Tia Cavanagh | An exploration in Identity and Nationhood: In Honour of my Nokimos (Grandmother)

Within this work I am exploring, learning and illustrating a multi-generational effect of Residential schools. My Grandmother, Mary Cavanagh (maiden name Solomon) was forced to attend St. Anne’s Residential School in Spanish Ontario. Outside of a multi-generational effect in this work there is space in this process for re-learning, re-telling and for pathways to my own authenticity. It is my intent to tell my story of estrangement and to explore how the narrative creates new meaning and adaptability. The disconnect I feel to traditional Anishinaabe knowledge and language due to Residential Schools, has led me to work with invisible figures, these figures are symbols of my cultural history and represent my Grandmother’s experience at St. Anne’s’. The figures represent the invisibility I feel as an Anishinaabe woman of mixed background, the invisibility of Indigenous history in the Canadian rhetoric, meanwhile occupying a physical construct that museums use when representing Indigenous peoples and cultures.