How long have you known Jean Berger for?
Just recently. But who really knows him?
What is your idea of what his works may have looked like?
I can imagine he was able to create anything he thought up.
How would you describe him?
I imagine he was a man who both stood out, yet could blend in. A shape-shifter if you will.
What drew you to this project?
The opportunity to tell history from a different perspective
What discoveries or challenges have you have encountered along the way?
Narrowing down my ideas. Whose stories do I tell? What bits and pieces do I include/exclude?
Which Mohawk histories are you focusing on for your artist book?
I am not pinpointing any specific events. This is a history of the land, which is very much congruent with the story of people. Our relationship to our environment defines us, and I will explore the various relationships to the land, dealing with abundance and loss, connection and separation.
How do these perspectives change or expand upon the typical narratives of New France and Montreal during Jean Bergers era?
Often history reflects the settler views of things and doesn’t take into account the stories that were here when they arrived. We only hear about the notion of place and people in the colonial voice, rather than a native one. The native story is always told from third person perspective, and I want to offer a first-person perspective.
How will your work fill the historical gaps where the people of Kahnawake are concerned?
What types of relationships our people had with the land, even before the “reservation” system was established, before our movements and access to resources were restricted by new and imposing laws. Moving around, sharing, and the notion of home in several places is something the colonists just couldn’t seem to grasp.