In Memoriam

Tanya Lukin Linklater




Part 1.

in a place where words do not exist

                    no-words          pass          through   my   t r u n k

                                     d i s s o l v e                                    

                                                   s i l e n c e


          five hundred         I call            by tender names

guts caught in their throats – gasping
and grasping, they fall,

            heaped                   into              earth              

            s u p p l e           s i l e n c e


           five hundred nestled within        
                    knife-sharp slate and amiq of sea otter
                                   salt spray and canon ash
                                             relentless swell and musket strike


in no-place,  soundlessness       passes through my           limbs    lips     belly

                                           until tips of fingers, outline of spine    surrender to

                      a parcel     heaped      with five hundred tender shoots          pulled apart       


                edges of               r e f u g e      r o c k                                       

s o a k e d    in      u n s p o k e n – n e s s









Part 2.



               niicugniluku               tangerlluku               



 I hear the sound a long way off

                          s c a t t e r – e d

I can’t say: I know the sound or what it is meant to be

                        at first                                      just the sensation                              gentle


I       reach         with my ear      

                                                          she whispers

                                                she calls



         until I re-call a voice, a language I do not know

heaped on this patch of language-less land       

         until I hear a voice pierce static



  water laps relentless at stones

I sip      -  

               then gulp

                             tongue to salt-ether

                                           nose to damp black earth



                      I hear wings           before a call


       my neckbone extends         -        to see a path above
             as I remember bird silhouette
                  the sound of a voice rains


a thousand wings
                                      five hundred birds                           

above jagged moss-encapsulated slate rock

        sets                 sets                    sets                       sets                          sets                             

                     sets             sets             sets             sets               sets          s w e l l   

               sets                    sets                      sets             sets            sets            n e c k               

                       sets            bone      sets           sets        sets        sets           sets           r o c k  

                     sets                   sets     sets       sets        sets                       sets         g u t       

         sets      sets         sets              a m i q                  sets       s e t s       s e t s

                 sets              s e t s                      s e t s                     s     e      t      s    



water swells, crushing rock

                                                                                she calls and in this calling,

                                                    she catches the throat

               she hooks the gut, relentless


Tanya Lukin Linklater
Tanya Lukin Linklater

Tanya is a contemporary artist whose practice spans experimental choreography, performance art, writing, and video.

Tanya originates from the Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions in southwestern Alaska. She is Alutiiq and her body-based work often maps non-Alutiiq spaces with her indigenous language, dance, song and memory in highly experimental ways. Based on Nipissing First Nation in northern Ontario, Canada, her choreographic and performance art works have been exhibited in Canada and the U.S.

She has published poetry in Ice Floe, Ode’min Giizis 2010 literary supplement, and in “A Small Gathering for the Healing of Our Aboriginal Languages”curated by Peter Morin at Western Front Gallery. In 2007, her essay, “Avva’s Telling,” on Inuit film was published in an anthology by Isuma. She coordinated, with Marilyn Dumont and Anna Marie Sewell, the Honour Songs Project for the 2007 Edmonton Poetry Festival to honour the contributions of aboriginal women to the City of Edmonton through poetry, performance, and installation.

Tanya received her B.A. (Honors) from Stanford University, where she was awarded the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and Louis Sudler Prize in Creative and Performing Arts. Her training includes experimental movement studies at Mile Zero Dance Company, The Banff Centre for the Arts, and University of Alberta (M.Ed.). In 2010, she received the Chalmers Professional Development Grant for a choreographic mentorship. In 2011, Tanya was nominated for the K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Dance. Her artistic practice has been generously supported by Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.