Click below for in-depth information about each aspect of the exhibit

The frameworks for in search of ourselves, we find each other come from both Cherokee and inter-tribal epistemologies. Some are based on my personal cultural understanding and others are based more broadly on the wider scope of Indigenous research methodologies presented by knowledge keepers in their specific tribal communities. The frameworks flow in and out of the exhibit, with every piece holding some of all. Every aspect of this framework exists in a circle, each being dependent on one another, and should be approached non-linearly. 

Perception is the moment in which we realize there is something different, an awareness of otherness, but is, simultaneously, the realization of sameness, an intrinsic or inherent tie to something or someone. It is a sort of metaphysical beginning understanding of self. Perception is realized through multiple avenues and varies person-to-person. It is influenced by intersections in our ways of knowing and being. In this state of awareness, questions are formed in which we begin to ask ourselves where we come from, where we belong, what we believe, what we value, who we honor, who supports us, what we steward, what we hope for, and what we dream, to name a few.

Perception begins early for many people, especially those coming from decentralized ways of being and knowing. I believe this is true for many reasons, but most certainly due to the perception of otherness. One of my first perceptions of Indigeneity was in sports, specifically basketball. My family would take me to Tahlequah (the Cherokee Nation Capitol) to watch the Sequoyah basketball teams play and I remember being excited to see myself reflected on the court, on that platform, even at a young age. I was able to perceive that sameness because I had previously perceived my otherness in relation to the people I existed alongside outside of that space.

Perception can come in many moments, through many channels. I believe perception of self happens in experiences with other people, present or non-present. When I say present, I mean we can perceive ourselves in relation to another person who is physically alongside us. When I say non-present, I mean that a person is not physically alongside us, but still able to communicate with us, like in a writing, a song, a movie, or even now, in this writing. The person is not with you, physically, but their knowledge, presence, legacy, etc. has helped you become more aware of self.

I see perception as happening both within and beyond the general senses, therefore I see it as something that has the ability to be found beyond cognition, into the supernatural. I say supernatural to create a better understanding for the reader. My understanding of the supernatural is different than some, coming from Cherokee oral traditions, narratives, and stories where life, death, land, people, and animals are all expansive and our belief systems ad values are tied up within them.

Self-location refers to personal perspectives, our relations to people, places, and things, and the experiences with all of them that help us understand them better. It is an adaptable way of thinking about location, that is less geographic and more relational.

In reference to self-location, I refer to the answers of the questions asked at the point of perception. Identifying what we value, what we believe, and who our community is are all important parts of self-location. The answers to the questions do not come to us informed by a singular part of ourselves (i.e. race, culture, class, gender, etc.), but through the intersections of all of these things.

Knowing where our perspective comes from and why is incredibly useful in being able to ground ourselves in relation to others. Growing up and to this day, my father never lets me leave his presence without saying, “remember where you come from.” He isn’t just referencing the place I come from, but also reminding me to remember how I became who I am and who helped me get to this understanding. This idea of knowing where you come from is especially poignant in Mvskoke elder and U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo’s poem, Remember.

Remember the sky that you were born under, know each of the star's stories. Remember the moon, know who she is. Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the strongest point of time. Remember sundown and the giving away to night. Remember your birth, how your mother struggled to give you form and breath. You are evidence of her life, and her mother's, and hers. Remember your father. He is your life, also. Remember the earth whose skin you are: red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth brown earth, we are earth. Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them, listen to them. They are alive poems. Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the origin of this universe. Remember you are all people and all people are you. Remember you are this universe and this universe is you. Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you. Remember language comes from this. Remember the dance language is, that life is. Remember.

Self-location also references the relations we build with others. We are able to see ourselves more clearly when we are in relation with others because we are able to recognize our differences and similarities in perspectives. We are able to find intersections and how we do not. In short, the development of strong relations with others acts as a mirror in which we see parts of ourselves that might have otherwise remained unknown.

We are able to locate ourselves more fully when we identify the land and spaces within which we built our understandings. When I speak of land, I speak with the understanding that it is part of me and I part of it. It is my kin. Just as I would sit and listen quietly to an elder or peer pass down knowledge or stories, I listen to the land. In this process, I am able to identify the places where my knowledge was formed by land and our shared experience. This shared experience that helps locate self can also encompass the shared experience between self, land, people, animals, etc. These experiences help to map oneself, to use your own understanding as a location from which to start moving beyond self.

Community Relations
Within self-location, one begins to think about the relations that are built with others, person-to-person. Within community relations, I am actively grounding myself in the knowledge that comes from experiences and interactions within broader community. The idea of collectivism over individualism is an important aspect of this framework; a responsibility to the whole.

Communities come in many forms, but I like to think of mine in the forms of familial, tribal, and intertribal as it relates to my sense of Indigeneity. 

My familial relationships consist of my blood relatives, my clan, and my ancestors. My tribal community consists of those who participate in the teachings, beliefs, ceremonies, etc. of the Cherokee and Muscogee tribal nations. My intertribal community consists of the broader Indigenous peoples that exist in relationship with me, nationally and internationally. All help me ground myself in Indigenous knowledge.

I would be remisce if I did not include all my relationships with communities that align with other, intersectional parts of my existence. My relationships to communities beyong strictly Indigneous also inform who I am and are part of the collective conversation of how we move forward, together.

Past and Future Honoring
Past and future honoring is the practice of looking backwards and forwards, simultaneously. This is based on the Iroquois teaching, adapted by many tribes, of seven generations, in which we honor seven generations before us and seven generations after us with what we do, presently.

Honoring those who came before can look like implementing traditions, ceremonies, and ways of knowing that were built on ancestral knowledges. Honoring those that come after looks like continuing to build on ancestral knowledge, while also building new traditions in the mindset that you, yourself, will someday be someone’s ancestor. Subversion, intervention, and adaptability are all ways in which we can honor.

Reciprocity is the cyclical nature of giving and receiving. From both a personal and research-driven perspective, Indigenous reciprocity is a state of being and it is not tallied or measured. 

I recognize that in popular culture, giving and receiving is of an equivalent nature. I give you one dollar, you give me one dollar. However, that is not the case for this specific framework. There are things that are immeasurable, but we must still find ways to honor the gift. For example, I repay my grandparents for the cultural knowledge they shared with my father, that in now passed on to me, through memorizing the stories and implementing their knowledge in my own work and practices today so that others might also learn.

Another aspect of reciprocity is honoring those who helped you come to new understandings, supported you, offered you opportunities, etc., by giving credit to their knowledge and relation, as well as offering a similar support to more who may need it.

Below, read more about the work from in search of ourselves, we find each other

It Was Always Us! is a curated group exhibit including over 20 participating artists from Oklahoma and Arkansas. It includes visual artists, performance artists, musicians, chefs, jewelers, and writers. It exists virtually on this website and at Perrodin Supply Co. in Springdale, Arkansas from April 2-16, 2021.
Every participating artist has helped me come to a new understanding of self and has supported me in some way. By being in relation to these artists and/or their work, I have been able to grow. In appreciation for these relationships and the knowledge they have given me, I chose to platform each of their work in a physical and virtual space via this exhibit. 

By creating a place and experience to point to, my hope is to create a new way for others to locate themselves in relation with this exhibit.

Collaborative performance piece
Running Time 5 minutes 24 seconds
Kalyn Fay Barnoski, Hanna Barnoski, Phillip Barnoski, Chris Combs, Kyle Bell

We Find Each Other was filmed at Verdigris Middle School in Verdigris, OK, by Kyle Bell, Mvskoke filmmaker. The sound piece is a collaboration between Kalyn Fay Barnoski and Chris Combs, musician from Tulsa, OK. The performance includes Kalyn Fay Barnoski, Hanna Barnoski, and Phillip Barnoski playing basketball while jerseys displaying different lines of a villanelle are removed and worn until the poem finishes. The villanelle is read aloud while each line is revealed. The piece is about the platforms where we recognize each others spirits, how we see ourselves reflected, where and how we percieve each other. This was especially poignant for me when I played basketball. It’s where I built strong relationships with others through a shared goal, through accomplishments, through loss. The court is where my sister, father, and I would practice for many hours throughout the week. It’s where I learned to strive for and look for Indigenous excellence, both on and off the court. Basketball is an experience and a space I point to when I remember how I came to perceive who I am.

Collaborative photo, sound, text piece 
Running Time Varies
Kalyn Fay Barnoski, Phillip Barnoski

At the Creek, You Live Forever was recorded at Caney Creek, Bathtub Rocks, and on the road between the two in Tahlequah, OK. It is an audio and text archive of stories told by Phillip Barnoski, along with photos and sound by Kalyn Fay Barnoski. The piece is about self-locating using people and places. I learned morality, I learned patience, I learned how to exist in reciprocity with nature thorugh the stories my dad told me when we go to the creek. Both the places and the person were influential in how I understand the world, today.

Digital and physical archive of conversation
Risograph and hot-stamped foil publication, Series of 19. 4.25in x 5.5in
Kalyn Fay Barnoski, Lydia Cheshewalla, KB Huber

NDN Tacos for Dinner is a recorded and transcribed conversation over a dinner of NDN tacos between Lydia Cheshewalla (Osage), KB Huber (Otoe) and Kalyn Fay Barnoski (Cherokee, Muscogee). This piece is about the knowledge you gain when you choose to be in relation with broader community. It is about sharing space with people, sharing time with people, sharing stories, ideas, and laughter with people. It is about the nuance of conversation and creating an archive for people to look back on. We learn by being in relation with one another, we can understand ourselves and our perspectives better by looking back on recorded moments of those who come before us. 

Audio and Video recording of on-site, improvisational music performance
Running Time 7 minutes 48 seconds
Kalyn Fay Barnoski, Matt Magerkurth, Jason Miller

Grandmother/Directions is an improvisational music performance between Kalyn Fay Barnoski and Matt Magerkurth from Fayetteville, AR, recorded by Jason Miller from Springdale, AR. It was recorded onsite in Bunch, OK in the middle of a thunderstorm.

This piece is about honoring the people who came before you and the people who will come after you by what you do, now. I wanted to honor my grandparents for the pathways they built for me to be where I am, making the work that I do. I am appreciative of their sacrifices and knowledge that has been passed down. I wanted to share the space in which they met and built a family so that I could be with them and the land that made us. I wanted to share this moment in time in conversation with the land and my ancestors through the way in which I feel most naturally communicating – through music. I wanted to record this moment so that future generations of Indigenous people can feel validation in subverting the ways in which we communicate our Indigeneity, our traditions. 

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