Both here and in the Colombian Amazon, the turtle is a central figure to many Indigenous cosmologies. Here the earth was created on a turtle’s back; there the turtle is the mother of all waters. The turtle is connected to the lunar cycle and the feminine side of life, in the water but also in the earth and the stars.
Nigamon and Tunai are the Anishinaabemowin and Inga words for “song.” Nigamon/Tunai is a poetic manifesto by Émilie Monnet and Waira Nina, inspired by the bonds of friendship and solidarity they share and the exchanges and collaborations that they have developed for twelve years between Indigenous communities in the North and South.
The two women invite us to witness the intersection of friendship with the water protector and anti-extractivist resistance of their territories, taking the time to share with us the knowledge, cosmologies and fights that unite them. Mining and oil and gas companies continue to reign supreme in Canada, while in Ingan territory in the Amazon, entire lifestyles are destroyed for the pillaging of resources, including copper, which is central to Anishinaabe culture.
Onishka Productions is an interdisciplinary arts organization, mainly focused on theatre, that builds meaningful artistic ties between Indigenous peoples worldwide while honouring their uniqueness and resilience and celebrating their resistance and rich cultures. Founded in 2011 by Émilie Monnet, Onishka creates and produces shows, performance art, artistic encounters and festivals, electing for original and sensory-rich artistic collaborations that offer a new lens through which to view the world we live in. Onishka means “wake up” in Anishinaabemowin.
Onishka believes that artistic creation is a catalyst of social transformation and can challenge how we view the experiences and struggles of Indigenous peoples.
The National Creation Fund’s investment of $175,000 supports the engagement of two additional performers, participation in, and documentation of, a yakomama (turtle) ceremony in Columbia, and a sound creation residency.
Nigamon/Tunai is an ONISHKA production, co-produced by Espace Go and the Festival TransAmériques. The work received support from the Cole Foundation and the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.
Nigamon/Tunai benefited from an Indigenous Dramaturgies Exchanges residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The play will also benefit from a creation and exchange residency at the Centre dramatique Kokolampoe (Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, French Guiana) and a sound design residency at the Centro de Escucha in Sibaté, Colombia.
Onishka received support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, and the Cole Foundation.
Your longstanding friendship with the artist Waira Nina, who belongs to the Inga people of Colombia’s Amazonia region, is at the heart of...