Mila Waseskwan

The land is everything,for Mila. She is a nîhiyaw iskwîw(Cree Woman) born and raised in the sâkawnîhiyaw(Bush Cree) community ofkîto sâkahikan(Calling Lake, Alberta).

Here, learning nîhiyawculture and ways of knowing and fulfilling her responsibilities,she feels truly humbled. She practices traditional skills such as hide tanning, beadwork, quillwork, as well as contemporary art skills, and is also a jingle dress dancer.She is committed to live her life in the forest, to strengthen and live her relationship and love for our mother the earth. She believes that this is the place, which provides all things needed to physically and spiritually live.

Learning to live nîhiyaw isîhcikîwi(cultural ways connected to mother earth),Mila is helping restore the traditional oskâpîwis (helper) society within her community.Learning about and living more according to the lifeways of the ancestors, Mila’s life focuses on intergenerational resilience, healing and resurgence.

IOTA Institute’s Bio Art Series, 2019, Tattoo School Participant depicted: Mila Waseskwan, with partners Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, photo: Chantal Routhier Photography