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/audre-lorde), Beth Brant (www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/beth-brant), Gloria Anzaldúa (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/gloria-e-anzaldua), and Pat Parker (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/pat-parker) in relation to kinship and writing.
21:40: Reference to Nicholas C. Peroff’s Menominee Drums: Tribal Termination and Restoration, 1954-1974, The University of Oklahoma Press, 2006.
23:20: Reference to Audre Lorde’s “A Litany for Survival”: www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/147275/a-litany-for-survival
28:40: Reference to feminist writer, educator, artist, and activist Kate Millett: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Millett
29:30: Reference to Violette Leduc’s La Bâtarde, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965.
32:29: Reference to Chrystos’ Not Vanishing, Press Gang Publishers, 1988.
33:05: Discussion of the oeuvre of Edward S. Curtis: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_S._Curtis
44:40: Reference to novelist and essayist, Richard Wright: www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/richard-wright
51:27: Reference to Chickasaw poet, essayist, and environmentalist, Linda Hogan: www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/linda-hogan
TIA House recognizes the generous support of the Canada Research Chairs program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We also appreciate the support of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where our offices are housed, as well as the guidance of Marc Stoeckle at the Taylor Family Digital Library. TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Trynne Delaney, Rebecca Geleyn, Isabelle Michalski, and Joshua Whitehead.
Our intro/outro music is “Monarch of the Streets” by Loyalty Freak Music.