Chief Lady Bird (Nancy King)

We Must Protect the Land for the Next Seven Generations
We Must Protect the Land for the Next Seven Generations (2016)
digital print and beadwork on canvas
24″ x 30″

Drawing inspiration from Indigenous Futurisms, Chief Lady Bird has digitally collaged images to create a surreal landscape that depicts a young jingle dress dancer dancing across melting ice under a galaxy. According to Diné writer Lindsey Catherine Cornum, Indigenous Futurism is a movement that continually rehashes narratives of “the final frontier” and explores the notion of bringing Indigenous traditions into the future instead of leaving them in the past.

We Must Protect the Land for the Next Seven Generations acknowledges the symbolism of the jingle dress as a “healing dress” and represents the Indigenous Seven Generations teaching, wherein humanity must consider how its current actions will affect the next seven generations to come. The beaded glyphs floating through the sky symbolize a language that is indecipherable as a result of cultural genocide and Canada’s assimilation tactics; they are fragments of visual language that reference wampum belts, syllabics, and petroglyphs. The glyphs are intended to be “read,” but they remain frustratingly indecipherable. This is intended to emulate the frustration felt by members of Indigenous nations who are not able to speak their traditional languages.

Nancy King is a First Nations (Potawatomi and Chippewa) artist from Rama First Nation, with paternal ties to Moosedeer Point First Nation. Her Anishinaabe name is Ogimaakwebnes, which means Chief Lady Bird. King completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2015 in Drawing & Painting, with a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture, at OCAD University.