In Toronto and beyond, musicians are sharing their art in support of Haudenosaunee land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane. 1492 mixtape is a compilation of 21 songs raising money for the 1492 Land Back Lane legal fund. The legal fund supports Land Defenders facing current charges and any future charges the may arise. On July 19, 2020 Six Nations land defenders mobilized to stop the housing development project of Mackenzie Meadows, bordering the town of Caledonia. 1492 Land Back Lane is the name they have given the area.
1492 mixtape was released on Mar. 4, and has already raised a little over $800 for the legal fund. It’s available for $5 on Bandcamp and CJRU spoke with two artists involved with the project. Sonically, the project is a mixed bag spanning punk, pop, folk, ambient and more. Davita Guslits is the one spearheading the mixtape and R. Flex is a Toronto-based artist featured on it. In the interview below, they share information about the mixtape, what acts of solidarity are looking like these days for musicians and much more.
While music is R. Flex’s livelihood, Guslits says her work in music is more of a hobby and passion project. For Guslits, being able to use music as an avenue to support communities and movements is at the heart of her practice.
“I feel like as a creative, I have a duty to weave reparations into my practice. And if I earn something, it’s not just because of my hard work but because my family got to move here and set up shop pretty easily. All that to say, my music career from the time I started to understand where I am… it became very solidarity-based,” Guslits says.
For R. Flex, acts of solidarity look different but are complementary to what Guslits mentions. They discuss the power of documenting stories through art.
“I really see myself as someone who’s trying to interweave Indigenous folks, Queer folks, trans folks into my work to create the Canada I see in my mind … this is how we’re choosing to remember the time that we’ve had here,” R. Flex explains.
Over the months, there have been a number of unconventional fundraising efforts for Land Back Lane. There was an online-auction in February and land defenders recently set up an Amazon wish list for supplies. With the wish list they’re hoping to secure supplies by June 20, 2021.
Listen to the interview below to hear Davita Guslits and R. Flex discuss 1492 Mixtape and importance of incorporating acts of solidarity into their arts practice.