she who lives on the road to war will explore Native feminist leader Jigonhsasee’s foundational influence on the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the U.S. Constitution. I will contribute to indigenizing our history by tracing this cultural–political genealogy through my embodied relationship to it: through dance. I will weave the real and imagined histories of how the Haudenosaunee Confederacy coalesced from separate Nations and feature Jigonhsasee’s role in envisioning new governing structures, peoples, and territories. Recuperating lost matrilineal origins, this work…
I am Haudenosaunee. The culture, history, and identity stored in my body is the underpinning of all my artwork. Creating is a spiritual act for me, rooted in nature, formed through my link to my ancestors and the land of which we are made.
The Haudenosaunee matriarchal system and its belief in empowered womanhood have made me a Native feminist; The Haudenosaunee were feminists before the term was invented. Through every role I play in the art world (choreographer, curator, mentor, teacher, advocate, advisor) and through all my actions (creating, performing, protesting, sharing, teaching, writing, speaking), I advocate for the inclusion of an Indigenous worldview and the centering of Native people.
My current work is focused on furthering an ancestral model of dialogic, peaceful, and cross-community-centering in my creative process. My projects begin in—and return to—community as a way of giving back and remaining engaged with Native people. Making work from a Native cyclical model generates work that is responsive and iterative. I continually revise and re-envision my work through performances and installations in both mainstream venues and grassroots community spaces.
Native worldviews can seek to restore our relationships to other people and the natural world. I begin with envisioning and designing my work for Native audiences (a natural process prior to colonization). Larger audiences are then welcomed into that space of creation, along with Native people for whom the work was created. And intimacy of content and approach becomes deeper, an internal conversation becomes shared publicly, and the universal reveals itself through the specifics in which all are carried. Native performance and art designed for Native audiences can have restorative, re-storying and healing properties in which intergenerational trauma is witnessed and worked through so that balance is restored for all.
— Rosy Simas
Rosy Simas is in-residence in the Target Studio for Creative Collaboration this academic year. This in-progress installation weaves movement, film, and sculpture with immersive music to explicate the leadership role of historical figure Jigonhsasee, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) “Mother of Nations.” Her wisdom and vision guided Hiawatha and the Peacemaker in their journey-creation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and their Indigenous-feminist, democratic, social justice, and human rights impact on the U.S. Constitution and United Nations history.
She Who Lives on the Road to War will be on view in the Target Studio from December 21, 2019 – February 1, 2020. The installation includes video from Simas, sound from François Richomme, and sculpture from Simas and Jeffrey Wells. Dancers Jessika Enoh Akpaka, Valerie Oliveiro, Jeffrey Wells, Leslie Parker, Sam Johnson, Lela Pierce, Taja Will, J H Shuǐ Xiān, and Sharon Picasso also feature in Rosy’s piece. Rosy herself can be found working in the space during the following times:
Friday, January 10, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 14, 10:30 – 12:30
Thursday, January 16, 11:30 – 2:30
Thursday, January 23, 10:30 – 12:30
Saturday, January 25, 10:30 – 12:30
Thursday, January 30, 10:30 – 12:30