February 1, 2016

Sandra Semchuk Quote


You knew James [Nicholas], my late husband, a Cree writer, actor and government liaison for the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. None of the video or photographic works that he and I did in the name of reconciliation for fifteen years ever seemed to sit still. I would think we were doing one thing and, unexpectedly, the work would turn upside down. I remember James and I talking about generosity with an elder at Waterhen Lake Cree Nation. I understood then that white government people turned things upside down by making themselves the generous ones. Generosity and power are so connected. I asked James if he could teach me how to say, in Cree, thank you for sharing the land. He responded, “You don’t understand. Sharing is the law. The land owns itself.”

- Sandra Semchuk

This quote can be found in the remarkable collection The Land We Are: Artists and Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation


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