The sexualization and exploitation in the images of women in mainstream society disregard the rich cultural existence that Indigenous women have maintained through traditional knowledge, social roles, and power. This objectification of women demonstrates that in Western society there is a lack of understanding of, and relationships to, traditional teachings. It is time to push the continuum of these teachings forward to expose vulnerability, to celebrate sensuality and to reclaim eroticism through the matriarchal body.
To this end, I originally conceived of “Squaw,” a series of photographs of Indigenous women in response to the derogatory usage of the word. Each woman was invited to stage a portrait reclaiming her natural sovereign powers of eroticism, sensuality, and vulnerability. Together, these women deconstruct and challenge mainstream ideas around sexuality. Their photographs dismantle negative stereotypes of First Nations women and portray more authentic truths of diversity, power and respect, through this project, each woman has found voice and a safe platform to stand In Defiance through the expression of her most private and sensual aspects.
I would like to thank my mentor in photography, Ellie Dion and all the women who bravely took part in the project.
-Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde
In Defiance was originally organized by and presented at the University of Victoria Legacy Art Galleries, October 8, 2016 – January 7, 2017.Download PDF - 0.46 MB