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Decolonizing reconciliation : refusing settler innocence through sound Fratila, Stefana 2016

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DECOLONIZING RECONCILIATION:  REFUSING SETTLER INNOCENCE THROUGH SOUND by STEFANA FRATILA B.A., The University of British Columbia, 2014 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT  OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Political Science) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  March 2016 © Stefana Fratila, 2016  Abstract My thesis examines the possibility for decolonization in the aftermath of  Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and proposes settler-shame as both generative and necessary to decolonizing and disrupting the patterns of  ongoing colonial violence against Indigenous bodies.  I specifically focus on how sound and performance can be used to critically engage and educate on both historical and ongoing colonial violence prevalent in settler-colonial society. I elaborate on how my own performances are an embodied form of  settler-shame and put forward a sound technique I’ve called time-stretched witnessing. I draw on encounters within my own practice as an electronic artist/producer as a means of  addressing the degree to which it might be possible to create space for meaningful knowledge sharing, memorialization, social transformation, and decolonization. To decolonize is to work towards a reconciliation that refuses ‘reconciliation’ as we have known it thus far, one that refuses settler innocence and encourages settler-shame, and centres Indigenous leadership, the return of  land and an end to gender-based violence.
 ii Preface This thesis (including photographs) is original, unpublished, independent work by the author, S. Fratila.  iii Table of  Contents Abstract ................................................................................................................................................. ii Preface .................................................................................................................................................. iii Table of  Contents .............................................................................................................................. iv List of  Images ...................................................................................................................................... v List of  Supplementary Materials  .................................................................................................... vi Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................................... vii Dedication ......................................................................................................................................... viii Prologue ................................................................................................................................................ 1 My mother-tongue .............................................................................................................................. 4 Giving in to shame: a settler unravels, grasp(s)in-wards ............................................................... 6 Shame as generative .......................................................................................................................... 10 Mirroring resentment ....................................................................................................................... 13 Sound as generative .......................................................................................................................... 15 “no history:” a piece in time-stretched witnessing ...................................................................... 19 Creating spaces of  settler shame .................................................................................................... 25 Education as redress ......................................................................................................................... 28 Reconciliation that refuses ‘reconciliation’ .................................................................................... 31 Bibliography ....................................................................................................................................... 33  iv List of  Images Image: Carpathian Mountains, Romania ......................................................................................... 3 Image: SBZ —After landing. ............................................................................................................ 5  Image: Lillooet Lake ........................................................................................................................... 9 Image: Standing on the rock ........................................................................................................... 11 Image: YVR — Before landing. ..................................................................................................... 12 Image: enacting poetics of  space ................................................................................................... 15 Image: Ocean .................................................................................................................................... 18 Image: Show poster .......................................................................................................................... 20 Image: skylight .................................................................................................................................. 24 Image: Galiano Island ...................................................................................................................... 27 Image: Textbook ............................................................................................................................... 29 Image: Hotel room ........................................................................................................................... 30 Image: My room ............................................................................................................................... 32  v List of  Supplementary Materials no history .................................................................................. http://hdl.handle.net/2429/57409  vi Acknowledgements First and foremost, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to study on traditional, ancestral, unceded and occupied xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musquem) territory. I am so grateful to my incredible supervisor, Erin Baines, for providing me with encouragement, guidance, knowledge and support throughout the past two years. Thank you for lighting my fire so that I could fly far, far away and — when it was time — for drawing me back in, telling me I had to let go, release my grasp, and come back to the ground. Thank you to Glen Coulthard for working so closely with me and for being so supportive and open to my approach, despite it being so different from his own. Thank you for listening to me and trusting in me. I am so thankful to all of  the professors I have worked with during my time at UBC, especially to Pilar Riaño-Alcalá, Sheryl Lightfoot and Bruce Baum, for their relentless patience and invaluable teachings. To everyone who took the time to share their insight and speak with me as I put the pieces together: Andrea Cownden, Sam Dzierzawa, Samantha Feldman, Rachel Flowers, Alison James, Sarah Munawar, Ronan Nanning-Watson, Hugo Noriega, Ayu Ratih, John Roosa, Ellis Sam, Tania Sawicki Mead, Corey Snelgrove, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Hannah Tollefson, Thomas Weideman, Jessica Wallin, Jordan Wilson and Kelsey Wrightson.  Last, but certainly not least, thank you to my parents for their unconditional love and support.   vii Dedication For my family,   especially —  my parents: Carmen & Vasile Fratila  my grandparents: Buni, Bunu, Buni, Bunu.  my aunts: Cristina & Dana.  viii Prologue This has not been easy to begin and each time I’ve tried to breach the surface, the surface has seemed to grow in size.  But, I am going to try and begin here: Over the last year, I have examined questions of  settler-colonialism and decolonization, interrogating my own role as a Romanian-born settler studying on the traditional, ancestral, unceded and occupied land of  the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueum) people. Although I have been working on this project — an alleged ‘research paper’ — for a year, all I really know for certain is that neither I nor this project have reached an end-point. If  I’ve reached any conclusions, it is that the process of  undertaking settler-shame is an ongoing one.  With this work, I really wanted to take apart the traditional 'structure' of  a thesis as a way of  drawing attention to the fact that the TRC's work is hardly finished and I hope that the non-linear format better represents the fact that the 'research' I am doing is also unfinished, that decolonization is an ongoing process itself  and that academics cannot rely on neat structure or conclusions in order feel comfortable about this subject matter. I definitely do not offer (at least, in form) the kind of  conclusion that a research paper tends to when it nears its end. As I’ve spent time with these ideas, I’ve realized that the neatness and tidiness are merely signifiers meant to meet an academic audience’s demands and needs. By contrast, this is a nonconforming interpretation of  a ‘master’s thesis,’ reflecting back the messiness of  decolonization — that takes time to reach ‘answers’, moves carefully and slowly, and yet traces an experience of  shame that is not punctured by metaphors.  1As I have undertaken this project, I have worked through my positionality as a white settler woman through multiple mediums. It never felt honest to submit a traditionally structured thesis because my engagement with the topic has gone much further than a colonial setting like the ‘classroom’. Furthermore, my research has been processed in a much more personal and substantive way than a traditionally structured thesis allows me to demonstrate.  It may be worth adding that I did initially try to write a ‘proper’ research paper, but the process felt both empty and constraining. I presented a version of  this work (namely, on the relationship between transitional justice and education in the aftermath of  the TRC) in Germany last summer, 2015. It was not devoid of  a decolonizing approach, but was written for an audience with little to no knowledge about Indigenous politics in Canada. I felt uncomfortable submitting this kind of  work back ‘home.’ I found that my research did not pull me in; instead, I read it as a hollow promise, separating my enacted and embodied shame from the topic, instead creating a comfortable distance where I could exist as a white settler woman speaking about Indigenous suffering. Furthermore, I felt that it would be  A reference to “The answers are not fully in view and can’t be as long as decolonization remains punctuated 1by metaphor:” Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang. “Decolonization is not a metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. Vol. 1, No. 1, 2012, P. 35, italics added for emphasis. 1 unjust to submit an academic piece on issues that have so profoundly affected the lives of  my Indigenous friends as well as the lives of  their loved ones. Carrying out a thesis in the traditional sense began to make such little sense to me that I began to feel it would be practically shameless to write a paper on the genocide of  the peoples whose land I occupy, without bringing my own personal shame into the so-called ‘research’. Therefore, I created a literary space where my experiences with settler-shame could co-exist with a very different kind of  shame I have felt: ‘survior-shame’. This aspect of  the project is, of  course, more personal work and I do not expect it to necessarily be easy to read, especially if  the reader has also experienced sexual or gender-based violence. I hope that this suffices as a warning. While, of  course, this is a master’s thesis and you are reading it, I acknowledge that this is a piece that is not easily published or perhaps even read in an academic context. This thesis does not fit that context. In fact, it is supposed to and means to work against that system of  thought. This is a multi-media piece. There are segments which are academic in nature, or draw on critical thought and that engage with scholars. At the same time, I have included images that perhaps serve a less academic purpose, but are the more intimate evidence of  my thought process around these issues. There is an audio component. I have also pieced together various notes, emails, and text messages with my fellow colleagues and friends on the topic in order to indicate a year of  learning as well as document the process of  my settler-shame as it has unfolded. In my presentation of  this process, I hope to preserve some disorder in order to parallel the disorder of  decolonization and convey an ethic of  incommensurability. Lastly, I hope this thesis shows that I have worked hard to shut out the very idea of  settler innocence and, instead, have opened the door to the feeling of  settler-shame. And I still keep it ajar.  2 Carpathian Mountains, Romania This is where I am from.  3 My mother-tongue My grandma asks me what I am writing about. I try to describe my ideas but I struggle even to find a way to explain settler shame, which is so central to my research. I hear myself, “Well the word for ‘shame in Romanian is…” I think about it for a moment and then remember that the word is ruşine — which has the connotations of  ‘disgrace’ or ‘humiliation’. Then again, we also have a saying that is very much like the word ‘shame,’ as South Africans say it: ‘mare păcat’ — which, directly translated, means a great sin — well, we say it like, ‘what a great misfortune that is.’ My grandma is staring at me, asking me how much milk I want in my coffee. We have only one word for settler in my mother-tongue and it is colonist. I like that, because it at least acknowledges the entrenched colonialism in inhabiting a land that is not your own. When I hear ‘colonizer,’ I sense a trace of  responsibility to the active occupation of  Indigenous land. When I hear ‘settler,’ I sense an acceptance of  the settler-colonial relationship and the settler-colonial state. My grandma has walked away because I seem unable to articulate myself  in my mother-tongue. I have no idea how to translate settler-colonialism into Romanian because it would just be colonist-colonialism. It doesn’t carry the same meaning.  4  SBZ —After landing. I land at the feet of  the Carpathians. For the first time, I really feel what it is like to be on land without also being a colonizer/settler/trespasser.   5 Giving in to shame: a settler unravels, grasp(s)in-wards “Thus speaks one who understands:  Shame, shame, shame – that is the history of  the human!” - Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra 
2◊ “Colonialism pulls every string shamelessly.” - Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of  The Earth  3◊ At first, to centre myself  in any conversation regarding settler-colonialism and decolonization seemed against my better judgement. The words of  Tuck and Yang were imprinted in my mind: “When metaphor invades decolonization, it kills the very possibility of  decolonization; it recenters whiteness, it resettles theory, it extends innocence to the settler, it entertains a settler future.”  4At the same time, it became clear to me that shame has to come from within, that it must have everything to do with the Self  in relation to the Other. I unearthed — and I arrived with my past: my first significant engagement with shame came after an experience of  sexual violence. I try applying my framework of  shame, of  survivor-shame, not to enlarge my own innocence, but to better understand the lived experience of  settler-shame. After all — shame, in any form, is deeply unsettling. ◊ I start with who I am. I trace back and think about how I developed a space where I could open up room to love. Roxane Gay says, “There will always be a finger on the trigger. No matter how hard we try, there’s no way to step out of  the line of  fire.”   5It’s small things that remind me. The hungry look in a man’s eyes staring at my necklace, moving downwards. I feel sick. ◊  Friedrich Nietzsche. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Trans. Graham Parkes. Oxford World Classics: 2005. P. 752 Franz Fanon, The Wretched of  The Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. Grove Press: 1963. P. 1583 Tuck and Yang, Ibid. P. 3. Italics added for emphasis.4 Roxane Gay. Bad Feminist. “The Illusion of  Safety/The Safety of  Illusion.” Harper Perennial: 2014. P. 153.5 6 In Witnessing: Beyond Recognition, Kelly Oliver writes: “shame comes from becoming an object.”  Both survivor-shame and settler-shame have the capacity to render the person 6feeling shame into an object. I understand the process of  settler-shame as one wherein settlers are able to understand and see themselves as objects in the destructive project of  colonialism. There is a moment of  critical shifting: a realization that one is an object of  instrument in violence. There is a recognition, then, that to feel shame is to also have the power to define a subject vs. an object. These moments cannot be opted out of; this is the power of  shame.  The shame I have experienced as a survivor of  sexual assault is the kind of  shame that swallows you whole: “it gets better until it doesn’t.”   7After making the connection between my shame as a violated woman and my shame as a settler, the work of  Lisa Guenther exposed to me to another white woman who had drawn a similar parallel between shame as woman and shame as colonizer: Simone de Beauvoir.  In The Second Sex, de Beauvoir shares the stories of  various women feeling ashamed of  their body for the first time. One woman portrays the moment like this: “I will never forget the shock I suddenly felt in seeing myself  seen.”  8Through reading Guenther’s “Shame and the Temporality of  Social Life,” I begin to see The Second Sex as a meditation on how becoming a woman is “an extended lesson in shame” and Simone de Beauvoir’s life as a step towards acknowledging her role as “a machinery of  colonial violence.”  Where survivor-shame weighs one down, settler-shame holds up a 9mirror to show one’s complicity in oppressing, in holding others down. ◊ Until I was fifteen, I still felt like I could be safe. Now I run into my fucking house. ◊ A man asks if  she’s been sexually assaulted: is that why you talk about it like that?  I am enraged: “Why do you feel like you have the right to know something like that? You wouldn’t ask, ‘Have you had to swallow your anger? Your fear? Your discomfort when you’ve been in danger or belittled? Those are the questions you should be asking.”  Kelly Oliver. Witnessing: Beyond Recognition. University of  Minnesota Press: 2001. P. 98.6 Gay, Ibid. P. 148.7 Simone de Beauvoir. The Second Sex. Alfred A. Knopf: 2009. P. 321.8 Lisa Guenther. “Shame and the temporality of  social life.” Continental Philosophy Review. Vol. 44. No. 1: 2011. 9P. 33. 7 I don’t get to forget the answers. I start again with who I am. I trace back and think of  how I confronted the anxiety and fear that it will happen again to me, but still found room to love in my rage. ◊ It is shame that, for so long, prevented me from disclosing that I had been sexually assaulted to my family. It is shame that makes me hesitant. It is shame that keeps me quiet. Paulette Regan might refer to this as a learning process that entails working through “our own discomfort and vulnerability, opening ourselves to the kind of  experiential learning that engages our whole being.”  I lit the pathway towards settler-shame through the 10consideration and incorporation of  a shame I was already familiar with.  I am learning to speak about ruşine as a colonist. Learning to apply my mother-tongue to settler-colonialism.   Paulette Regan. Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling and Reconciliation in Canada. 10University of  British Columbia Press: 2010. P. 237. 8  Lillooet Lake Remember: “Shame would not be possible if  others did not matter to us; and because others matter, oppression is not the last word on shame but only one of  its ambivalent possibilities.”  11 I understand shame as a pathway for re-thinking relationships and as a political emotion that exists in the 11realm of  both possibility and of  futurity. In including the above quote by Guenther I mean to suggest that, when it comes to shame, the oppressor is aware the mirror can be turned around, and that shame concerning one’s role in active oppressing does not signify an end-point. I also mean to draw on the work of  Juliane Okot Bitek, where she writes, “we must move on… As if,” in “A Chronology of  Compassion, or Towards an Imperfect Future.” The International Journal of  Transitional Justice. Vol. 6, 2012. P. 403, italics added for emphasis. There is always ambivalence to shame because how we interpret our shame depends on who we are. The quote included above can be found in Guenther. “Shame and the temporality of  social life,” Ibid. P. 38. 9 Shame as generative In Colonialism and Neocolonialism, Jean-Paul Sartre encourages his readers to read Frantz Fanon, referring to Marx’s notion regarding shame as “a revolutionary sentiment.”  In an 12earlier section, he states that colonialism is “our [the colonizer’s] shame.”  13In the context of  settler-colonialism, shame is useful when it falls onto the settler. I understand shame as an emotion very different from guilt. Since so many settlers claim ‘innocence’ on account of  not having ‘directly’ colonized the land or ‘taken part’ in the Indian residential school system, drawing a clear distinction between shame and guilt is necessary (especially since they are sometimes used interchangeably in the everyday).  On the one hand, guilt evokes a colonial judicial setting where one is pronounced guilty or not guilty. While one can be pronounced guilty for committing a crime, one cannot be pronounced shameful. It is useful to refer to a contemporary and collective application of  guilt in order to demonstrate this. For instance, many Germans today do not see the relationship between Nazism and current-day racism against immigrants, migrant workers, and refugees. In this sense, collective guilt can do great harm to a society by freezing wrongdoing into the past. On the other hand, I understand shame as something that cannot be enforced upon someone but something that has to come from within. Sara Ahmed addresses the aspect of  embodiment which is so critical to shame when she says shame can be “an intense and painful sensation that is bound up with how the self  feels about itself, a self-feeling that is felt by and on the body.”  Shame is self-reflexive. Shame is about the self  in that it involves 14looking inwards and feeling deeply pained and uncomfortable with oneself  in the face of another. This, to me, speaks to the potential of  shame as a generative force. Shame includes the ‘Other’ and gives the ‘Other’ the authority to judge one’s actions and, in this sense, can be regarded as a collaborative approach to ‘reconciliation.’   Jean-Paul Sartre. Colonialism and Neocolonialism. Trans. Steve Brewer, Azzedine Haddour, and Terry 12McWilliams. Routledge: 2001. P. 78.Ibid. P. 19.13 Sara Ahmed. The Cultural Politics of  Emotion. Edinburgh University Press: 2014. P. 103.14 10 Standing on the rock. “Shame as an emotion requires a witness: even if  a subject feels shame when she or he is alone, it is the imagined view of  the other that is taken on by a subject in relation to herself  or himself.”  15 Sara Ahmed. The Cultural Politics of  Emotion. Ibid. P. 105.15 11 YVR — Before landing. De: Glen Coulthard <gscoulthard@gmail.com>  à: Stefana Fratila <stefana.fratila@gmail.com>  Date: 18 décembre 2014 à 13:57 Objet: Re: Hello! I think memory is a great angle to approach settler shame from, however, I think it's fit with the Indigenous land-connected-ness is less clear, which comes not only from memory but embodied practice. It's normative force derives from it being a practical ethics - or perhaps a living memory of alternate life ways/worlds never destroyed but severely compromised by the effects of settler-colonialism.  12 Mirroring resentment “I have spent enough time taking down the master’s house,  and now I want most of  my energy to go into visioning and building our new house.”   16- Leanne Simpson, Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back ◊ Primo Levi describes memory as a gift, as well as a duty.  My most integral evaluation or re-17evaluation of  historical memory came after reading Red Skin, White Masks (RSWM) by Glen Coulthard. Through this work, I began to make the connection between memory (a subject I have more familiarity and experience working with) and settler-shame.  I began to see settler-shame as my responsibility to undertake. While Indigenous peoples continue to work against the deeply rooted and deeply entrenched systems that aim to subjugate them, it becomes necessary for settlers to recognize and respond to the settler-colonial condition. The act is two-fold: on the one hand, settlers must recognize that there has always been resistance against the systems and structures of  colonialism. On the other hand, settlers must respond through an embodiment of  settler-shame. Regarding recognition, settlers must become aware that in Canada we have been systematically taught to forget. The Canadian state has silenced and continues to silence Indigenous voices for the explicit purpose of  making Indigenous persons less relatable and Indigenous bodies less grievable.  However, full responsibility cannot be taken by the 18Canadian state alone because this would cast settlers into innocence — and to employ the language of  bell hooks — spaces of  resistance have taken form along the “margins” of  society.  In the words of  Leanne Simpson, “Women have always been resisting and re-19building” and this work has gone “outside” of  “the bounds of  the Indian Act” and organizations visible to the general (settler) public eye.  These margins have sometimes 20gone unnoticed and, at other times, been willfully ignored by settlers / settler viewership.  Leanne Simpson. Dancing on Our Turtle’s Backs. Arbeiter Ring Publishing: 2001. P. 32.16 Primo Levi. The Voice of  Memory: Interviews, 1961- 1987. Edit. Marco Belpoliti and Robert Gordon. The New 17Press: 2001. P. 145. See: Judith Butler and George Yancy. “What’s Wrong With ‘All Lives Matter’?” The New York Times. 18Published 12 January 2015. Accessed 12 December 2015:  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/12/whats-wrong-with-all-lives-matter/ bell hooks. “Choosing the Margin as a Space of  Radical Openness.” Yearnings: Race, Gender and Cultural 19Politics. 1989. Accessed 12 December 2015:  https://sachafrey.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/choosing-the-margin-as-a-space-of-radical-openness-ss-3301.pdf   Leanne Simpson. “Queering Resurgence: Taking on Heteropatriarchy in Indigenous Nation Building.” 20Published 1 June 2012. Accessed 12 December 2015:  http://leannesimpson.ca/queering-resurgence-taking-on-heteropatriarchy-in-indigenous-nation-building  13 Regarding an embodiment of  settler shame, the duty to bear witness to the memories of  this resistance must be carried out by settlers. On the other hand, it is necessary for Indigenous scholars to be given more space to do, to lead and to decolonize on their own terms — rather than on the terms of  settlers.  In a review of  RSWM, Kam’ayaam/Chachim’multhnii (Cliff  Atleo, Jr.) notes that Coulthard demonstrates that “Decolonization is messy, disruptive, and necessarily uncomfortable for everyone.”  Coulthard proposes resentment as one aspect of  this discomfort: “Indigenous 21peoples’ anger and resentment can indicate a sign of  moral protest and political outrage that we ought to at least take seriously, if  not embrace as a sign of  our critical consciousness.”  22A form of  embracing, as I see it, is to mirror Indigenous resentment with settler-shame. To be clear: I do not use the term ‘mirror’ to suggest a subconscious imitation, but rather a conscious undertaking, an emotion that mirrors the potential and the desire for decolonization. This response is valid and serves to break down colonialism. Both of  the emotions (resentment and shame) are warranted and necessary for a ‘future’ that is not on the settler’s terms.  Kam’ayaam/Chachim’multhnii (Cliff  Atleo, Jr.). “Red skin, white masks: A review.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, 21Education & Society. Vol. 3, No. 2: 2014. P. 190. Glen Coulthard. Red Skin White Masks. University of  Minnesota Press: 2014. P. 23, 126.22 14 enacting poetics of  space “Being does not see itself. Perhaps it listens to itself.”  23 Gaston Bachelard. Poetics of  Space. Beacon Press: 1994. P. 215.23 15 Sound as generative Art is one conduit I feel able to express settler-shame as well as bear witness to/through. When the artist takes the responsibility of  pushing boundaries, the toxic intersection between art and capitalism is taken apart. However, I struggled (and still struggle) with co-opting decolonization. I am weary of  defining what a future ‘ought’ to look like. I am uncomfortable reducing settler-shame to metaphor — something which is easily done if  committing the great error of  defining the story of  how it was, how it is, and how it will be.  In other words, I do not want to take on something that is not mine to take on. 24However, the responsibility of  settler-shame is mine to take on. Or, at the very least, I believe all settlers must open the door to settler-shame in order to behave differently and allow Indigenous peoples to dictate the terms of  our behaviour. Rachel Flowers makes a critical point in addressing the risk of  allyship in “Refusal to forgive: Indigenous women’s love and rage,” when she says, “what affords settlers privilege is the ability to implicitly set the terms of  what a shared future is, without realizing they are asymmetrically dictating the terms of  this discussion.”  In order for me (and other settlers) to show solidarity in a 25willingness to un-do the harm of  our roles as settlers, we must inhabit spaces of  resistance without setting the terms. Flowers reminds us that “solidarity means de-centering ourselves, in order to engage productively in the unknown and ‘in-between’ spaces of  resistance, and confronting the impulse to claim to know or have authority over a struggle.”  26  In working with sound, I feel that I am casting myself  into a peripheral role of  ‘producer’ of  sound and ‘performer’ of  settler-shame, instead of  a central role of  leadership (which I strongly believe is a role that I do not have any right to).  In performing, I believe my role is 27secondary — but useful for the wider project of  decolonization. While I am taking the spotlight in a literal sense, I do not feel that I am dictating what a future ought to look like through my performances. Based on conversations with my audience members, it seems that putting myself  into a position of  performance where other settlers see me embodying shame on stage can be powerful because it forces the audience to reflect back on themselves in a public space. This, I believe, is meaningful because it problematizes a space that is seen by settlers as neutral, or apolitical, into one that is contentious.  Sound alters memory. In enacting settler-shame, public space is altered into one wherein settlers feel like trespassers. I would qualify this as the kind of  interruption that unsettles  A reference to Hannah Arendt, when she says: “storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error 24of  defining it” in Men in Dark Times. “Isak Dinesen: 1885 – 1963.” Mariner Books: 2001.  Rachel Flowers. “Refusal to forgive: Indigenous women’s love and rage.” Decolonization: Indigenity, Education 25& Society. Vol. 4. No. 2. P. 35. Flowers, Ibid.26 In the music industry, the role of  the ‘producer’ is conventionally understood as a peripheral one. This is 27because production largely happens ‘behind-the-scenes’ and is, therefore, not in the public eye. The producer receives far less public acknowledgement and the ‘star’ remains the artist. In my case, I envisioned Tagaq as the star because she interrupts the colonial project of  Harper and I merely serve to place them in conversation with one another. 16 innocence and recognizes incommensurability, which Tuck and Yang encourage.  The 28section that follows will describe the framework of  my performance, sound, and work itself.  This is in reference to the same article cited on page 6, an article which hugely impacted the direction of  28this thesis: Tuck and Yang, Ibid. P. 4. 17 Ocean I won’t use the Master’s tools, Bring my own instead.  18 “no history”: a piece in time-stretched witnessing  Context for Creation I performed “no history” at Skylight Gallery on April 10th 2015 in Vancouver, on the occupied, unceded, traditional, and ancestral territories belonging to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. I specifically wanted to disrupt a public space through an act of  witnessing. In the end, I decided that because I am an electronic artist/producer, I would attempt to bear witness through sound. The purpose of  the performance was to bear witness to the ongoing dispossession and violence of  Indigenous peoples and enact settler-shame in a public space. Choice of  Venue I decided to write a piece and then perform it at an underground space/art gallery called Skylight Gallery in Chinatown, Vancouver where I supposed the audience would be willing to engage with the piece, but would not be expecting a piece of  such political weight since the space is largely used for after-hours dance parties that predominantly white people of  socio-economic privilege attend. I have spoken out against the exclusive nature of  these shows, particularly as Skylight is one of  the many trendy venues in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) and Chinatown that do not make efforts to engage with the neighbourhood’s residents. I believe Skylight is a good example of  a space that partakes in the uncomfortable colonization of  the neighbourhood, what has also been called ‘gentrification.’ In other words, I wanted to make a point of  politicizing a space that has often felt purposefully apolitical. On this particular evening, the second-storey gallery was cleared out and rearranged for an earlier show (10:30pm – 1am) of  ambient and experimental music. I was one of  four artists on the bill and each performer’s gear was set up before the show started; the following page displays the show’s poster and the image on page 25 shows the set-up of  the show. Style of  Music The piece begins with a haunting segment of  time-stretched audio and then builds into a more House-influenced and beat-driven piece, held together by live vocal loops and shimmering synth.  Stretching Sound Time-stretching is a method of  splicing up sound into very small segments. The sound is reassembled through a technical process called granulation, where sound is split into very tiny pieces so that the pitch remains the same. In this sense, the speed itself  does not change   19   Show poster The austere appearance of  the poster does not indicate a political act, yet speaks to the minimalist aesthetic so favoured by settlers in the gentrification of  the neighbourhood.  20 since the pitch is kept the same but the reassembling of  sounds gives the listener the illusion that the sound has been stretched. When audio is time-stretched we are, in fact, hearing the very same sounds that were contained in the original audio, yet they sound completely different to our ears. It comes across as if  the audio was literally drawn out to reveal sounds that were (seemingly) inaudible to begin with but that were actually there the entire time. In this way, this manipulation produces a different effect upon the listener than the original sound might have otherwise. I came across this effect while listening to Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony stretched to last twenty-four hours. Listening to Beethoven’s symphony in its time-stretched form impacted me in a completely different way than the original; it had meditative qualities and I felt like I was hearing the piece ‘for the first time.’ Of  course, I had inadvertently heard the music many times before; firstly, because it is so well known but, secondly, because I had intentionally played and practiced “Ode to Joy” many times as a young girl learning piano. Yet, in its time-stretched form it became unrecognizable to me.  In an interview, Leif  Inge (who performs a 24-hour rendition of  Beethoven’s 9th Symphony) stated that time-stretching is more than just stretching sound — that it is stretching music history, adding that though the 9th Symphony is a piece of  music that is already “engrained in our consciousness,” it is made “alien again” and proposes a physical understanding and engagement within the listener.  29I had a similar sentiment in composing my piece, though instead of  stretching music history, I was thinking about how we remember history and how I might apply the technical aspect of  time-stretching towards a political act — I asked myself, how can I stretch a moment of  bearing witness? How can I make my audience bear witness to colonial violence in a physical way —  i.e. through the act of  listening? Stretched Witnessing  My idea in time-stretching an act of  witnessing was to apply the same logic one might apply when time-stretching sound. With my piece “no history,” I am ‘stretching’ on a number of  levels: I am stretching the sound itself, stretching the moment of  listening to the sound, stretching the moment of  bearing witnessing to what the sound is made up of  and, finally, stretching that moment of  reflection that the sounds evokes in the listener. The piece is an exercise in 'time-stretched witnessing' because sounds from a colonial reality are extended so that they are heard more deeply and clearly. As a gesture towards bearing witness to on-going colonial violence in particular, I chose to sample Prime Minister Stephen Harper's 2008 "apology" for the Indian Residential School system, his G20 speech only a year later (where he stated off-script, in candid denial, that Canada has "no history of   Leif  Inge. AV Festival 12: Leif  Inge Interview”. YouTube. Uploaded 8 April 2013. Accessed 12 December 292015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kL7_DFQvLo 21 colonialism").  I set these samples within the piece so Harper’s voice would have to engage, 30or ‘converse’, with time-stretched excerpts of  Tanya Tagaq's "Ancestors" (who is a throat-singer from Ikaluktutiak and one of  approximately 150,000 Indigenous children who attended a residential school in Canada). In a sense, the sounds become more audible in this format; we have more opportunity to consider or question Harper’s words in this sound space than we might just by watching the playback of  Harper’s speeches online. These sounds — of  contested historical memories — are put in conversation with one another within my piece. Tanya Tagaq’s throat singing counter-balances Harper’s apology throughout the first part, her voice is highlighted and circles around the listener, protesting Harper’s erasure of  Indigenous voices. As Harper’s reading of  the apology is presented alongside Tanya Tagaq’s interjecting vocalizations while a sample of  Harper’s later statement (“no history of  colonialism”) eerily protruding from a corner, the listener is meant to feel disturbed. Harper’s contradicting statements are present throughout the piece both in their unaltered sampled forms and also pitched up and pitched down. I was hoping to make the listener deeply uncomfortable and consider the degree of  silencing that is going on at the upmost level of  Canadian government. After the performance, a few audience members made it clear to me that — in this regard — my presentation of  Harper’s empty words succeeded in pushing listeners to contemplate how conversations regarding Canada’s TRC and the Indian Residential School system have played out.  In this sense, the government’s ulterior motives come to surface and the colonial trajectory of  settler-indigenous relations were illuminated. At least, this was the case for some listeners. I hoped that the idea of  this government silencing would feel heavy and uneasy to the listener who, at this point in the performance, is surrounded, by loud sounds that have such deep political implications. I also felt very strongly that it was necessary for Tanya Tagaq’s time-stretched vocals to ultimately dominate the song, in an unquestionable overpowering of  Harper’s impertinent denial and silencing.  Tanya Tagaq’s vocals lead into the second half  of  the song, where the listener is left to contemplate the uncomfortable political implications of  the first section.  Here, I build the atmosphere with a flourishing synth, intensifying beats, samples and looped vocals singing the lyrics (“My whole life has changed” / “Since you came in”), re-interpreted from Ginuwine’s well-known 2001 R&B song “Differences”. I decided to do this because I thought it would be meaningful to re-appropriate lyrics from mainstream pop culture, from within our colonial world, and then apply them a context where we might understand the lyrics differently. The historically problematic manner in which R&B and Hip-Hop music has been re-appropriated, commodified and consumed by white audiences was something I also felt was important to bring into the piece. I made an effort to apply the lyrics of  a genre (which white audiences have historically regarded as common, ordinary, and low-class) to a piece so wrought in pedagogical purpose: “no history” is partially written as a gesture of   Derrick O’Keefe. “Harper in denial at G20: Canada has ‘no history of  colonialism.’” Rabble. Published 28 30September 2009. Accessed 21 December 2015: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/derrick/2009/09/harper-denial-g20-canada-has-no-history-colonialism 22 witnessing, but also performed to disrupt the ‘settler’s night out,’ pushing settler audiences to further educate themselves on their surroundings and interrogate their roles as colonizers. Finally, I hoped that this piece would act as a means of  retracing memory, that the moment of  bearing witness would also be longer, more moving and more meaningful through an experience of  time-stretched sound. In Poetics of  Space, Bachelard states: “If  we multiplied images, taking them in the domains of  lights and sounds, of  heat and cold, we should prepare a slow ontology, but doubtless one that is more certain than the ontology that reposes upon geometrical images.”  I understand 31a slow ontology to be a messy ontology, but one which is involves the self  and our senses towards feelings that reflect back the very sentiment of  being. Bachelard points towards poetry, for ‘inviting’ us into “experiences of  intimacy” and “‘escapades’ of  imagination.”  32This reminded me of  a line in Leanne Simpson’s Islands of  Decolonial Love: “to feel joy, you have to escape.”  33I envisioned “no history” as a performance that would, through the intimate escape of  art, bring us into existence itself. Open the door. Show us (settlers) where we are wrong.  Bachelard, Ibid. P. 215.31 Ibid.32 Leanne Simpson. Islands of  Decolonial Love. Arbeiter Ring Publishing. 2013. P. 59.33 23 skylight There were four performances that evening; in this image, each artist’s set-up/gear is visible. I played my piece in the far left-corner with just four pieces of  equipment: a laptop, an op-1 synth, an audio interface, and a microphone.  24 Creating spaces of  settler shame The necessity to create spaces of  settler shame became apparent to me because of  the TRC. I saw that shame and education needed to encounter one another. Even though on September 25th 2009, Canada’s Prime Minister apologized for Canada’s Indian Residential Schools system, he then stated only a year later that Canada has “no history of  colonialism.”  This is indicative of  a system unable to move beyond a colonial mentality 34that renders Indigenous knowledge and persons invisible. The greatest limitation of  the TRC was that it tried to apply a transitional justice formula upon a society that is not in transition per se — that is to say, the TRC historicized colonial violence as something of  the past — yet, colonial violence is not something of  the past. Coulthard makes a critical point when he says, “Indigenous peoples tend to view their resurgent practices of  cultural self-recognition and empowerment as permanent features of  our decolonial political projects, not transitional ones.”  Canada’s TRC and its education 35models are not transformative and allow for segregation and animosity to continue between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples. In my view, the greatest failure of  the TRC was that it did not decolonize. It, instead, historicized colonialism and further entrenched a misunderstanding between settlers and Indigenous peoples because it did not contextualize. To acknowledge the connection between past colonial violence and ongoing colonial violence leads to a complete dismantling of  the capitalist state system in Canada. It means giving land back. All roads lead back to land when it comes to Indigenous politics in Canada. It is really important for settlers to understand this — and shame, at its most politically emotive, might carry that understanding inwards.   Up until very recently, the Canadian government’s, refused to call for a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).  For many years, this has 36been the kind of  ‘recognition’ the settler-state has given the friends and families of  those who have been taken away from them, despite the fact that there are now over 1200 reported cases of  MMIWG and that pressure from various international organizations, including the United Nations, was mounting.  37 Brian Beaton. “Colonialism Denial by Canada's prime minister ignores First Nation history and current 34reality”. Published 30 September 2009. Accessed 30 March 2015: http://media.knet.ca/node/7336 Coulthard, Ibid. P. 23.35 Max Paris. “Missing and murdered aboriginal women inquiry a must, report says”. CBC News. Published 26 36February 2015. Accessed 30 March 2015: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/missing-and-murdered-aboriginal-women-inquiry-a-must-report-says-1.2973890 Sonya Fatah. “Canada failing to investigate murdered women”. Al-Jazeera News. Published 22 September 372014. Accessed 30 March 2015: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/09/canada-failing-investigate-murdered-women-201492281281161.html 25 Ahmed argues that, “we need to think about what shame does to the bodies whose surfaces burn with the apparent immediacy of  its affect before we can think about what it means for nations and international civil society to give shame an ‘official reality’ in acts of  speech.”  38Furthermore, Simpson writes that gender-based violence “is central to our on-going dispossession, occupation and erasure.” After the TRC, settlers are still not equipped to 39understand this — they are ignorant, they feel removed from the history and they also do not have the tools to put into context their own roles, their own privileges in relation to ongoing colonial violence.  The TRC did not educate or put present colonial violence into context with the past. I am not convinced the TRC could have even accomplished this because, typically, traditional transitional justice formulas have not been applied in the context of  on-going colonialism — therefore, decolonization is not built into transitional justice formulas.   Ahmed. P. 112.38 Leanne Simpson. “Not Murdered and Not Missing”. Nations Rising. Published 5 March 2014. Accessed 30 39March 2015: http://nationsrising.org/not-murdered-and-not-missing/ 26 Galiano Island We learn through intimacy with a subject as concept; the details reveal themselves.  27 Education as redress I titled this project Decolonizing Reconciliation because decolonizing the processes of  reconciliation is exactly what must happen in Canada. We must refuse the politics of  reconciliation as they are. After all, to reconcile is impossible if  settlers are unwilling to admit or unable to understand (having been uneducated or mis-educated to the point of  non-understanding) their roles as colonizers. Settlers must feel ashamed for how they enact and re-enact the role of  a colonizer every day.  Settler-shame in connection with education is the entry point to changing the colonial mentality of  settlers and for empowering Indigenous peoples beyond the harrowing psychological effects, subjugation, and the internalization of  colonialism and its white gaze. I now face the challenge of  envisioning how to apply a shame that must come from within, across an entire system of  settler-colonial institutions and structures which work so hard against settlers feeling shame. The further access-point seems education — namely, arts-based and land-based education. Moving forward, these forms of  education remain for the project to further process.  28 Textbook I found this old Canadian textbook found in Germany at the Georg-Eckert-Institute for International Textbook Research.  29  Hotel room June, 2015: The same piles of  the same books have had me anxious since December. This is taking me too long.  30 Reconciliation that refuses ‘reconciliation’ Transitional justice as well as education initiatives in Canada continue to uphold settlers in a comfortable space or state of  innocence. For my part, I believe decolonizing reconciliation means creating spaces for settler-shame and encouraging settler shame on an individual level as a direct response to settler-colonial violence. This means self-reflexivity on the part of  the colonizer inside and outside of  the classroom and within the public space.  Reconciliation, in the context of  Canada really means a full overhaul, a dismantling of  the state, a reconciliation that refuses ‘reconciliation’ in the way that we have known it thus far — one that, instead, includes: a return of  land, Indigenous sovereignty, centring Indigenous leaders, an end to gendered colonial violence and embodied settler-shame.  31  My room December, 2016: The books are no longer piled and they no longer make me anxious. Here is an image of  the process, as it continues to unfold.  32 Bibliography Ahmed, Sara. The Cultural Politics of  Emotion. Edinburgh University Press: 2014. Arendt, Hannah. Men in Dark Times. “Isak Dinesen: 1885 – 1963.” Mariner Books: 2001. Bachelard, Gaston. Poetics of  Space. Beacon Press: 1994.  Bitek, Juliane Okot. “A Chronology of  Compassion, or Towards an Imperfect Future.” The   International Journal  of  Transitional Justice. Vol. 6, 2012. Butler, Judith and George Yancy. “What’s Wrong With ‘All Lives Matter’?” The New York   Times. Published 12 January 2015. Accessed 12 December 2015:   http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/12/whats-wrong-with-all-lives-  matter/ Coulthard, Glen. Red Skin White Masks. University of  Minnesota Press: 2014. P. 23, 126. de Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex. Alfred A. Knopf: 2009. Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of  The Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. Grove Press: 1963. Fatah, Sonya. “Canada failing to investigate murdered women”. Al-Jazeera News. Published  22 September 2014. Accessed 30 March 2015:   http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/09/canada-failing-investigate-  murdered- women-201492281281161.html Flowers, Rachel. “Refusal to forgive: Indigenous women’s love and rage.” Decolonization:   Indigenity, Education & Society. Vol. 4. No. 2. Gay, Roxane. Bad Feminist. “The Illusion of  Safety/The Safety of  Illusion.” Harper Perennial:  2014. Guenther, Lisa. “Shame and the temporality of  social life.” Continental Philosophy Review. Vol.   44. No. 1: 2011 hooks, bell. “Choosing the Margin as a Space of  Radical Openness.” Yearnings: Race, Gender   and Cultural Politics. 1989. Accessed 12 December 2015:   https://sachafrey.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/choosing-the-margin-as-a-space-of-  radical-openness-ss-3301.pdf  Inge, Leif. AV Festival 12: Leif  Inge Interview”. YouTube. Uploaded 8 April 2013. Accessed  12 December  2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kL7_DFQvLo  33 Kam’ayaam/Chachim’multhnii (Cliff  Atleo, Jr.). “Red skin, white masks: A review.”    Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. Vol. 3, No. 2: 2014. P. 190. Levi, Primo. The Voice of  Memory: Interviews, 1961- 1987. Edit. Marco Belpoliti and Robert   Gordon. The New Press: 2001 Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Trans. Graham Parkes. Oxford World Classics:  2005. O’Keefe, Derrick. “Harper in denial at G20: Canada has ‘no history of  colonialism.’” Rabble.  Published 28 September 2009. Accessed 21 December 2015:  http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/derrick/2009/09/harper-denial-g20-canada-has-no-  history-colonialism Oliver, Kelly. Witnessing: Beyond Recognition. University of  Minnesota Press: 2001 Regan, Paulette. Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling and    Reconciliation in Canada. University of  British Columbia Press: 2010 Sartre, Jean-Paul. Colonialism and Neocolonialism. Trans. Steve Brewer, Azzedine Haddour, and   Terry McWilliams. Routledge: 2001 Simpson, Leanne. Dancing on Our Turtle’s Backs. Arbeiter Ring Publishing: 2001 Simpson, Leanne. Islands of  Decolonial Love. Arbeiter Ring Publishing. 2013. P. 59. Simpson, Leanne. “Not Murdered and Not Missing”. Nations Rising. Published 5 March 2014. Accessed 30 March 2015: http://nationsrising.org/not-murdered-and-not-missing/ Simpson, Leanne. “Queering Resurgence: Taking on Heteropatriarchy in Indigenous Nation  Building.” Published 1 June 2012. Accessed 12 December 2015:   http://leannesimpson.ca/queering-resurgence-taking-on-heteropatriarchy-in-   indigenous-nation-building Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang. “Decolonization is not a metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity,  Education & Society. Vol. 1, No. 1, 2012.  34

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