Saskatchewan

Lindsay 'Eekwol' Knight thrilled about 'thriving' indigenous arts in Sask.

Hip-hop artist Lindsay Knight, aka Eekwol, is taking on a new aboriginal arts and community engagement role with the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

Knight is the program consultant for aboriginal arts and community engagement for the Saskatchewan Arts Board

Hip-hop artist Lindsay Knight, aka Eekwol, is taking on a new aboriginal arts and community engagement role with the Saskatchewan Arts Board. (Supplied)

Whether it's holding a microphone, teaching a class, promoting Saskatchewan arts, or just being a mom, Lindsay Knight is never short on work.

Some people might know Knight best as the Indigenous hip-hop artist, Eekwol. She also teaches Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

Now, Knight is stepping into yet another role as the new program consultant for aboriginal arts and community engagement for the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

Hip-hop artist Lindsay Knight, aka Eekwol, at CBC Saskatoon. (Eric Anderson/CBC)

Knight joined CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend host Eric Anderson to talk about her new adventure:

Why did you want to get involved with the Arts Board?

The funny thing is I have been involved with the Arts Board for quite a few years. I sat on the indigenous advisory council. So I've always sort of had my ear to the ground on what was needed and the work that needs to be done.

It's always been sort of on the hub of the indigenous arts and what's happening and what's going in the community. It's always been right there in the front lines, knowing what's going on.

For me to be a part of it is exciting because I get to sort of do what I love to do — helping out in the arts and helping out indigenous peoples.

How would you describe or summarize where indigenous arts are in our province right now?

I would say the indigenous arts are really thriving right now. We have such an expansion of mediums. We look at visuals and multimedia, we have so many young artists coming out of their traditional territories, but also out of their academia. 

It's a really exciting time for the arts because obviously with technology we are able to really showcase on an international scale. So we're seeing that happen.

Why do you think right now is such a great time?

I think just with the changing times. We look at our new government. We look at a lot of indigenous people [who] are going to schools and going to schools further than Saskatchewan and coming back and sharing what they've learned. 

What are you hearing from indigenous artists in Saskatchewan?

I think the key phrase is diversity. I think we really need to look at our indigenous nations and groups within Saskatchewan. We have so many treaty areas. We have so many different language systems and we have different groups.

Saskatchewan is so huge. We have the Dene way up north all the way down to the Dakotas. So there's a lot of diversity.

I think what's happening sometimes is we get sort of maybe Saskatoon-, Regina-centric with things, for obvious reasons. But I think a really important aspect is to look at those northern communities or those more rural communities and really sort of draw out the amazing art that is coming out of them right now.

What is happening in those rural places?

I can speak as a hip-hop artist. I am very familiar with the rap world and how young indigenous people have really taken to rap music and pop music and the hip hop culture.

With technology, we have this capability to record and to share through social media and YouTube of course. So we're seeing a lot more of that happening. A lot more of that connection to social media and the internet and a  lot of young people are using music as a means to communicate identity.

I know you're involved already heavily in the arts scene, but to really dive into it you must be excited.

I am because I find as I am getting older as an artist I love the life, I love being able to perform and I'll continue to do all that, but also as a mother I'm really seeing within my own children how important creativity is. It should be within all aspects of our livelihood.

I've found in the past few years that I've been helping a lot of younger artists through songwriting workshops and that type of thing. But also just young people getting ahold of me over Facebook and saying, 'You did this, how did you do that? What can I do?' And I find myself them through and recommending that they apply for [an] Arts Board grant (laughs). And now I'll be sitting at a desk and doing that.

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