Aabijijiwan / Ukeyat yanalleh

Aabijijiwan / Ukeyat yanalleh

The Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) and All My Relations Arts are pleased to present Aabijijiwan / Ukeyat yanalleh, a collaborative exhibition reflecting on the Misi-zibi (Big River, Ojibwe) by artists Karen Goulet and Monique Verdin.

Aabijijiwan, (Ojibwe) and Ukeyat yanalleh, (Houma) translates in English to “the water flows.” Karen and Monique have created multimedia artworks inspired by their research, past residencies and cross-cultural conversations about how the Big River or Misi-ziibi Headwaters and Delta Mississippi have been in conversation with each other for thousands of years. This exhibition is a moving contemplation about our place near the water and under the stars.

Karen Goulet (Ojibwe) and Monique Verdin (Houma) are sisters of the same river, connected by the planetary lifeforce known as the Misi-ziibi near the headwaters in the north and remembered as Misha sipokni (Older than Time, Chata) in the coastal territories of the southern Delta, where the bayous of Turtle Island meet the sea.

The Misi-ziibi Misha siponi introduced Karen and Monique and encouraged their relationship to be immersed in the sacred systems of the watershed and the magic of the riparian zones. Aabijijiwan Ukeyat yanalleh reflects their journeys together, up, and down river; illuminating diversities, connecting personal memories and curiosities, seasonal rituals and witnessing to the times of change recognized in the layers of Indigenous and colonial histories bound to the watershed they share.

“Our relationship as river sisters keeps us tied at the heart as we each live deeply engaged in our homelands. The Misi-ziibi connects and separates us, which is an interesting paradigm that we navigate continuously. We are part of a complex river culture where our personal perspectives and ancestral connections have a home. This exhibition reflects our shared love and gratitude for the Misi-ziibi Misha siponi. Our continuing journey was seeded in 2019 by the Big River Continuum. Through multimedia collaborations and explorations that mirror realizations, conversations, and contemplations found during our time together we continue 

to share stories of women and individuals from our lives and from our territories. It is an offering of love for our Misi-ziibi and the land and waters we call home.” - Karen Goulet and Monique Verdin. 

Many thanks to the Big River Continuum, an exchange between the headwaters and the delta supported by the University of Minnesota Itasca Biological Field Station, the Watermark Art Center, the Weisman Art Museum and Tulane University’s A Studio in the Woods.

About the Artists: 

Karen E. Goulet is a White Earth Ojibwe Band member and is also from Metis, and Finnish people. She is a practicing artist, poet, educator and community sculptor. She is the Miikanan Gallery Program Director at  Watermark Art Center in Bemidji, Minnesota.  Karen received her BA from The Evergreen State College, MFA in Sculpture from The University of Wisconsin – Madison, and MEd from University of Minnesota Duluth. She is a recent recipient of Minnesota State Arts Board Grants, Waterers Fellowship, and Region 2 Arts Council Anishinaabe Arts Fellowship. She was a pilot artist for the Big River Continuum Project. Her work centers around community, environment, and perpetuating culture. Her life path has always been a creative path and she has dedicated her professional and personal life to making, sharing, and encouraging artistic practice.

Monique Verdin is a transdisciplinary storyteller, citizen of the Houma Nation and director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange, responding to the complex interconnectedness of environment, economics, culture, climate, and change in the Gulf South. Monique is currently working to support the Okla Hina Ikhish Holo, a network of Indigenous southeastern gardeners, to grow food and medicine sovereignty in the lower Mississippi River Delta and is a Bvlbancha Liberation Radio collaborator. Monique is co-producer/subject of the documentary My Louisiana Love and co-author of Return to Yakni Chitto : Houma Migrations.

All My Relations Arts (AMRA) operates the All My Relations Gallery, Minnesota’s premier American Indian owned and operated contemporary fine arts gallery. Located on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis, the gallery resides within the heart of the American Indian Cultural Corridor. AMRA presents four fine art exhibits throughout the year, as well as hosting tours, presentations, and programs. 

The focus of AMRA is to provide the people of the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, and beyond consistently high-quality exposure to Native American fine arts. As an initiative of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), All My Relations Arts serves a very distinct role in NACDI’s community development work, providing the public with education about American Indian history, culture, and contemporary experiences through the arts.

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