MST Futurism: Decolonizing the City Through a Matriarchal Lens

Posted on Nov 12, 2020 in Projects, Uncategorized

Uplifting and celebrating xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) visions for the future of what is currently known as Vancouver. 

Curated by Sierra Tasi Baker,Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw & xʷməθkʷəy̓əm and Paisley Eva Nahanee, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw.

MST Futurism Website | @MSTfuturism on Instagram

November – December 2020

MST Futurism is a city centred revisioning project giving xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Matriarchs, Afro-Indigneous leadership and youth agency to re-envision the built form. 

“MST people have lived in these lands since Time Immemorial. We have never ceded or surrendered title to our lands, rights to our resources, or authority to make decisions within our territory. Since 1850 (When Vancouver was first annexed) MST voices have been silenced and our villages dismantled. In 1876 we were forced onto reservations and watched as the city was built around us. That was only 170 years ago. Today we are reclaiming agency by re-centering the future of this city in MST values, relations, and visions. ” ~ Sierra Tasi Baker

Panel Discussion

In early December 2020, MST Host Nation thought leaders shared their ideas to re-envision the built form centred in relation to land, waters, and skies. Hosted by curators Sierra Tasi Baker and Paisley Eva Nahanee, this event had over 900 attendees and featured dialogue with Matriarch Chief Janice George, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, Auntie Orene Askew, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, Matriarch Debra Sparrow, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm and Matriarch Angela George, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ.

MST Youth artist visionaries also participated in this discussion: Ocean Hyland, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw &  Xwchíyò:m, Salia Joseph, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw & Snuneymuxw, Cyler Point Sparrow, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, and Sekawnee Baker Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm & Tla’amin and is also xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Kwakwaka’wakw/Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Tɫingit, and Xaayda.

The visioning process continued online as work from the youth visionaries was presented on Instagram catalyzing additional participation and discussion from the public. 

Honouring Afrofuturism

The curatorial team honoured Afrofuturism during their process of imagining futures. Early in the project’s development Historian Krystal Paraboo presented a brief overview of Afro-Futurism providing context and points of departure for future discussions whilst Squamish Nation and Afro-Indigenous leader Orene Askew shared their insights and perspective during the panel conversation. Their futurist work populated the coastal noosphere (general consciousness) with visions rooted in indigenous identity, MST ancestral governance, oral history, indigenous futurism and innovation.


Blue Background with MST Blanket Designs created by Paisley Eva Nahanee, featuring portraits of the four MST Youth Visionaries in the centre: Cyler Point Sparrow (top left), Salia Joseph (top right), Sekawnee Baker (bottom left) and Ocean Hyland (bottom right).

A grid of four slides from the MST Futurism panel presentation created by Sierra Tasi Baker and Paisley Eva Nahanee. Top left features a portrait of Cheif Janice George and Buddy Joseph, top right features murals from Debra Sparrow and the Vancouve Mural Festival’s project Blanketing the City, bottom right features a portrai from the Black Lives Matter protest in Vancouver in the spring of 2020 and a photograph of a downtown Vancouver mural entitled Dreamweaver by Lauren Brevner and James Harry, and bottom right features a portrait of master Weaver and artist Angela George with her Weaving Governance work that is now on display at the Tsleil-Waututh Administration Building.

This project is produced by Sierra Tasi Baker and Paisley Eva Nahanee with support from Other Sights for Artists’ Projects. The panel was co-produced with SFU Public Square. We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council and the Government of British Columbia.