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The book cover for Retreating to Re-Treat. In the top half is a photograph of several people assembled on a stage wearing purple shirts with drawings of trees in black lines and purple and blue colours resembling the Northern Lights in the background. In the bottom half on a black background are many drawing of leaves, flowers and a snake in the Indigenous style. In white text reads Retreating to Re-Treat A Performative Encounter at the ‘Edge of the Woods’ By the Collective Encounter, with Jill Carter.

Read an excerpt from Retreating to Re-Treat: A Performative Encounter at the 'Edge of the Woods'

By Brandon Crone Date: July 10, 2024 Tags: Excerpts

In 2019, a group of scholar-artists led by Jill Carter stood with their audience in a liminal space at the 'edge of the woods'—a space between now and then, a space between now and later. Together, they engaged in a survivance intervention: an Indigenous reclamation of territory, using Storyweaving practices rooted in personal connections to the land as a method of restor(y)ing treaty relationships.

Retreating to Re-Treat documents both their artistic offering and creation process, offered in the spirit of knowledge-sharing and enriching scholarship around collaborative practices. By revealing their unique and still-developing method for addressing a fraught and tangled (hi)story, the Collective Encounter invites readers to join them as we mediate those sites of profound experiences and renewal—sites in which the project of conciliation might truly begin.

Read an excerpt from the play below.

***

MS. REDACTED: Justin and I,
Me and Justin,
We have a thing going on.
But he pretends not to know me.
Justin!!! Baby!
Don’t treat me like this.
I’m not like one of the others, those
women, those girls that went missing
between now and the ’80s.
Don’t think you can ghost me the way
the RCMP did their families, their babies.
I can ghost you harder with your predecessors,
your father’s legacies.

     Projection: past prime ministers in headdresses, face-paint, canoes, etc.

Bloodstains against your lead-free walls,
the music of phantom screams running
through your Ottawa Halls.
I can sink the pain of trauma and PTSD
so deep in your skin, it will last longer than the
Haida-inspired Raven on your left shoulder.

Maybe if you lick my lips, suck my tongue,
taste the mercury that flows in Grassy Narrows,
Slate Falls, that still oozes from the skins,
the blood of the Chippewas of Sarnia decades after Dryden.
Maybe if you make a “reservation” in one of my
low-class, no-star, third-world-rated trailers
in Cat Lake, the scent of black mould,
the fleas playing with your hair, and
the souls of angry children whispering
sweet nothings in your ear will keep you
hot and bothered all night long.
Then maybe, just maybe
YOU’LL REMEMBER MY NAME!

Let me wine and dine you
in one of my uninsulated,
non-ventilated kitchens,
powered by butane,
decorated with exposed
wires, ready to catch fire and
explode at any given second.
Feel what it’s like to
drown in desperation and alcohol.
Choke on white flour, Klik, and
government cheese.
Get familiar
with the taste of poverty and diabetes.

Let me strip you down to
the bone, swallow your heart
leave you naked and scarred
afraid to answer the call of
your father’s drums, to sway
to your mother’s songs.
Let me ride you.

TRINA, CANDY, & TUHI: Yaaa! Yaaa! Yaaa!

     They gesture.

SHEILAH: Tie you up and beat you
down. Feel the weight of oppression,
emasculation, and wrongful conviction
for at least seven generations.

Justin!
Baby!
Stop denying me.
Stop pretending you don’t
know me.
I am not some
wham bam, thank you ma’am,
thank you for your fucking
donation kind of bitch!

Don’t think you can
bamboozle, sweet talk, swindle
me like I am some kind of
Royal Proclamation, Indian Act,
Toronto Purchase, Election Day
kind of slut!

Justin untrue dough,
dough, dough, dough
it’s all about the fucking
dough for you.

And I like it!
You know how it turned me
on, when you spread
Terra Nullius wide open, and
broke her with your
pipelines.
Ohhhh . . .
the tar sands, the crude oil
You know how to get me wet.

So please
Talk dirty to me.
Say my name.
Say it loud and clear.
GEN-OHHHHH-CIDE!
Yes, yes! OH! OH!
OH, CANADA!

     Recording: JUSTIN TRUDEAU-IMPERSONATOR. Through his “speech,” MS.
     REDACTED becomes increasingly aroused.

VOICE-OVER: Uh, um.
Respect.
UHHH . . .
Indigenous!
UMMMMM.
Canada!
UHHH . . .
RECONCILIATION!

***

An invaluable resource for creating collaborative practices, immerse yourself in this brilliant book by ordering your copy today!

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