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Tue. 13.11.18 / 6 pm Past is Prologue

20 Years of COSMOSQUAW: screening and conversation with Samantha Nock and Salia Joseph
Western Front

An evening with Sḵwx̱wú7mesh storyteller Salia Joseph and Cree/Métis poet Samantha Nock, honoured, contextualized and expanded on Cree/Saulteaux/Métis artist Lori Blondeau’s COSMOSQUAW (1998). Blondeau’s work offers a critical exploration of Indigenous women and beauty. Twenty years later, Joseph and Nock explore the same theme, what has changed, and what has stayed the same. The pair offered a reply to the performance that involved a live reading, music, and a screening of the original piece itself.

Excerpt from Front Magazine, Sept/Oct 1998 Vol. IX, No. 6, P.9:

"As the lesbian magazine Diva offers us an alternative to Cosmo, so does Lori Blondeau’s magazine COSMOSQUAW. Blondeau and her collaborator Bradlee Larocque have created a magazine that asks us: how cosmopolitan is Cosmo? They do this by satirizing its rhetoric and reminding us of the women left out of the magazine. These artists take pleasure in subverting mainstream perceptions of femininity, beauty, and sexual etiquette."


Western Front
303 E. 8th Ave


Salia Joseph is from the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Snuneymuxw First Nation’s on her father’s side and is British and Jewish on her mothers. In 2016 she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in First Nations and Indigenous studies from the University of British Columbia. She recently graduated from a yearlong full time immersion program in her language, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Sníchim at Simon Fraser University. Salia sings in a band called An̓usáyum̓ (Two Berries) as well as a traditional Sḵwx̱wú7mesh dance/singing group called Ta Na Wa Káwstem. Salia works for Kwi Awt Stelmexw, a Sḵwx̱wú7mes language and culture non-profit. In addition to this she has recently completed a curatorial internship at the Bill Reid Art Gallery. Salia is also committed to her continued learning journey of Salish wool weaving.

Samantha Nock is a Cree-Métis writer and poet from Treaty 8 territory in Northeast BC. Her family originally comes from Ile-a-la-Crosse (Sakitawak), Saskatchewan. She has been published in GUTS Magazine , Shameless Magazine, SAD Mag, Canadian Art, and others. Samantha co-organizes a bi-monthly community readings series called Poetry is Bad For You, and hosts Heavy Content, a podcast exploring representations of fat people in the media. She cares about radical decolonial love, coffee, corgis, and her two cats, Betty and Jughead.

Lori Blondeau is a Cree, Saulteaux and Métis visual and performance artist from Saskatchewan who is a member of the Gordon First Nation in Treaty 4. She holds an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan, and is currently based in Winnipeg where she teaches at the University of Manitoba’s School of Art. She has sat on the Advisory Panel for Visual Arts for the Canada Council for the Arts and is a co-founder and the current director of TRIBE, a Canadian Aboriginal arts organization.


Samantha Nock & Salia Joseph

Past is Prologue – 20 Years of COSMOSQUAW: A Reply in Three Parts, November 2019

Past is Prologue – 20 Years of COSMOSQUAW: A Reply in Three Parts

“When Lori broke the scene to tell a story of her love of Vicks, it cemented her performance in my own family stories. I don’t know if this is a Prairies NDN thing, but I grew up with my kokum wiping Vicks on everything; it was her cure all.”

– Excerpt from Samantha Nock's "Vicks"

"The pressure on Indigenous people is real to be better, smarter, and more put together so as to not fit into anyone’s preconceived boxes, so as to not sit in the depths of stereotype and racist assumptions. Lori makes brave decisions to resist this burden, to let COSMOSQUAW be her true damn self and not worry about how that looks or what people might think. COSMOSQUAW gets to drink wine, and smoke, she sings loud. This is no small resistance. To make something for you, for your people, and not concern yourself with the baggage attached to our bodies, is medicine."

– Excerpt from Salia Joseph's text

Full Response (PDF):

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