A story by Gina Brooks from 2018
Here in this place we carry the messages of old ways, ancient reminders deeply etched in the memory of our land. The journey to the wisdom, knowledge, and language awaits us wherever we are. It calls us by name and gives us a message as we dream and pray to come and lay your tobacco down to open the portal of identity. In this place there no boundaries, or law, or man to tell you who you are. Dip your paddle in the healing waters where everything began and where everything will end. It is in your own canoe that you have all you need to guide you home to your Indian self. Here in this place you will find yourself waiting patiently as you awake from the spells that society has casted upon you.
I am a traditional Maliseet artist from the St. Mary’s First Nation. My work captures the stories of Indian people and their connection to the land. As a young child, I was influenced by my humble upbringing. My parents and grandparents depended on the land, basketry, and art to provide for their families. I taught myself to weave by watching my father and grandfather. We survived on very little, but we survived and had good lives. My father and grandfather taught us well about the land so a lot of my art comes from that place. Most of the things I have learned on my own, but the basis of it comes from my father’s love to build and to create art.
My journey as an artist has taught me that there are different types of art and that art is a form of expression. This has allowed me to talk freely about my own art and its symbology. It has also allowed me to reach a defining moment in my life where no imaginary boundary—man-made or self imposed—holds me back.