Saskatchewan Métis artist Melanie Monique Rose made a return visit to the Humboldt and District Gallery on Thursday evening. She is the curator of ᑌᐸᑯᐦᑊ/Tepakohp/7, an exhibit featuring the work of seven Indigenous women. Rose had previously placed a solo exhibit in the Humboldt and District Gallery, That exhibit is now in Brantford, ON for her first solo venture outside the province.  

Tepakohp (ᑌᐸᑯᐦᑊ) is the Néhiyaw word for seven which has a deep significance for Indigenous communities throughout the world. She outlined the concept of the Seven Generation Principle in which decisions should be made with an eye to the impact on seven generations of ancestors. 

Another precept is the Seven Grandfather Teachings of Love, Respect, Bravery, Truth, Honesty, Humility and Wisdom, the guiding principles to having a good life. 

In a nod to the renowned Canadian Group of Seven artists, Indigenous artists created their own group of seven, six men and one woman, who worked to establish a group to establish Indigenous art creators as a viable force in contemporary art.  

“The Professional Native Artists Incorporated or the Indian Group of Seven were very influential in the early ‘70s,” Rose explained. “Daphne Odjig started a collective in Winnipeg, and she was the lone female Indigenous artist.” 

Out of this came Tepakohp, the seven member women collective and subsequent show.  

“I was really wanting to think about continuing that legacy. These artists (Tepakohp) really took those Seven Sacred Teachings into consideration in their work. Many of these artists are very much inspired by the Indian Group of Seven.” 

Rose said after the showing, she is hoping someone else will take the torch and continue the legacy of giving talented Indigenous women artists and avenue for others to explore their work.  

Much of the work is about reconnecting with individual identity, reassimilating a collective culture in the wake of residential schools, and exposing everyone to the vibrant and vital connection to the land and nature reflected in the work.  

In addition to Melanie Monique Rose, artists in the exhibition include Marcy Friesen, Stacy Fayant, Brandy Jones, Larissa Kitchemonia, Donna the Strange, and Audie Murray. 

Following the talk, Melanie and a group of local artists headed to the Gathering Place for a workshop on creating scarves using botanicals, a favoured element is her work.  Thank you to Darlene Ford for the workshop images. 

ᑌᐸᑯᐦᑊ/Tepakohp/7 will be on display until Saturday, June 22.