Local aboriginal artist makes stand for his people

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A Mi'kmaq artist from Stephenville Crossing made a stand for aboriginal people across the country in Corner Brook Friday. Jordan Bennett set up a teepee on the lawn of the First United Church on West Street and spent the day etching the words of the Indian Act around it. The aboriginal lodging was shut with the Canadian seal, signifying how the aboriginal people have been trapped by the Government of Canada's rules since 1876.

"This is just my way of letting the people of Newfoundland know, the people of Canada know, there is concern for aboriginal people all over," Bennett said, of the art project he did in conjunction with last week's Aboriginal Sovereignty Week.

Mikmaq artist Jordan Bennett writes out the words to the Indian Act on a teepee to help raise awareness of the treatment of aboriginal people in Canada. Photo by Cory Hurley/The Western Star

Corner Brook -

A Mi'kmaq artist from Stephenville Crossing made a stand for aboriginal people across the country in Corner Brook Friday. Jordan Bennett set up a teepee on the lawn of the First United Church on West Street and spent the day etching the words of the Indian Act around it. The aboriginal lodging was shut with the Canadian seal, signifying how the aboriginal people have been trapped by the Government of Canada's rules since 1876.

"This is just my way of letting the people of Newfoundland know, the people of Canada know, there is concern for aboriginal people all over," Bennett said, of the art project he did in conjunction with last week's Aboriginal Sovereignty Week.

"I want people to be aware of what these rules entail and how aboriginal people have been treated over the years and how they are still being treated. ... It's just the rules are so messed up that people need to be aware. A lot of people in this area are Mi'kmaq, a large portion of people where I am from are, and the majority of them probably don't even know what goes on in the Indian Act."

He wore a head piece of feathers and a bandana on his face, which he said represented the early aboriginal warriors portrayal of strength and unity. He said the bandana in no way was to hide his face, but for people to realize it wasn't a personal statement, but one for aboriginal people as a whole.

Bennett shook his head as he wrote the words of the Act on the paper covering of the teepee.

"I am reading and writing it out, and I am confused," he said. "Let alone in 1876, when a lot of aboriginal people couldn't even speak English."

He chose the church yard on West Street for its beauty and central location, but also because he said it represented the western society's moving in and taking over the aboriginal people's land - which he said wasn't anything personal against the church itself.

Organizations: First United Church

Geographic location: Corner Brook, West Street, Canada Newfoundland

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  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Great idea, awareness is always good, but a more traditional outfit would have had a larger impact on me. The first things I saw in the pic were black jeans, prescription glasses, the bic pen, and how typical of a western society the writing looks on the teepee. Is using the tools and materials of a society (western society) a good way to knock that same society for its wrongs?

  • Just Wondering
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Just wondering if anyone has encountered problems with applying as a founding member of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band?

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Great idea, awareness is always good, but a more traditional outfit would have had a larger impact on me. The first things I saw in the pic were black jeans, prescription glasses, the bic pen, and how typical of a western society the writing looks on the teepee. Is using the tools and materials of a society (western society) a good way to knock that same society for its wrongs?

  • Just Wondering
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Just wondering if anyone has encountered problems with applying as a founding member of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band?