It’s Not Your Fault – Raven Davis

It’s Not Your Fault is a short movie about the violence of online comments made towards Indigenous people, and specifically about Indigenous Women of Canada, and the negligence of online/social media outlets allowing hate speech. It’s Not Your Fault is a personal response recorded, edited and preformed by myself, as an Indigenous person who has experienced violence by both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous men.

In the movie I use manoomin, a grain also known as “wild rice” which had been a food staple for many Indigenous people in Canada. Throughout the short, I record myself preparing my bundle to pray and help heal from what I was reading, but couldn’t complete the ceremony because the abalone prayer shell that I’m holding, fills up with manoomin; symbolically, the lives and struggles of all my relations, extended family, chosen family and women and children across Canada who’s lives have been taken, those who are still suffering and those who have not been able to escape their abusers or violent situations.

Throughout the movie, I perform a song with a fringe, leather handled and horn and bean shaker. The Strong Women’s song, also known as the Women’s Warrior song was taught to me over 20 years ago by the Ode’min Kwe Singers. It was at that time that I sang with them and Pasiwegiik Drummers at different events and gathering in Ontario. I preformed the song in a slightly different version of the original to make it a bit slower, deeper and more like something you’d hear as a child from your mother or grandmother. Similar to a lullaby or cradle song to calm a child’s crying or preparation before bed. I sang this song in this way to comfort my sadness as it related to what I was reading and to honour of all women who we have lost and who are still suffering in abusive relationships or sexually or gendered violent situations.

Raven Davis is an Aboriginal, 2-Spirit multidisciplinary artist and social activist from the Anishnawbe (Ojibwa) Nation in Manitoba. Born and raised in Toronto and currently living in Halifax, Raven’s work spans painting, performance, traditional song/dance, design, poetry and animated short film. Ravens inspiration is derived from traditional Aboriginal folk art, nature, queer and people of colour race and gender justice. Currently, Raven is working on a large body of work for a solo show at the Anna Leonowens Gallery for 2016, and is the Art and Activism Collective’s, Artist in Residence at the Nova Scotia Art and Design University for the 2015-2016 academic year.

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