Kahsenniyo Williams, a spoken word artist from the Mohawk Nation Wolf Clan, was the 2018 Eastern Comma Writer-in-Residence. Every autumn, Eastern Comma, co-presented by Musagetes and rare Charitable Research Reserve, hosts accomplished Indigenous literary writers at North House, a solar-powered, advanced-design living lab set in the natural environment of rare Charitable Research Reserve, situated at the confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers in southern Ontario. Resident writers work on scholarly or literary writing while interacting with the community of people who are present at rare including gardeners, educators, students, artists, botanists, ecologists, geologists, archeologists and historians.
Kahsenniyo began utilizing her poetry as a tool for social change and community engagement in 2008. Her work is centered around Indigenous issues. She aims to educate non-Indigenous people about the struggles, beauty, and realities facing Indigenous people. Her work also attempts to create moments of understanding, connection, and healing for Indigenous People. Kahsenniyo transforms her love for her community and people through her passionate performances. She draws on her lived experience to engage audiences. In 2017, Kahsenniyo performed at Triple Indigenous, the closing reception of Janet Rogers’ residency, alongside Ms. Rogers and Tenille Campbell. Organizers from both Musagetes and rare recognized the need to support and build upon the momentum established during last year’s residency.
The culminating event of Kahsenniyo’s residency was held at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario, where she performed a number of poems composed during the residency:
More information about the Eastern Comma residency program can be found here.