Virago Nation in a photo posted to the collective’s website,

Indigenous burlesque collective in Surrey for ‘Medicine in Our Very Bones’ event

KPU Surrey campus hosts gathering, first in a series

An Indigenous burlesque collective known as Virago Nation will perform in Surrey this week as part of an event designed to help people “better understand reconciliation, decolonization and indigenization when it comes to sexuality.”

On Thursday evening (Jan. 24), Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Surrey campus will host a gathering called “Medicine in Our Very Bones: Gender, Sexuality and Embodied Resistance in Indigenous Burlesque,” first in a series of events at KPU.

“The purpose of the event is to celebrate Indigenous arts — and particularly arts created by Indigenous women — and to prompt a deeper understanding of issues such as Indigenous representation, body sovereignty, and sexual identity,” says event organizer Jennifer Hardwick, a KPU English instructor.

Virago Nation seeks to reclaim Indigenous sexuality from the effects of colonization, according to Shane Sable, a member of the collective.

“From our perspective, reclaiming Indigenous sexuality means representing multifaceted expressions of sexuality that defy racist colonial stereotypes that promote violence against Indigenous women,” Sable says in a KPU release.

“By participating in an art form that is inherently sexual and doing it with an explicit demonstration of free will, we dismantle notions that Indigenous sexuality doesn’t belong to us.”


Virago Nation – VIBF 2017 from VIBFA on Vimeo.

The event, held at the Conference Centre at KPU Surrey (Cedar room 1205), also aligns with KPU’s goal of indigenization, said Diane Purvey, dean in the Faculty of Arts at KPU.

“Increasing Indigenous participation is a key element of KPU’s new academic plan,” she stated, “and two primary goals are to enhance relationships with local Indigenous communities and to strengthen organizational structures to support current KPU Indigenous students and establish Indigenous learning communities.”

Also, Hardwick added, art is a good way to deal with that misinformation by introducing people to new information and ideas.

“I think there is a growing awareness at KPU and in Canada about Indigenous peoples, cultures, and histories, but there is still a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding out there — we have a long way to go,” Hardwick said.

Over the next year, Virago Nation will be featured at other events in the series, which is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Virago Nation was founded in May 2016, according to a post at

“Through humour, seduction, pop culture and politics,” the website says, “they will show that Indigenous women will not be confined to the colonial virgin-whore dichotomy but will design a new dynamic and multi-faceted sexual identity rooted in their own desires.”

CLICK HERE to “meet the Viragos.”

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Homelessness group puts pressure on White Rock council

Peninsula Homeless to Housing task force brought forward three action steps for council

Stabbing at Surrey banquet hall sends man to hospital

RCMP says victim has ‘non-life threatening’ injuries, incident still under investigation

South Surrey parking ticket perplexes, frustrates

Theresa Delaney predicts more people will be wrongly ticketed

55-year-old man taken to hospital after fire at Surrey RV park

Firefighters find man suffering from smoke inhalation, burns to face and hands: battalion chief

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Pedestrian in serious condition after hit by car downtown Abbotsford

A youth was also hit, suffered minor injuries, police say

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read

l -->