Janine WindolphArtist, Leader, Healer Nora Gardner
met Janine Windolph, a sparkly-eyed Indigenous woman with Iwhen the depth of character and breadth of spirit not always common, I joined mispon: A Celebration of Indigenous Filmmaking
as a member, then as a director. I have the honour of introducing you, the reader, to this young woman who I am now so proud to be acquainted with.
anine, a dedicated media artist, has been a board member of the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative since 2007 as well as a board member of mispon since 2008. She has gracefully taken on her new role as president of mispon since January 2010. As a member of the mispon board, I can say that we appreciate how she moves between leading and listening, learning and laughing.
his year has been one of many remarkable accomplishments for Janine. She recently completed her MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Media Production and Indian Art) as well as the Entrepreneurship Training Program, a pilot project of the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Alongside her family, Janine credits the support of her mentors and supervisors Marion Donnelly, Carmen Robertson, Gerald Saul and Sarah Abbott for her success this year.
attended the premiere screening of Janine’s MFA digital video project entitled More Questions than Ancestors in June. Janine gave each of the guests in attendance the gift of a blanket as is a traditional way of honouring guests, but she took it one step further, and with the genuine spirit of giving, Janine also drew us into her family circle. I giggled, was awestruck, and then felt tears fall as her project containing stories from her mother, uncle, and aunt unfolded on the screen. In the ShuBox Theatre, the people who came to see Janine’s video were enveloped, as if by a blanket, in these stories of separation, longing, and coming together as a family to heal. We all felt the meaning of family to Janine and her devotion to her family. Also in attendance at the screening were her mother, Marian Otter, her Uncle Stan Otter, her Aunt Carla Otter, her sister, Annie Charles, her
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cousins, Dawlton Tomkins and Allan Otter, and her two sons, Dawlari and Corwyn.
hile her family has connections to her grandmother’s reserve around Waswanipi, in Quebec, Janine was born and raised as part of the Charles family in La Ronge, Saskatchewan. She spent most of her teenage years in Saskatoon, but came with her mother to Regina in 1997. Janine believes her mother has set a very good example for her by continuing her education as a teacher and artist. In fact, her uncle has also become well-known as an artist among indigenous communities in Regina and surrounding area. It would appear that Janine has had excellent grounding for many creative endeavours as she works within a collective of family and friends who support each other.
he symbol of a white crow has become of great significance to mispon. Early in Janine’s university studies, her friend Josie Pelly (nee Forest) and her were studying Greek oral history when they heard the story of the white crow who was stricken by the gods to be forever black for bragging. Ominously after hearing the story, Marian and Josie saw a white crow on the university grounds. After sharing this sighting with Janine, Marian began to paint representations of the white crow which have now become part of the shared symbol system of the collective. mispon uses a representation of the white crow for their logo and the symbol continues to grow in meaning and significance as they find stories of the “white crow” in Nehiyawak and other indigenous cultures.
anine appears ready to follow the instincts of an artist wherever they may lead her in life. Janine,
Winter 2011 Splice Magazine 11
Published on Feb 10, 2011