March 3, 2014
A couple of years ago, I was at a talk by Monique Mojica, a Kuna and Rappahannock actor and playwright who had done a tremendous amount of work building the Indigenous theatre movement in Canada and the US. In this talk, she was talking about Kuna aesthetics and a Kuna editorial process based on the heart. I immediately identified with her teachings, and I started to think about the editing process differently. In Anishinaabeg, our word for heart is de. Our word for truth is debwe, and some of our Elders define truth as the sound of the heart. Monique talked about editing her play using the sound of her heart—to me, this has meant going through my work, line by line and making sure that it resonates with that part of me. Of course it is important to make sure that the story makes sense in all the other ways we usually edit, but for my work, using my heart to edit is also a very critical part of my process. I also usually ask my Indigenous women friends to do the same thing when they read my work, and this has proven to be the most lovely of processes.