Hi! My name is Kahentawaks Tiewishaw, I’m bear clan, and I come from a traditional Kanien’kehaka family in Kanehsatake. My early years were spent attending Kanien’kehá immersion school, growing traditional medicines, and practicing ceremonies. These experiences granted me both a strong sense of cultural identity and responsibility, and they inform much of my artistic practice today.My professional and academic careers have been broad and varied. I explored my passion for drawing and painting at Dawson College, where I graduated with a DEC in Cinema/Video/Communications in 2013. After graduating I worked as a sculpture designer at Mega Bloks for nearly 4 years.During my time with the company I created several large brick sculptures that were shown at Comic Con, Pax, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Eventually I left Mega Bloks in order to study Computation Arts at Concordia University. This program facilitated the development of my 3D modeling skills, and I was soon recruited for a Research Assistant position at Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace, and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures.While working as an RA, I was an instructor in several Skins Workshops. The goal of these workshops was to share digital media production skills with the next generation of Indigenous youth. These skills would allow them to create things like video games and machinima in order to tell the stories that are most important to them, and their communities. Having the opportunity to teach in these workshops was incredibly meaningful for me. This is because I was a participant in the very first Skins Workshop at Kahnawake Survival School back in 2008.In January of 2019, I was awarded one of Concordia’s Milieux Undergraduate Fellowships. This opportunity allowed me to create my first mobile game entitled Karihonniennitshera. The game went on to be exhibited at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in October of 2019.In 2020 I graduated from Concordia’s Computation Arts program with distinction. I continued my work with AbTeC & IFF, and was soon promoted to Skins Workshop Associate Director. In addition to instructing in the workshops, I was now in charge of planning and executing them.While working as the Skins Workshop Associate Director, I also started Revital Software alongside my sister Wennekerakon Tiewishaw, and best friend Frederyk Kowalczyk. We specialize in the creation of Indigenous language learning games, and peripheral resources.Moving forward I am deeply interested in video games as a vehicle for indigenous culture & experience, as well as their capacity to facilitate the healing of intergenerational trauma.
3D models & environments
digital paintings & drawings
Ne Ki Rotiienáon (their legacy)
Ne Ki Rotiienáon’ is an immersive VR experience for the Oculus Quest that allows you to glimpse into the life of an Indigenous foster child. By interacting with specific items in the scene, the player gradually pieces together the child’s story.Canadian residential schools were government sanctioned institutions that removed indigenous kids from their families, language, and culture. The goal of these schools was to forcibly assimilate indigenous children into non-native society. The last of these institutions closed its doors in 1996. However, the trauma inflicted by this system has lasted for generations.Many of the children who attended residential school endured severe emotional and physical abuse. These experiences were extremely traumatic, causing survivors to develop a myriad of mental health problems. Reservations and territories alike were ill-equipped to deal with such a colossal mental health crisis. The lack of support and rehabilitation resources caused many survivors to adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms. These mechanisms negatively affected both survivors, and their families.Instead of offering to rehabilitate those affected by their institutions, the Canadian government continues to reenact the very thing that caused this situation in the first place: the removal of native children from their families and their communities. Although indigenous children only account for 7.7% of Canada’s child population, 52.2% of all kids in foster care are indigenous. Additionally, these children are most often placed with non-native foster families.This issue affects both indigenous people living in Canada, and across the globe. The foster care system is the residential school of today.
Kahentawaks Tiewishaw - 3D modeling, texturing, sound, & story
Frederyk Kowalczyk - Programming & mechanics
Wennekerakon Tiewishaw - Voice acting
Tree of Life
Tree of Life - Lights Off
What would we discover if we were to examine the very roots of the climate crisis? Which domino started the cascade of events that brought us to this particular crossroads? According to American historian Lynn White, we would find medieval Christian values:“By gradual stages a loving and all-powerful God had created light and darkness, the heavenly bodies, the earth and all its plants, animals, birds, and fishes. Finally, God created Adam and, as an afterthought, Eve to keep man from being lonely. Man named all the animals, thus establishing his dominance over them. God planned all of this explicitly for man’s benefit and rule: no item in the physical creation had any purpose save to serve man’s purposes. And, although man’s body is made of clay, he is not simply part of nature: he is made in God’s image.” - from The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic CrisisWhite argues that the founding fathers of “Western Science” were informed by these beliefs, and therefore imbued them into the technologies they created. This resulted in the pervasive attitude that progress must come at the expense of the natural world. By that logic our current environmental situation cannot be solved by throwing more of the same science and technology at it. The real solution would involve a radical paradigm shift regarding humanity’s position in relation to nature. We must cease to think of ourselves as the rulers of nature, and instead consider ourselves as one small part of it. Once this has been accomplished it will facilitate the creation of the new scientific method, one that is not willing to compromise on the well being of the planet.Letting go of such an entrenched worldview is not going to be easy. This is because people often conflate historical precedent with credibility. Therefore we must find a replacement that has existed alongside the existing system of values, yet is considerably less anthropocentric. According to Professor Jason Lewis, indigenous perspectives are perfectly positioned to inform sustainable scientific & technological practices:“Man is neither height nor centre of creation. This belief is core to many Indigenous epistemologies. It underpins ways of knowing and speaking that acknowledge kinship networks that extend to animals and plants, wind and rocks, mountains and oceans. Indigenous communities worldwide have retained the languages and protocols that enable us to engage in dialogue with our non-human kin, creating mutually intelligible discourses across differences in material, vibrancy, and genealogy.” - from Making Kin With MachinesIndigenous peoples have historically been at the forefront of environmental activism. This is because we have known for centuries what the rest of the world is only realizing now: If we do not take care of the earth, the earth will not take care of us. It’s that simple. So perhaps the time has come for the world to not only reconcile with it’s indigenous peoples, but to listen and learn from them as well.This sculpture project is about everything we stand to gain from reconnecting with nature.
Kahentawaks Tiewishaw - Design & Construction
Chloé Fraïlé-Boudreault - Documentation
Felix Wawrosz - Electronics
Karihonniennihtshera (Teachings) is an interactive storybook application. In other words, a game! Its purpose is to serve as a language learning tool for both Kanien’kehá:ka children, and their parents. It is playable in both English and Kanien'keha. This project came about when I was awarded Concordia University's Milieux Undergraduate Fellowship in the winter of 2019. This fellowship granted me a certain amount of money to fund a research creation project. I decided to use this opportunity to make something that would benefit my community, as well as myself.I made this app because I remember what it was like to be an English speaking kid trying to learn my traditional language. Despite being enrolled in Mohawk immersion school, the language was very difficult to retain because there was no way for me to practice at home. As is often the case, there were very few members of my family who could actually speak Mohawk. My hope for this app is that it contributes to solving that problem for the next generation.Ideally, this app will serve as a jumping off point. If there is enough interest from schools/individuals, I would be more than happy to create all kinds of applications! Imagine being able to pick from a digital library of stories and games, all playable in Kanien’keha! If we strive to incorporate traditional knowledge with new technologies, the possibilities are endless.
Kahentawaks Tiewishaw - Art & animation
Frederyk Kowalczyk - Programming
Skanaié:'a Deer - Translation
Karihonniennihtshera Background 01
Karihonniennihtshera Background 02
Karihonniennihtshera Background 03
Karihonniennihtshera Background 04
Karihonniennihtshera Background 05
Karihonniennihtshera Background 06
Karihonniennihtshera Background 07
Karihonniennihtshera Background 08
Karihonniennihtshera Background 09
Imagining Indigenous Worlds with Unity | Northern Arts and Cultural Centre | APRIL 25TH - 29TH, 2022
7th Gen Character Design | Northern Arts and Cultural Centre | APRIL 20TH, 2022
7th Gen Tech Design with Blender | Northern Arts and Cultural Centre | APRIL 11TH - 14TH, 2022
AbTeC Island Tour | Journeys & Crossroads | APRIL 14TH, 2021
Avatar Creation Workshop | Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies UBC | MARCH 30TH, 2021
Game Design with Bitsy | Wemindji Youth Centre | MARCH 25TH, 2021
7th Gen Character Design | Journeys & Crossroads | MARCH 22ND, 2021
7th Gen Character Design | Wemindji Youth Centre | MARCH 18TH, 2021
iYC Machinimagraph Workshop | imagineNATIVE & ENAGB | MARCH - MAY, 2021
Intro to AbTeC | Journeys & Crossroads | FEBRUARY 17TH, 2021
7th Gen Tech Design with Blender | WAMP | FEBRUARY 13TH - 14TH, 20TH - 21ST, 2021
Intro to AbTeC | Wemindji Youth Centre | FEBRUARY 10TH, 2021
Game Design with Bitsy | imagineNATIVE | SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2020
Interactive Storytelling with Twine | imagineNATIVE | SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2020
Intro to Avatar Design | imagineNATIVE | SEPTEMBER 10TH, 2020
7th Gen Character Design | imagineNATIVE | SEPTEMBER 3RD, 2020
7th Gen Character Design | Centre d’exposition de Val-d’Or | SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2019
Train-the-Trainer: 7th Gen Character Design & Machinima | MacKenzie Art Gallery | AUGUST 12TH - 16TH, 2019
Seventh Generation Character Design & Intro to Machinima | POP Montreal | JULY 15TH - 19TH, 2019
Skins 6.0 | Hālau ‘Īnana | JULY 2018
Seventh Generation Character Design | Kahnawake Survival School | MARCH - MAY, 2018
DWF LIVE Session: Kahentawaks Tiewishaw | JANUARY 19TH, 2022
Games for Change: Developing Indigenous Developers | August 26th, 2021
Your privacy is critically important to us. At Existential Thread, we have a few fundamental principles:We are thoughtful about the personal information we ask you to provide and the personal information that we collect about you through the operation of our services.
We do not store personal information.
We aim to make it as simple as possible for you to control what information we collect.
We help protect you from overreaching government demands for your personal information.
We aim for full transparency on how we gather, use, and share your personal information.
We only collect information about you if we have a reason to do so – for example, to provide our Services, to communicate with you, or to make our Services better.We collect information in three ways: if and when you provide information to us, automatically through operating our Services, and from outside sources.Let’s go over the information that we collect: We currently don’t collect any information.Information We Collect Automatically
We also collect some information automatically:Log Information: Like most online service providers, we collect information that mobile devices, and servers typically make available, such as the unique device identifiers, language preference, the date and time of access, operating system, and mobile network information. We collect log information when you use our app.
Usage Information: We collect information about your usage of our Services. We also collect information about what happens when you use our Services (e.g., page views) along with information about your device (e.g., screen size, name of cellular network, and mobile device manufacturer). We use this information to, for example, provide our Services to you, as well as get insights on how people use our Services, so we can make our Services better.How and Why We Use Information & Purposes for Using Information
We use information about you as mentioned above and for the purposes listed below:To further develop and improve our Services–for example, by adding new features that we think our users will enjoy.
To monitor and analyze trends and better understand how users interact with our Services, which helps us improve our Services and make them easier to use;To monitor and prevent any problems with our Services, protect the security of our Services, detect and prevent fraudulent transactions and other illegal activities, fight spam, and protect the rights and property of Extistential Thread.
To communicate with you. For example, we may email you to solicit your feedback, share tips for getting the most out of our products, or keep you up to date on Existential Thread;Legal Bases for Collecting and Using Information
A note here for those in the European Union about our legal grounds for processing information about you under EU data protection laws, which is that our use of your information is based on the grounds that:(1) The use is necessary in order to fulfill our commitments to you under the applicable terms of service or other agreements with you or is necessary to user our Service(2) The use is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation; or(3) The use is necessary in order to protect your vital interests or those of another person; or(4) We have a legitimate interest in using your information — for example, to provide and update our Services; to improve our Services so that we can offer you an even better user experience; to safeguard our Services; to communicate with you; to measure, gauge, and improve the effectiveness of our advertising; and to understand our user retention and attrition; to monitor and prevent any problems with our Services; and to personalize your experience; orSharing Information & How We Share Information
Third Party Vendors: We may share information about you with third party vendors who need to know information about you in order to provide their services to us, or to provide their services to you or your site. This group includes vendors that help us provide our Services to you, those that assist us with our marketing efforts (e.g. by providing tools for identifying a specific marketing target group or improving our marketing campaigns), those that help us understand and enhance our Services (like analytics providers), and companies that make products available on our websites, who may need information about you in order to, for example, provide technical or other support services to you. We require vendors to agree to privacy commitments in order to share information with them.
Legal and Regulatory Requirements: We may disclose information about you in response to a subpoena, court order, or other governmental request. For more information on how we respond to requests for information about WordPress.com users, please see our Legal Guidelines.
To Protect Rights, Property, and Others: We may disclose information about you when we believe in good faith that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of Existential Thread, third parties, or the public at large. For example, if we have a good faith belief that there is an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury, we may disclose information related to the emergency without delay.
With Your Consent: We may share and disclose information with your consent or at your direction. For example, we may share your information with third parties with which you authorize us to do so, such as the social media services that you connect to your site through our Publicize feature.
Aggregated or De-Identified Information: We may share information that has been aggregated or reasonably de-identified, so that the information could not reasonably be used to identify you. For instance, we may publish aggregate statistics about the use of our Services and we may share a hashed version of your email address to facilitate customized ad campaigns on other platforms.
Published Support Requests: And if you send us a request (for example, via a support email or one of our feedback mechanisms), we reserve the right to publish that request in order to help us clarify or respond to your request or to help us support other users.
Information Shared Publicly
Information that you choose to make public is–you guessed it–disclosed publicly.That means, of course, that information like your public profile, posts, other content that you make public on your website, and your “Likes” and comments on other websites, are all available to others–and we hope you get a lot of views!Public information may also be indexed by search engines or used by third parties.Please keep all of this in mind when deciding what you would like to share.How Long We Keep Information
We generally discard information about you when we no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collect and use it — which are described in the section above on How and Why We Use Information — and we are not legally required to continue to keep it.Security
While no online service is 100% secure, we work very hard to protect information about you against unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction, and take reasonable measures to do so, such as monitoring our Services for potential vulnerabilities and attacks.Request access to your personal data;
Request correction or deletion of your personal data;
Object to our use and processing of your personal data;
Request that we limit our use and processing of your personal data; and
Request portability of your personal data.
You can scroll down to How to Reach Us to, ask any further questions about information.EU individuals also have the right to make a complaint to a government supervisory authority.How to Reach Us