#07, February 2021
An Atikamekw activist, as well as an established multidisciplinary artist, Meky Ottawa took on the challenge of visually representing the theme of Raccords #07: How to reconnect with Indigenous knowledge in order to accelerate social and ecological transition?
In Pocokacinan, Meky depicts an Atikamekw handshake that is part of major Indigenous ceremonies. This image captures the immense respect of one community for another. It also brings to mind the concept of the medicine wheel, a vital symbol in Indigenous traditions. Its colors—always yellow, red, black and white—may correspond to the cycle of seasons or to points on a compass. Different Nations have their own interpretations of the medicine wheel. But for all Indigenous Peoples, its leitmotif embodies the harmonious interrelationship of human beings and nature. It is at once a symbol of prayer, of learning and traditional knowledge, and of celebration of all that is living.
With great clarity and artistic depth, Meky’s work evokes the richness and power of Indigenous knowledge, which can guide us toward a more sustainable, responsible, and harmonious relationship with nature. And it offers a vision of a renewed way of living together that is at once transformative, hopeful, and respectful. Pocokacinan reminds us that giving Indigenous Peoples the authority that is rightfully theirs is a matter of environmental and social justice—the two guiding principles of the transition. Migwetc Meky—thank you.