They, the Earth, Her Body Will Burn (Controlled Burn) For the Canadian History Association's Decolonising 1867 Workshop, at Ryerson University, Toronto, 2017

"The Earth, They Her Body Will Burn”

(Controlled Burn) Catherine Tammaro, 2017 ~ Acrylic On Canvas With Quills Relinquishing restraints on the paintbrush, I thereby activate my release from Eurocentric aesthetics. Allowing other older spaces to open, sluices of red ochre paint reflect the pollution of intrusion, dragging blood memories from my heart and laying them down for all to see. Like internal resource extraction, skipping beats are cardioverted with gold and copper time lines; Joules Laws of pigment. Signs, sigils and old Indian trails, calumets, quills and wampum assertions ~ a black canoe in a fog covered bay, as someone else’s history slips by sail, into the homeland. The red and yellow ochre guts of the issue! Seas of conquest, miners of pain andsuffering. A severed braid... Part of me understands very well what has been lost and what has been acquired. I know in my blood that this is the way, this has always been the way of the conquering ones ~ the “Charcoals” and the blankets, beaver pelts, and guns. The business deals and details. This is only one part of the truth. Medicine bags, nature’s ceremonies and arrow points are another. I know my own blood.Those residential schools, seas of faces snapped up and lined up. The brush delineates those lines as I plug into memories of shamed bodies and uncertain, ‘guilty for no reason’ Catholic girls, while the Earth Mother burns. Who are you to decide who we are, anyway? The hurt… The brush scratches along the soft canvas like starched uniform blouses against young skin. I open to this grief and come to an understanding of this personal parcel of our collective history. Decolonize Your Creativity! Allow All Expression! No correction, no revisionist strokes - only glorious colour ~ red sister and brother. You cannot rewrite our history. I express collective grief and trauma and other ‘heretofore’ unlabelled miseries from the ground of my being. Visions of seas of European faces; horrors and pounding hearts ~ are being quieted now in the breast by the comfort of the colours of old bones and clay, milk, water and the silver of the beautiful Moon. Drawing her back down to me even as thousands of pounds of glass beads settle at the bottom of the river. Red dyed Moose hair embroidered dreams ~ the bone awl pierces the hide. She is a Moon Woman made of Lakes and Time. She is night. She is yatayensih, The Old Woman. And supporting that gift of freedom of line, jagged and uncontrolled, this ‘letting go’ activation, trades teaching for teaching. Some are offered ~ some must be extracted from the wounded heart that holds them so tightly. Sealed within twigs and spider webs, water drum beats and rattle sounds. The anguish of the mother, the song of the lake; interchangeable at best. The fear is expunged by this act, of the painting of it all: given in to the roughly hewn line, and drawn red veins of the earth. Internal sacred fires are lighted. Ossuaries and Owl visits, hawk knowledge, wolf calls and turtle truths outweigh and outlive those short change promises; those ‘Touch the Pen’ ceremonies. Marks, as dates are incised into clay. Mother taught me that clan and clay speak the same language. And those whose faces have yet to come from beneath the ground, are waiting to be born. You cannot hold back the Stars, my friends. Word by word, stroke by stroke, a part of me knows that this is the way...that this has always been the way. From the ashes of the ceremonial fires, mix your paint and sing your song of thanksgiving. The Ancestors, rocks and trees already know who you are. ©TAMMARO 2019.
eskǫyęʔ Taǫmęˀšreˀ date:žátǫ ⁿgyaˀwiš hatiyerunǫˀ
Private Collection.

Oil and mixed media on canvas 42" x 48" SOLD.
Low resolution Image