The Artist

Photograph by

My digital story on Indian Residential School intergenerational trauma/resilience

“ayisîyiniw ôta asiskiy I am human being from this earth.”

Lana Whiskeyjack is a multidisciplinary treaty iskwew artist from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Treaty Six Territory, Alberta. Among her early influences and teachers were her mother’s and grandmother’s gifts in the traditional arts (beadwork, moose hair tufting, fish scale, moccasin making, quilting, and sewing). At 10 years old, her mother’s gift of a book of Pablo Picasso’s etchings changed the way she expressed herself, the simple and expressive lines influenced her to draw on everything she could.

After graduating high school, the young single mom moved to Red Deer to attain her Art & Design diploma, then moved with her two children to Edmonton to work at the Royal Alberta Museum, after a few years she returned to school to fill her hunger for sculpting at the University of Alberta. She fell crazy in love with a brilliant Cree man and joined him in an adventure that included moving across the country to Ottawa, attaining B.A. (Honours) and M.A (Canadian Studies) degrees. The story continues with doctorate degree at University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills in iyiniw pimâtisiwin kiskeyihtamowin (Indigenous Studies).

Guided by her grandmother’s advice, “Go to school, travel, and see as much as you can. Then return home to share what you learned, but do not forget where you came from.”, Lana returned home to work at the first Indigenous owned and operated educational institution in Canada, UnBQ. Prior to 1970, UnBQ operated as Blue Quills Indian Residential School, where two generations of her maternal family attended.

Lana’s research, writing, and art explores the paradoxes of what it means to be nêhiyaw (Cree) and iskwew (woman) in a Western culture and society and how she and other Indigenous women are reclaiming, re-gathering, and remembering their ancestral medicine (sacredness and power)

Her art is passionate and expressive, born from the deep roots of her culture, history, and intergenerational relations. Through the examination of sometimes difficult subjects, her art reflects the intrinsic beauty of her interconnections with the earth, Cree language and all living beings. She invites you to join her on the next chapter of her adventure