Shawnelle Sky Blackbird-Riley

Movement Artist

My name is Shawnelle (I also go by Shawn!) and I am a queer Anishinaabe kwe from Munsee-Delaware nation. On my mother's side, we are Lenape and Potawatomi. On my dad's side, we are Ojibway. I grew up on reserve until pursuing an undergraduate degree and now a graduate degree. Movement has become a necessity for my well-being. Grieving is the main source of my inspiration. At a young age, I experienced some major losses in my life and didn’t know how to label this sadness or grief. Those who have passed on inspire me to create and process my emotions through movement, especially running and dance. I think of their spirit that lives on beyond the physical world and try to embody the feeling this leaves me with. This does not only mean I express sadness, it also means I express joy, longing, stability, and chaos. Many other artists inspire me to try different mediums and expand my abilities. Lastly, my grandmother and auntie have been a huge inspiration for making me feel empowered and to live as authentically as I can while leading with empathy and care.