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Essay by Amy Karlinsky

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Wintercount image

Roger Crait, Where Did They All Go?

Wintercount image

Roger Crait, Where's the Shame in Being a Shaman? (detail)

Roger Crait - Artist Statement

Our minerals, natural resources . . . the land, the pollution, the lovers and losers, greedy and weak, humble and strong, the who, what, why and where did we all go wrong? We're all people, and yet so unequal in so many ways. You're white; I'm red. A Caucasian standing between two Aboriginals ...welcome to Canada (reference to the Canadian flag).

When the first contact came to be, that was more or less the ratio, two Aboriginals (red men) surrounding one Caucasian (white man) and now it is reversed. I accept my people as being a conquered race but it doesn't stop me from being aware of the fact that all of the blood on this land, at one time surged through ME. But then the French half of me says "What right do they have to act like they are owed all of these things: money, education, self government...promises. I'm half French but I'm brown and people always ask me "Are you Spanish, Mexican, Portuguese, Italian, Moroccan or even Guatemalan?" When I respond by saying that I'm Metis, expressions change and it seems they don't care to know me any better. Please don't mind the generalizations. I know it's not you who said that to me.

I knew that this would be an exciting project to take part in so I decided to utilize my symbolism and appropriate (one more time) the medicine wheel. Each colour of the wheel stands on its own to represent something different but also to come together as a whole.

The black square contains a dreamcatcher made out of anything but traditional elements. In the circle are the letters MT. This is an appropriation and reversal of the trademark symbol. TM=MT. It is meant to be viewed as a part of cultural reclamation.
To literally turn the trademark symbol around and render it null and void = MT, or empty. The red Square takes on several different meanings, one of which leans towards being a prisoner in my own country. The head in profile was also appropriated from the American Indian Movement logo used by the Aboriginals in the U.S. This is to suggest a nation-wide bond of Aboriginals in North America. The yellow square is more of an environmental commentary. In this day, it's almost more common to see a fuel-sucking 747 poisoning the air our birds, animals, our children and breath. Where did they all go? Don't ask me. The white square is a direct reference to relations between First Nations and Caucasians. The gargantuan white sheep growls and peers towards the helpless red ant. Quite simple and direct imagery in this panel gives the viewer yet another account of how some Aboriginals (not all) see their own situation.

I would like to thank you for reading this, it is a large and important part of my life.