Stars are our heritage. In many Plains cultures, we are taught that we come from the stars overhead, the Morning Star the link between we living and the spirits of those passed. We walk the Milky Way south to return to where we originated in our deaths. We give star quilts at important moments in life to symbolise eternity and protection, and quilts are draped over the casket to help our loved ones move to the next world and find their ancestors.
These teachings are central to iskwē’s latest release “Little Star.” iskwē, of mixed Cree, Diné, Métis, and Irish heritage, constantly educates herself on her heritage so that she can shine light on the injustices still faced by indigenous people in Canada. “Little Star” discusses the horrific treatment the media gave to fifteen-year-old Tina Fontaine and twenty-two year old Colten Boushie, two indigenous youth murdered in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
Both victims were subjected to smear campaigns in the media, with people focusing on toxicology reports on Tina Fontaine, as though that was more important and her own fault for being wrapped in a comforter with rocks and thrown into a river. The man who shot Colten Boushie point blank in the head was treated as a human, while Colten was portrayed as just a drunken savage that was not worthy of living in the first place. The murderers of both were acquitted by all white juries from which indigenous people were immediately removed in the vetting process. It was a blatant display of Canada’s genocidal history which they want to claim no longer exists. Trudeau and his crocodile tears promised reconciliation, but of course that was a lie.
“Little Star” is healing. Set to the drumbeat of an honour song, iskwē does not mince words. These are two cases that are incredibly difficult for me to talk about; you would be surprised how many people that claim themselves to be anti-racist and progressive are willing to use openly genocidal and hateful rhetoric to justify our murders as indigenous people. However, “Little Star” is filled with love, mourning, and all-out fury. Through disbelief in what we see around us, we will unite to affect change.
Watch the stop motion video directed by Sarah Legault below.
Follow iskwē on Spotify.