Jessie Loyer’s essay on the Canadian Arts website, “Indigenous TikTok is Transforming Cultural Knowledge,” brings up an exciting account of Indigenous stories and perspectives being moved to the forefront on the social media website TikTok. Loyer’s delight at this movement is noticeable in the tone of the piece and the myriad of examples used. By “otherwise marginalized TikTok creators add[ing] their own spin to memes and contribut[ing] to a new language emerging from these digital spaces,” these actions are sort of creating an ideal space, and imagining that the world looked and acted this way in reality. The creations of Indigenous TikTok-ers are moving the world one step closer to being an open and accepting place where Indigenous worldviews are acknowledged without being treated as too othered or too serious for the settler culture. The ideal vision for the real world would be one where people of different cultures and languages live side by side and coexist, and no one is excluded from opportunities based on race or class. As the essay states, art institutions do indeed have a long history of belonging to and being meant for exclusive groups, namely white, upper-class settlers. In this way, art institutions mirror colonialism in how they only make space for and prioritize the elite — the “preferred” community in the views of the people who run the art institutions. …


Terese Mailhot cleverly writes about issues of the Indigenous condition, as well as the human condition.

Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot offers a raw, poignant look at Mailhot’s life through the lenses of her journey through mental illness and her identity as an Indigenous person. Mailhot is part of the Seabird Island First Nation, which is an island located in the Fraser Valley, just east of Agassiz, British Columbia. Mailhot’s voice throughout her work is unique and at times unsettling, as stated by the book’s publisher, which tends to be illustrative of her mental state. The publisher’s comments also state that “Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept.” This statement has a lot of significance both to Heart Berries and life in general. Memory is malleable and is affected by both external and internal stimuli. If someone does not want to accept something, or is unable to because of trauma, for example, then the memory in question may be incomplete, suppressed, or only partially recalled. This condition is not static, though, and can at any time be changed and developed as the person goes through different life experiences or works through their trauma. …


How Twist expresses her anxieties about Indigenous and Trans issues

In her poetry collection Disintegrate/Dissociate, Cree writer Arielle Twist boldly tackles the themes of life, death, change, and relationships. She expresses a lot of duality in some of her poems, with pairings like old/new, (re)birth/death, and chaos/stillness. This duality is reflected in the title of the poetry collection. Although the words ’disintegrate’ and ‘dissociate’ are not opposites, they are presented in a layout that expresses duality by being paired together and linked with a slash. There is also a duality in Arielle Twist’s identity as a trans woman, which she continues to wrestle with throughout the collection. She was born male, but perhaps she never felt like a male, and several of her poems highlight the struggle of holding two identities within herself. One identity may be more desirable to have and explore than the other. I wonder how in touch with or at peace Twist is with her masculine side — does she want to completely disengage from being identified by herself and others as a male, or does she keep that part of herself intact? There are several references to rebirth and burning of her past identity, which indicate a clean break from her identity as male, but how much does she hold on to her masculine side? …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store