I've been quietly working with this raaaad group of Matao/CHamoru artists building some beautiful things as part of the MALI’E’ performance research project. (There more coming stay tuned)
This space is one of them. Fanhassuyan means the place of our imaginings and memories. Auntie Fran Lujan, the museum director, has supported us in big ways to make a sacred space for our family stories told through dance, textiles, sculpture, painting, fashion, carving, sound design, digital images, song and prayer.
We are telling our stories to heal. We are telling our stories to bear witness to the beauty of our language and culture and the injustices currently being committed by the US Military. We are telling our stories because our bodies tremor and shake as they bulldoze our land. We are telling our stories to call upon the wisdom of our ancestors. We are telling our stories to hold each other, to remind each other of the infinite possibility that sparked the most outrageous open sea migration in human history. We are telling our stories to re(k)new a network of indigenous relations that lasts for generations to come. We are telling our stories to lay the groundwork for our spiritual economies to flourish.
In this space of imagining and memory there are stories of how indigenous women fashion themselves through their relationship to land, queer Indigenous kids survive militarism when it shows up as colonial toxic masculinity perpetuated by our parents, how we sail through the open ocean through perilous waves and the scariest of storms, how great grandmothers pass their legacy on through heirlooms, how descendants visit with the minds of their ancestors through the stone and shell tools they leave behind, how displacement from ones land holds heartbreak and possibility…. and how indigenous communities affirm each other’s spiritual sovereignty through exchange of gifts, mutual recognition, and song… and… so much more.
If you’re in Tongva land or near it, please go visit this space and share back about your experience of it. We’d love to hear about what comes up for you.
The brilliant powerful human beings that I am so blessed and humbled to have the opportunity to work with: Franceska De Oro, Alethea Bordallo, Ojeya Cruz Banks, Lourdez Puti’on Velasco, Heidi Quenga, Monaeka Flores, Hila’an Pali’i’, Jeremy Cepeda, Joseph Certeza, Micki Mariquita Davis, Roldy Aguero Ablao, DeAnn Thompson, and Dakota Camacho.
This project has been supported by the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum, the National Performance Network’s Creation Fund, Alliance for California Traditional Arts, and On the Boards.