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Artists hailed as First Nations changemakers

By Grania Litwin
The role of the indigenous artist is that of a warrior, says Victoria writer and First Nation’s philosopher Taiaiake Alfred.
“The definition of a warrior is one who struggles to make change in life, but also maintain the visual connection to our selves,” said the eloquent orator.
The Mohawk, who moved here from Montreal, spoke at the Victoria International Arts Symposium yesterday, and gave the Indigenous art session keynote address.
He said “warrior artists” battle the culture of dependence, victimization and path of self destruction that many First Nations people are on and are, in some cases, “better leaders than the leaders.”
The academic said that thanks to colonialism, having been taken from their land and having others’ will, religion and beliefs imposed on them, “we have not been given the freedom to live life as our ancestors did, in relation to the world and each other.”

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