Minneapolis, MN – Every summer in the Twin Cities, artists bring to life the Northern Spark art festival, which is free to the public and lasts throughout the night in downtown Minneapolis. One of the opening events at this years festival, called “Smart Wars: Divest or Die”, brought together indigenous youth and artists in a “bedazzling” performance of “funktavism” (fun activism).
“Funktavism (fun activism) is the Smart Wars strategy designed to include all people in the reawakening of indigenous ancestry on planet earth.”
Through performance art, Smart Wars displays a story of a shared indigenous reality where the human family joins forces to protect the water against destructive corporate greed. The performance begins with two sides facing one another in a battle among blue streaming banners which represent the water. After an extensive display of light-saber warfare to the beat of indigenous drumming, the two sides realize their common enemy is the tyrannical corporations, which is represented by a black “oil snake”. The two sides then band together and cut the head off the black snake and begin a round dance together, with the crowd joining in. Through the performance, the artists illustrate the immediate need to protect and share the Earth with all species, and what the artists believe is the path forward toward a harmonious co-existence.
Unicorn Riot interviewed Anishinabe artist Rory Erler Wakemup, who created the vision for Smart Wars. Included in the video, Unicorn Riot also interviewed participating artist Tabashish Anamiki Ogitchida. The performance included dozens more “multigenerational, multiracial and multigendered” contributing artists “inspired to restore indigenous reality to humanity, earth, air and water.”
Written by Andrew Neef & Rachel Weiland