Anthropology Professor Helps Survivors Feel Strength in Telling Their Stories

Neal Keating produced a public flash installation of an Indigenous peer-reviewed exhibition titled “Artistic Response from a Mohawk Institute Survivor: Gary Miller.” The exhibit ran for three days on the main floor and wall of Toronto City Hall, March 27-29, 2023.

With the support of The Survivors’ Secretariat (an Indigenous organization in Canada), Dr. Keating (Anthropology) has prepared a new traveling exhibition of The Gary Miller Art Project that is now ready for public circulation in both Canada and the US, aiming for multiple installations over the next several years.

The first installation was produced as part of a larger Canadian Indigenous National Gathering on Unmarked Burials. The exhibit attends to the genocide of Indigenous Peoples in Canada carried out through ‘residential schools,’ and aims at educating the public about what they really were, what happened to the children there, and the afterlives of residential schools for Indigenous Peoples in Canada today.

The Department of Anthropology teaches/shows that humans use their capacity for culture to make the worlds they live and dream, but that other worlds with other visions often crash in. Dr. Keating is learning that Survivors want a better world than that created by residential schools and the settler-state. They want a post-genocide Canada. Strength is Survivors telling their stories. The Gary Miller Art Project shows one Survivors’ story. It is powerful and effective art. Besides hanging the actual artworks and texts, the installation requires making health supports available for visitors who are overcome by the art. Dr. Keating coordinated with Indigenous counselors to be available throughout the installation. For three days the Toronto City Hall rotunda was scented by sage, sweetgrass, and bear root. The next installation is planned for Summer 2023 in Akwesasne Mohawk Nation Territory.

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Posted: March 31, 2023