Monique Mojica: reclaiming Indigenous history and culture through theatre

In this interview Monique Mojica (Guna and Rappahannock nations), tells her stories of being an Indigenous playwright, performer and theatre creator in Toronto.

Monique was the second artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts and was responsible for bringing experienced theatre artists to engage emerging Indigenous artists in a process of finding their own stories outside of a Eurocentric frame.

Monique speaks about a number of theatre projects she has been part of and her interest in changing the form and style of Indigenous theatre instead of just dropping indigenous content into a standard Eurocentric form. For her, Indigenous theatre is about “generating stories from the land through her body.” Monique is dedicated to theatre practice as an act of healing, of reclaiming historical and cultural memory and as an act of resistance.

She talks about the development of her play Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots, created and produced in 1990 with support from Nightwood Theatre, directed by her aunt Muriel Miguel and published in 1991 by Women’s Press. The play reclaims and reinterprets the gendered and colonial narratives that have been told about Pocahontas. Mojica uses a storytelling technique developed by Gloria and Muriel Miguel and Lisa Mayo (her mother and her aunts) of Spiderwoman Theater in New York, where the story is told many times in many ways with sound, movement, gesture and word.

Despite the significant leadership and artistic roles she has played in challenging gendered and colonial stories about Indigenous women, she explains why she has never found a home in feminism.

With Monique Mojica.

Interviewed by Amy Gottlieb

Thank you…

This project has been made possible in part by Library and Archives Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program.