Join us for a conversation between Year of Uncertainty Artist-In-Residence Tecumseh Ceaser and artist Shane Weeks on the importance of reclaiming Indigenous ceremonies and our relationships with our local waterways. This event is presented in conjunction with Ceaser’s exhibition Water Connects Us All, which is now on view at Queens Museum with video contributions from both artists on the relationship between water and traditional Indigenous lifeways, notions of kinship, and shared history.
This event will focus on discussing Shane Weeks’ work on the preservation of Shinnecock culture and connection to the natural world. Over the last several years, Weeks has continued to play a vital role in performing traditional ceremonies for stranded whales and other marine life throughout the Queens and Long Island region. Before the deceased animal is removed from the beach, Weeks is called upon by organizations like the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society to conduct a blessing and offering, which honors the spirit of the animal and gives thanks for its creation. Whales hold a deep cultural significance to the Shinnecock Nation as well as other Indigenous communities in the region. The whale, or podtap in Shinecock, historically served as a staple food source and beached whales would be sustainably harvested by large whaling canoes that could hold nearly 100 people. The connection to this tradition continues to be acknowledged in Weeks’ work.
Shane Weeks is a member of the Shinnecock Nation of Southampton, New York. Shane’s traditional name is “Bizhiki Nibauit”, which means Standing Buffalo. He is also from the Buffalo Clan. Shane is dedicated to his community and represents his people in a number of capacities. As a traditional singer and dancer, cultural consultant, artist and a member of several boards and committees, Shane’s mission is to bridge the gap between his community of Shinnecock, the local community, and communities abroad. As a multi-disciplinary artist, Shane has been able to express his culture and knowledge to communities world-wide. He has worked with materials such as leather, wood, stone, bone and other natural materials. He is a master wampum maker, creating beads and other objects from the quahog clam shells. Shane also works in the mediums of social practice, traditional dance, traditional music, film, and photography.
Tecumseh Ceaser is an Indigenous artist and cultural consultant. He is Matinecock Turkey clan, with kinship ties to the Montaukett, Shinnecock, and Unkechaug nations. Born and raised in Queens, NY, the homeland of the Matinecock, he works in the traditional medium and practice of Wampum (quahog shell) carving. He frequently collaborates with organizations to bring cultural programming to local tribes and their communities. He currently serves as an advisor for the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus at the United Nations, where he advocates for Indigenous Americans’ rights to member states, NGOs, and other indigenous nations. He is currently in residence at Flushing Town Hall.
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