Whose stories are we missing when we speak about land and freedom?
It is a profoundly important question for artists, Cheryl L’Hirondelle and Camille Turner, who share a keen interest in the mapping of public memory. Made in response to Canada150, the 150th anniversary of Confederation in Canada, Freedom Tours is a set of two public tours made by the artists focusing on the Thousand Islands National Park, and the Rouge National Urban Park. The tours contradict and unravel the settler narratives of the parks and bring forward unsung indigenous histories and activism for the ecosystems within the parks.
For the Thousand Islands National Park, the artists hosted a boat tour that reimagined some of the histories of the land in song. Histories that included the Akwesasne Mohawk lands that the park comprises and, given proximity to the waters towards America, of the relations to borderlands. For the Rouge National Urban Park, the artists conducted a workshop, and a walking tour to lesser-known areas of the park. In the workshop the public was invited to create their own signs and flags that would be used for the walk which celebrated the life and ecosystem sustained by the park, and protested environmental injustices that threaten the park.
Freedom Tours was produced for LandMarks 2017/Repères 2017, curated by Tania Willard, with support from Partners in Art. The boat tour of Thousand Islands National Park took place June 17th and 18th, 2017, and the walking tour of Rouge National Urban Park took occurred June 24th, 2017.
Further information on Freedom Tours can be found on the official LandMarks 2017 website.
Freedom Tours at Thousand Island National Park, June 17 and 18, 2017
Freedom Tours at Rouge National Urban Park June 24, 2017