you taught me how to be still

how to be patient

to wait for you to engulf me

and to trust that when you slid away, you would always come back

you taught me how to laugh and run and play

you taught me to appreciate how your rhythm and my rhythm could match up and move together

how the heat of your shores could be soothed by your waters

how all things exist in balance

you showed me pieces of myself that I couldn’t see before

pieces that belong to the past —

to those who came before me that held a special connection to you

your shores are home they will always be home

and no matter how far I go, I will always return to you


Shelby Lisk is an emerging artist from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation. In her artwork she explores her socially constructed identity by investigating gender roles, relationship dynamics, her background as a Haudenosaunee and Canadian woman and what it means to straddle the line between these identities. She employs text, installation, photography and video. Her work can be interpreted as an intersectional, feminist and Indigenous approach to an investigation of personal identity. Shelby has exhibited work in Ottawa, Toronto and Chicago.