ARTS: I am Tsiktsinensawe Yakonkwe/Rhonda Lucy of the Mohawk Nation the founder and Artistic Director of Sun Raven Arts established in 2015. Birthed out of the Idle No More Movement, MMIWM2 initiatives and the 94 Calls to Action. Sun Raven Arts aims to empower voices thorough the arts and tradition by means of alternative methods of learning and healing. Offering arts based education, cultural awareness, trainer training, trauma and harm reductions arts based programming, workshops, lectures/talks and production in both life performance and film. With 10 plus years of both front line social work and arts and performance background. There is not only a need but I have had great success with our unique alternative programs and methods. We believe healing is for everyone and together we can grow in a good way.
We offer programming for all skill levels, ages and backgrounds while maintaining a focus within our indigenous communities. These programs translate into real world skill development in employment, self esteem, self confidence, literacy, critical thinking skills and harm reduction. I want to change the way we help our next generations come up. Inter-generational trauma is real. Its in the river of knowledge the flows inside of us. That is a water that needs to be cleaned. We can do this. We have been forced to fight each other and ourselves and I want to help change that focus. In community, arts in business, education and healing.
While facing outside prejudice and issues we also are addressing lateral violence in our communities. If we can support our up and coming we grow stronger as a people. Healing begins there. Healing begins when we stop fighting each other, learn from each other like we use to. Respect each other and build together in a good way. Showing our youth and the world around us what each of us respecting each other looks like. I ask what does moving forward look like? What does it feel like? What does it sound like? What is the nature of this? Using our the medicines and memory of our culture we can show the spirit of this to ourselves, our communities and the world.
We keep various project in flux at different stages so when a barrier which most often is funding is faced we can maintain and keep other project moving. I have designed the healing programming so that it may continue at all times in case a funding issues are faced. We never give up or walk away.
There is this myth that all indigenous people have this imaginary bank volt of money we have access to at any time. So applying for grants often we are told to go find this money in one wording or another through non indigenous funders. I educated myself on how to deal with this and I don’t back down. Days and endless nights of research, history, treaty, politics, governance and law. Workshops, lectures, archives and much more. Just to prove my human rights to even be in those rooms. Bravo to of indigenous support from organizations can be a challenge.
We have every right to be apart of the arts and educational world just like everyone else. Our indigenous funding is not enough to go around. Non indigenous peoples are also able to access indigenous funding as well. I refuse to have our efforts go through the (Red only door)
As “displaced” indigenous woman I lost my family. I have struggled with that lack of support while growing not having anywhere or knowing where to turn. I Experienced violence and trauma. Even left with injuries I will endure for the rest of my life. A lot of our people have. That is another reason Sun Raven is here.
I survived and my traditional role is as a teacher my name means Butterfly Woman.
Now I teach these skills that saved me. Its always been here cause it is that spirit of honesty, courage, love, wisdom, respect, truth and humility. Our 7 Grandfather teachings. Each one needs to be used with the rest, but to leave one out goes against what that teaching is. I carry this when I face barriers. Resilient and relentlessness I never give up. Our team is dedicated.
Our goal for the next 5 years is to tour programming and production internationally and to hard to reach reserves offering education and skill sets. To produce works of art and educate. To grow our indigenous presence in the world and strengthen our voices. We aim to secure and maintain sufficient funding to provide further programming and arts to the community. We want to keep gaining partnerships with initiatives, organizations, individuals, communities to grow in a good way together.
People can get involved, in many ways firstly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram. We also have a Go Fund Me page at http://www.gofundme.com/sun-