Year of Uncertainty Artist-In-Residence Tecumseh Ceaser’s project, Water Connects Us All, is tied to the artist’s journey of learning the languages, culture, and history of his ancestors. Here, Ceaser (Matinecock Turkey clan) shares the power of language to hold vital interconnected teachings between Indigenous communities. A video visualizes the ongoing language reclamation research that he has been participating in with many communities as part of the Algonquian Language Revitalization Project. By animating the spoken and written words for “water” across sister languages in the Algonquian language family, the artist demonstrates the deep connections between them. The work stands to represent the power of collective memory to recover dormant or resting languages. These languages are never truly lost but, like water, can be seen as a shared life source for regeneration and healing.
Ceaser invited Shane Weeks (Shinnecock) to include Mishoon (2021) a video documenting a collective paddle journey and Lydia Ann Wallace-Chavez (Unkechaug/Blood) to showcase her woven wampum necklace, Heart Protector (2019). This comingling of perspectives on the relationship between water and traditional Indigenous lifeways in Sewanhaky (Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn) further embodies the notions of kinship and shared history. The project is also accompanied by a series of public programs that center culture, stewardship, and legacy, as well as ongoing collaborations with QM’s Queens Teens program and YoU Community Partner Guardians of Flushing Bay to explore the ways that one can be an accountable guest or cohabitator on unceded Indigenous land.