Treaty 6, Saskatoon: Peace Akintade

Photo by Stephen Rutherford, Intro by Mackenzie Stewart

Photo by Stephen Rutherford, Intro by Mackenzie Stewart

Peace is someone you meet and never forget. I first met her back in 2015; I had been helping run a youth poetry series in Saskatoon called Write Out Loud and Peace showed up to one of our Open Mic nights. She was only a young teenager (she would hate it if I said how young), but with her words, stage presence and sense of style we all thought she was in her 20s. We were all grateful when she kept coming back over and over, because her poetry was years beyond what you would expect from her age. She has a way with words that goes far beyond the normal abilities of a teenager, and with that has a personality and presence that would draw even the most hard-hearted person in.

I am proud to have been her mentor (honestly, I learn more from her than she does from me) and to see her progress into a young woman with a desire to help others, to seek justice, and to better the world around her. Peace is astonishing, radical, honest and talented. She has excelled in the art world very quickly, and I am so proud to have had her as a member of our youth poetry team and of our organizing community. I know that one day I will see her face on the news due to her amazing accomplishments.

KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?

I'm currently working on Illustrated Christmas Story Book for the Grace Christian Capsule. The project has been running for a year, and focuses on using different media of art to portray the Christmas story in a new light. The second book will be an illustration on the Easter book. I'm working on challenging myself and broadening my Template, and potentially start working on my own Chapbook.

 Apart from drawing, I'm developing a upcoming play about domestic violence and the fine line between abusive love. It’s a strange idea that twists poetry with contemporary dances. All stories are from real life experiences in Saskatoon. My goal is to blend different communities and bring them together in an assembly of misfits. It’s currently in the blueprint stage, and is a partnership with Moving Stories and the Storytelling and History Folklore Community. 

 KC: What is your day job? What do you like about it? What's challenging?

I’m part of the Youth Advisory Council for the Tim Horton Children Foundation, we have online meetings every month discussing the ways the Youth Leadership Program and Community Leadership Program can be improved. What else? When I'm not attending Spoken Word Slams or doing Workshops to introduce Spoken Word to impressionable Youths, I’m volunteering as a fellow organizer for the Write Out Loud Youth Poetry Show.  

There are also minor jobs, like working for the Fruitful Vine Production as a cameraman. They specialize in filming marriages, birthday parties, and documentaries about immigrants and refugees. I'm also a Public Speaker for the Open-Door Society, helping bridge the cultural differences of locals with Refugees and Immigrants

I love the experiences and opportunities that come with these jobs. Each of them ranges from different types of knowledge, from filming to drawing, Poetry to directing. Public Speaking to Debating.

The only challenging thing, that I would say, is that I can get overwhelmed at times. Which leads to doubting myself and in turn downplaying my abilities. I’ve had more mental breakdowns from irrational thinking and negligence of my body this past three years. The only way I’ve ever dealt with the anxiety was by pushing myself even more, and trying to prove myself to . . . no one really. It was an endless loop, and a toxic relationship that I wanted to get away from. That’s when I started to practice Self-care.

Believe it or not, I’m a Grade 11 student, who should probably focus more on her studies. But in my defense, most of life’s lessons are experienced outside of School. I see myself as an opportunist, who doesn’t know how to take a break! Sue me. I’m working on gaining enough courses to attend the British Columbia University and get my Masters in Art History and Major in Economics and Entrepreneurship. My dream is to become a Manager for an Art Gallery

 KC: What is important to you?

My Uncle always told me “When life gives you lemons, make orange juice and watch as others try to figure out how.”  The gist of the quote is that you should use the opportunities bestowed to you, and twist it to your benefit. We came from Nigeria, and by chance we arrived in Canada. All of a sudden, I saw the many doors that were open to me, the limits of being a girl were lifted, and I could literally be anything. You must be joking if you thought I wouldn’t ride this train track, I volunteered and attended every event I could. This brought people into my life, who say saw something in me and took me other their wings. After that, it’s just another coming of age story.  The most important thing to me is ‘Experiencing and trying new things’, ‘Finding the right support group’, and ‘Sticking with your Family’. My mom always says, “Remember the Daughter of whom you are”.  Whatever I choose to do must not put my Family to shame.

 KC: What do you like the most, and least, about Saskatoon?

KC: I Love the cafés in Saskatoon, I have the worst sugar addiction so going downtown and being surrounded my cafés feeds my spirit, my favorites are the Underground Café, Broadway Café, and the Honey Bun Cafe. But on a serious note, I like the different communities in Saskatoon. You can find people from Germany and others from tropical islands hanging out together.

It’s far-fetched to say that Saskatoon is a safe haven, but it is a reassuring place to raise the family. I’m removed from the situation, but the downside to Saskatoon is the treatment of the Native people. Support groups and Organizations are placed to help them in any way. Yet the fact that it is needed in the first place is a red flag. Also, the bus transit sucks, and enlightened rich folks need to stop acting like they know everything about my culture and commenting on my appearance.

KC: What is your impression of Regina?

I’ve only been to Regina to feature in their Youth Poetry show. The people are lively and always down for a good time. They have been my testing ground for ideas on new shows, which means they see me perform weird things all the time, yet they take it with open ears. Not to mention, their poets are to Die for! They are truly the Queen’s city.  

 KC: Finish this sentence: If the best of all possible worlds was reality....

People would not Need to be governed, and would live from the kindness and logic of the heart. Wars would not be the decision of mighty men using fellow humans has political pawns. The worth of a human being would outweigh the cost of material needs. But then again, if we had the best of both worlds, we wouldn’t have entertainment.

KC: How has your identity helped you / hindered you?

I am fortunate to have a set of people behind me every step of the way, as an African- Canadian Woman who is on the Asexual spectrum. I’ve been faced with surprisingly limited disapproval. My identity has helped me relate with different types of people with different experience. I can’t say that it hinders me in any way, only makes me more aware of the responsibility I have in representing each community effectively.  

 KC: (From the Proust Questionnaire): What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Spontaneity is dangerous and unpredictable in it's ways. This may seem like irony coming from an Aquarius like me. But the roots of my problems is that I say 'Yes' too much, too often. Take some time to breathe and look at both sides of the coin, before you think of skydiving down a mountain.

Links: You can find me on Instagram @a.scriptation.piece

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