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Indigenous struggles from Palestine to Turtle Island


September 16, 2015

Return Home

Co-created and performed by Dima Alansari, Carlos Rivera, Emillie Monnet
Reviewed by Peter Hogarth

For activists in the state of Canada, two of the most visible, inspiring and powerful movements in the last few years have been the movement against Israeli Apatheid, and the incredible activity of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island known as Idle No More.

Both these movements have challenged the Harper government, and share similarities. In both the occupied territories of Palestine and the occupied territories of Turtle Island, Indigenous peoples have forged powerful movements and mobilized allies in support of decolonization, rights to land, challenged borders and resisted imperialism—inspiring people around the world and invigorating struggles that previously seemed unrelated.

Return Home, a play by the Salish Sea Productions and the Return Home Collective, celebrates the convergence and investigates the divisions in these powerful movements of land and Indigenous peoples. Return Home follows two characters: one is an Anishinaabe woman from Quebec and the other is a Palestinian woman born in Kuwait. Their paths converge in Vancouver and their struggles with love, self, land and history are told through dialogue, dance, movement, music and tableau.

The play takes audiences through the real and the imagined, as the two characters work to understand themselves and each other’s struggles. The power of Return Home lies in the storytelling, which is born from sweat and tears and intensely personal places of pain, healing and discovery. Return Home is a must-see play because it brings the personal to the political and the political to the personal—laying bare the sometimes overlooked psychological and emotional trauma that comes from displacement, colonization and oppression.

As Canada’s foreign policy in the Middle East more and more mimics its colonial policies at home, a play like Return Home is a valuable tool in the struggle. Through the stories and struggles of Indigenous peoples, from occupied Palestine or Occupied Turtle Island, we can learn the local and global importance of decolonization.

Return Home was performed at SummerWorks this month in Toronto, and will be performed September 26 and 27 at IMPACT 15 in Waterloo. For more information visit Return Home

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