2021 Virtual Nlaka'pamux Tattoo Gathering

What a crazy year it has been, I was just returning from New Zealand and Hawaii around this time last year, and then we went into total lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am heading into the second year of my Canada Council for the Arts grant entitled Taking Nlaka’pamux Tattooing to the World and have been spending an insane amount of time on the creation of my visual dictionary. I have close to 1000 designs documented from anthropological reports, books, museum collections and rock art sites.

I am excited to host the second Virtual Nlaka’pamux Tattooing gathering on May 8, 2021 01:00 PM Pacific Time.

This is a second virtual event in place of an originally planned in person Nlaka’pamux Community Tattooing event for the summer of 2020, which was postponed to this summer. However due to health and safety concerns associated with COVID19 the community organizers and I decided to postpone the event.

This second Virtual Nlaka’pamux Tattoo Gathering, being is being presented via Zoom conferencing.

The meeting link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82795757335?pwd=NFdTVzNaa0g3cGZmVk5kNVh0R3dpUT09

If the above link does not work, head to the bottom of the page for full meeting information.

This virtual gathering will include a collection of cultural tattoo practitioners and wearers of ancestral markings to discuss the topic of healing through the application of ancestral tattoos.

If you missed the first one it can be found on my YouTube channel here:


The confirmed presenters for this years symposium are:

Mel Lefebvre @theoriginalmel is a Two-Spirit Metis/Cree/French/Irish traditional tattoo practitioner based in montreal. Their practice is focused on traditional tattooing as a mode of healing and reconnection for urban Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ and Indigenous women as well as uncovering and (re)claiming traditional gender-fluid tattoos in contemporary and future contexts. Mel is a parent, community worker, PhD student at Concordia University, artist and writer who works closely with the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal advocating for Indigenous safety, culturally appropriate health care, and child welfare reform in Quebec.

Geo Neptune @niskapisuwin (they/them) is a two-spirit member from the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, Maine. A Master Basketmaker, drag queen, activist, educator, and interdisciplinary artist, Geo has recently begun contributing to the revitalization of ancestral Wabanaki markings. Geo has worked not only within Wabanaki communities towards cultural preservation, but state wide within Maine schools to provide content for the state’s Indigenous History educational mandate, and Geo’s activism has enabled them to travel the world to share about the contemporary issues faced by indigenous peoples. Geo’s work narrates the journey toward embracing the sacred role of the two-spirit: a keeper of tradition, and teacher of Passamaquoddy and other Wabanaki youth.

Sheri Osden Nault @so_nault is a visual artist, social activist, DIY enthusiast, and occasional writer. They are Nehiyaw and Red River Michif of the Charette and Belanger families, with Saulteax and Assiniboine ancestry. Personal and political, their art practice is grounded in Indigenous, queer, and feminist world views. Seeking social and ecological responsibility and kinship, they explore intimacy and permeability between human and non-human bodies. Their practice includes sculpture, community projects, performance, Indigenous tattoo revival, zines, and more.

Each presenter will speak for 15-20 minutes, at the conclusion of the presentation some of my Interior Tattoo training students will be acting as official responders. As official responders they will be offering questions or impressions from the presenter for 5-10 minutes.

The official responders include:

Kayla Rudderham is a Mi’kmaq and white-settler artist, researcher, and curator from Unama’kik (Cape Breton, NS). Their current work explores themes of reclamation and Indigenization, as well as the relationships between humans and their natural environment. Kayla has an interest in fostering engagement between the public and museum collections, as well as the preservation of cultural practices and historical community objects. Since graduating from NSCAD University with B.FA in 2014, and from MSVU with a B.Ed in 2016, she has worked at the Museum of Natural History in Halifax, NS. Kayla is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Art Education in Museum and Curatorial Studies from NSCAD University.

Piper Doak is an artist and musician based in Halifax, Nova Scotia who is currently working on a BA in Art History at NSCAD University. Piper’s work, which is primarily printmaking and painting, has been shown at the Anna Leonowens Gallery, Argyle Fine Art Gallery, and the Art Zone Gallery. As well as being an artist, Piper is an accordionist and pianist, and has performed as an accordion player alongside Symphony Nova Scotia members in the Halifax Theatre for Young People’s production of the opera “Brundibar” in 2019, and has performed at festivals such as Boxwood Festivals in Lunenburg, and Re-Jigged Festival in Dartmouth.

Holly Aubichon is an emerging artist, working with two-dimensional mediums. She identifies as Metis with her lineage from Green Lake and Lestock SK, and mixed European ancestry. Aubichon’s practice is laboriously reliant on retracing familial memories and connections. She uses painting as a way to foster personal healing. As an extension of her practice, she has begun researching ways that tattooing can also assist in healing traumas and processing grief. Aubichon graduated from the University of Regina in the Spring of 2021, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and minor in Indigenous Art History.

I am excited to present this virtual tattoo gathering with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the IOTA Institute.

I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts

Proud IOTA Institute Researcher

Topic: Virtual Nlaka'pamux Tattoo Gathering 2021