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The Big Bad: Nehiyaw Visions Of The Future
January 27, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PST
On Friday, January 27 at 6pm, join Massy Arts Society and Massy Books for The Big Bad: Nehiyaw Visions Of The Future. This double launch celebrates two Nehiyaw authors and their latest works: Bad Cree by Jessica Johns (HarperCollins) and The Big Melt by Emily Riddle (Nightwood Editions).
Haunting and fierce, both Johns and Riddle meditate on kinship and ndn utopia in the era of late capitalism and climate change.
This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été rendu possible grâce au gouvernement du Canada.
Venue & Accessibility
The event will be hosted at the Massy Arts Gallery, at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.
Registration is free, open to all and required for entrance. The gallery is wheelchair accessible and a gender-neutral washroom is on-site. Please refrain from wearing scents or heavy perfumes.
For more on accessibility including parking, seating, venue measurements and floor plan, and how to request ASL interpretation please visit: massyarts.com/accessibility
Covid Protocols: Masks keep our community safe and are mandatory (N95 masks are recommended as they offer the best protection). We ask if you are showing symptoms, that you stay home. Thank you kindly.
Bad Cree by Jessica Johns is a gripping, arresting debut by an unforgettable voice. In it, Mackenzie, a Cree millennial, wakes up in her one-bedroom Vancouver apartment clutching a pine bough she had been holding in her dream just moments earlier. When she blinks, it disappears. But she can still smell the sharp pine scent in the air, the nearest pine tree a thousand kilometres away in the far reaches of Treaty 8. Mackenzie continues to accidentally bring back items from her dreams, dreams that are eerily similar to real memories of her older sister and Kokum before their untimely deaths. As Mackenzie’s life spirals into a living nightmare—crows are following her around and she’s getting texts from her dead sister on the other side—it becomes clear that these dreams have terrifying, real-life consequences. Desperate for help, Mackenzie returns to her mother, sister, cousin, and aunties in her small Alberta hometown. Together, they try to uncover what is haunting Mackenzie before something irrevocable happens to anyone else around her.
The Big Melt by Emily Riddle is a debut poetry collection rooted in Nehiyaw thought and urban millennial life events. It examines what it means to repair kinship, contend with fraught history, go home and contemplate prairie ndn utopia in the era of late capitalism and climate change. Part memoir, part research project, this collection draws on Riddle’s experience working in Indigenous governance and her affection for confessional poetry in crafting feminist works that are firmly rooted in place. This book refuses a linear understanding of time in its focus on women in the author’s family, some who have passed and others who are yet to come. The Big Melt is about inheriting a Treaty relationship just as much as it is about breakups, demonstrating that governance is just as much about our interpersonal relationships as it is law and policy. How does one live one’s life in a way that honours inherited responsibilities, a deep love for humour and a commitment to always learning about the tension between a culture that deeply values collectivity and the autonomy of the individual? Perhaps we find these answers in the examination of ourselves, the lands we are from and the relationships we hold.
Jessica Johns is a Nehiyaw auntie with English-Irish ancestry and is a member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. The former managing editor of Room magazine, she co-organizes the Indigenous Brilliance reading series. Johns’s writing has been published in Grain, Glass Buffalo, SAD magazine, Red Rising Magazine and Canadian Art, among others. Her debut poetry chapbook, How Not to Spill, was a co-winner of the bpNichol Chapbook Award, and her short story “Bad Cree,” upon which her novel is based, won the Writers’ Trust of Canada Journey Prize and a silver medal at the National Magazine Awards.
Emily Riddle is Nehiyaw and a member of the Alexander First Nation (Kipohtakaw). A writer, editor, policy analyst, language learner and visual artist, she lives in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton). She is the senior advisor of Indigenous relations at the Edmonton Public Library. Her writing has been published in the Globe and Mail, Teen Vogue, The Malahat Review and Room Magazine, among others. In 2021 she was awarded the Edmonton Artists’ Trust Award. Emily Riddle is a semi-dedicated Oilers fan and a dedicated Treaty Six descendant who believes deeply in the brilliance of the Prairies and their people.