"Nurturing Netukulimk" exhibition


Nurturing Netukulimk Facebook cover

This exhibition promotes the need to understand and celebrate how everything in life and nature is connected. It features artworks submitted by Indigenous artists and creators across the unceded, ancestral Mi’kmaw territory, most especially those living in local Mi'kmaw communities and those of First Nations and Métis heritage who study or work at St. Francis Xavier University. Collectively, these contributions honour Indigenous people’s strength, resilience, knowledges, and experiences.

Nurturing Netukulimk foregrounds the need to appreciate connections between life and the world around us. As Mi’kmaw Elder and StFX Knowledge Keeper on campus Kerry Prosper explains, paraphrasing 
Oglala Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863–1950),

Interpreted literally, netukulimk is about hunting and gathering…. As people hunt and when they are gathering, we want to do so under the concept, netukulimk…. Whether you’re hunting moose, or you’re looking for berries and you find a patch, you offer tobacco, you give thanks, and you harvest the berries. The core of why you do that – and the core understanding of how you are connected to everything – is, I think, kind of like the biological understanding of the nutrient cycle.

It's a circle, so you can begin anywhere with this circle… a circle never stops. And when we think of creation, it is a circle. There is no beginning. No end. Nothing dies. All it does is change into another form of creation. [Death is creating new life, transforming change into a different form, continuous.][1]

Together, the StFX Indigenous Student Affairs Office and the StFX Art Gallery thank all those who have submitted artworks that affirm and liberate Indigenous knowledges and experiences, and have hopefully helped turn the art gallery into a space of “connectedness and caring” – a place that, as Marie Battiste, writes, “honours the heritage, knowledge, and spirit of every First Nations [person].”[2]

Netukulimk…could be looked upon as a guiding principle as to how we go through life, how we utilize the gifts that the Creator has given us without at any time [causing] a negative reaction [in] our efforts, and always being very mindful that our actions should not and will not compromise the future generations of their abilities to sustain themselves.

Albert Marshall, 2021

The StFX Art Gallery respectfully acknowledges that
the Gallery and St. Francis Xavier University are located on Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral, unceded territory of
the Mi’kmaq People.

[1] “What ‘netukulimk’ means and how it applies to the moderate livelihood fishery: An Interview with Mi’kmaw Elder and Knowledge Keeper Kerry Prosper,” Halifax Examiner, accessed June 1, 2022, https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/environment/what-netukulimk-means-and-how-it-applies-to-the-moderate-livelihood-fishery/

[2] Marie Battiste, Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit (UBC Press, Vancouver: 2019), 67.