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Wihtikow City
narrative,Aboriginal story-telling, colonization, social injustice, Wihtikow, large scale work, painting, Regina, spiritual, reserves, historical document, emotional, North Central Regina, metaphor, "worst neighbourhood in Canada", "The Bionic Bannock Boys", video, collaboration, Gabriel Yahyahkeekoot, mixed media,
description
start quotethe wihtikow is a being within Cree stories which consumes humans, and is similar to a vampire in European culture.end quote
-- Neal McLeod

Neal McLeod’s works grow out of the  CreeThe largest group of First Nations in Canada, and part of the Algonquian language family. See the Canadian Encyclopedia for more information: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0002005  storytelling  traditionTradition is the passing along of a culture from generation to generation, especially orally. Or, a custom or set of customs handed down in this way. The idea of heritage is related to that of tradition. Any activity — as a pattern of celebration, ritual, or other behaviour, etc. — is traditional once it is a precedent influencing comparable activities in the future. (Artlex.com)  and they often speak to the societal injustices towards his people that began back in the times of  colonizationThe act of colonizing, or the state of being colonized; the formation of a colony or colonies. To plant or establish a colony or colonies in; to people with colonists; to migrate to and settle in. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  and continue into the current times. In his  artist statementA commentary by an artist on an artwork, and exhibition, belief system, or any other topic.  about this work, he states, the wihtikow is a being within Cree stories which consumes humans, and is similar to a vampire in European culture. The wihtikow's consumption is relentless and without end. "As a  contemporaryCurrent, belonging to the same period of time. Usually referring to our present time, but can refer to being current with any specified time. (Artlex.com)  Cree painter, I draw upon metaphors and narratives of  CreeThe largest group of First Nations in Canada, and part of the Algonquian language family. See the Canadian Encyclopedia for more information: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0002005  storytelling in my work. In Wihtikow City, the city of Regina [Saskatchewan] is conceived of as a wihtikow: consuming the life-force and light of Aboriginal people in the massive immigration from  reservesAn Indian reserve is specified by the Indian Act as a "tract of land, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, that has been set apart by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of a band." To find out more about reserves in Canada, go to: Indian Reserves Western Canada   in the last forty years."  (Artist Statement for That’s My Wonderful Town Exhibit, 2003, MacKenzie Gallery)

additional resources Wihtikow City by Neal Mcleod and Gabriel Yahyahkeekoot
Duration: 3:34 min
Size: 15515kb
Things to Think About
  • How can society, as a whole, be like a wihtikow?
  • As a performer, McLeod is a member of the comic troupe “The Bionic Bannock Boys”.  They use humour to discuss and inform their audience about Aboriginal concerns. Why do you think he uses humour in this way?
Studio Activity

Collaborative art

Research  collaborative artTwo or more artists coming together to develop ideas, work through their plans and create an art work.  projects and make a collaborative art work with another artist.  You can find out more about collaborative art projects at the following websites:

Traditional story-telling

  • Research traditional stories, legends and fairy tales.
  • Make a visual representation to combine the two ideas.

Video

  • Make a video to represent your community.
  • Take footage of some of the important people and places.
References

Author unknown.  ‘Our Story:  CONNECTIONS - Individual Assistance Grant Program Review Steering Committee.’  Saskatchewan Arts Board.  Retrieved from the Internet on August 9, 2008 from:  http://www.artsboard.sk.ca/story/story_connections_IAGC.shtml

McLeod, Neal.  Songs to Kill a Wîhtikow. Regina: Hagios Press, 2005.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning