Tannis Nielsen – Idle No More

Tannis Nielsen – Currently living in Kelowna and teachs at UBC-O.

As an Indigenous artist/academic, I have fifteen years of experience in the arts, cultural and community sectors and eight years teaching practice at the post secondary level. My arts/academic practice embodies a fourth world, First voice, ecologically based consciousness.

Areas of academic interest include; anti-colonial theory, decolonization methodologies, Indigenous governance, natural law, self determination, Indigenous feminism, Indigenous pedagogies, and social/environmental justice. Areas of visual arts/studio expertise include the genres of; sculptural installation, video art / new media installation, drawing, painting and performance.

My thesis titled “Not forgotten!” employed a critical means of inquiry into the subjugation of Indigenous knowledge and deconstructed certain Eurocentric theories that have served as attempted justifications for the imperial domination over the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. “Not forgotten” articulated an Indigenous form of resistance. against a particular strategy of “cognitive imperialism” My thesis deconstructed/decolonized the structures of an English literacy, by applying an anti-colonial “first-voice” Indigenous perspective; which was further emphasized through my repudiating the need to employ punctuation and capitalization. I chose sovereignty in writing, with the recognition that “language carries culture and the language of the colonizer became the means by which the mental universe of the colonized was dominated.” (Ngugi wa Thiong’o) My thesis contributed toward the fields of anti-colonial theory and decolonization methodologies, by exposing the mechanisms that enforced the subjugation of Indigenous Peoples/ ideologies /territories and by illustrating the negative effect of colonial trauma, on culture, land/language, familial relationships and memory.


UBC-O Summer Indigenous Visual Arts Intensive

A Pedagogy of Place – the Principle Element of Indigenous Art, July 20 – July 31, 2015

The Program

Open to all students interested in visual arts and Indigenous worldview. The focus of this course is on the interconnectedness of Indigenous art in relation to land/place. Over the duration of this ten day intensive students will explore this concept through their engagement in an Indigenous pedagogical practice that utilizes the traditional teaching modalities of visual arts, performance, and oral storytelling.

Class discussion is structured around a variety of formats including visiting artist/scholar presentations, as well as the  teachings/oral histories shared by Okanagan Elders and other local cultural educators. Class activities will take place both inside and outside of the classroom, as there is a need to engage with the land in learning. 

Precedence of Place has been given towards the recognition of our current location upon syilx territory by ensuring that number of our invited speakers and artists are members of the Okanagan Nation. 

*Please check this website for regular updates on confirmed invitees* 

Topics covered

  • the interconnectedness of Indigenous art  in relation to land/place

  • how the natural laws of particular ecosystem(s) work to inform the governance structures of Nations.

  • how these natural laws/governance systems are also embedded within an Indigenous pedagogy

  • how these laws, protocols, cultural ethics, equip students in an Indigenous research methodology

  • The concept of Place in relation to; ideology, memory, history, identity, the academy, digital media, virtual reality, Fourth World Theory and the social, cultural, political and ecological geographies of (both local and national) Indigenous territories. 

  • Indigenous art histories as decolonization methodology

  • on creating art, from your own subjectivity

To join or inquire please check out the direct link HERE.