1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
cerb: cerb di waayu. Ts’msyenu, ada Gisbutwada di hoksgu.
My name is cerb. I’m Ts’msyen, and Gisbutwada is my clan. I was raised on Ktunaxa territory, and I currently live on Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh territory. I’m a self-taught visual artist and writer. I’m also two-spirit, a lesbian, and Jewish.
2. What led to the decision to create Our Ways Always?
cerb: The idea came earlier this year, when the Mashpee Wampanoag had their land taken out of trust and shortly after the RCMP launched another invasion into Wet’suwet’en territory and were brutalizing solidarity blockades nationwide. I was trying to think about something I could do to help their struggles; this was also when COVID-19 was really taking hold in the US, and especially as a chronically ill person living in a dense urban area, we were very much on lockdown. I had recently taken part in a charity zine, so I floated the idea with a couple of Native friends and they were really enthusiastic about it. It just seemed like the most obvious way I could help with my skills as an artist.
3. What is the difference between a comic/graphic novel and a zine?
cerb: Comics are narrative, comprised of panels and dialogue; zines are extremely varied in format, and can be just about anything! They also are sometimes handmade, or made to print on a single sheet so that you fold it into a book yourself.
4. What would you say are the dominant themes and aesthetic of this zine?
cerb: The theme is fairly broad, which was important to me because Indigeneity is broad and I wanted participating artists to have autonomy in how they insert themselves into that idea. It’s about our ways of life, how they have existed, how they exist right now, and how they will continue to exist – it’s about resilience and decolonization. Some of the artists are taking this in a historical direction, while another wanted to represent the joys of being Native. It’s going to be a very diverse project, which was exactly what I was hoping for!
5. Are there any future plans to crowdfund the project in some way?
cerb: I wasn’t planning on setting up a Kickstarter or anything like that, but we will take pre-orders for the zine once it’s almost ready for printing.
6. What is your goal when it comes to producing the zine? Are you aiming to spread awareness or raise funds for a particular demograph?
cerb: After the cost of printing the zines and shipping, all profits will go to Unist’ot’en Camp! Our aim with this project is to be in solidarity with land defenders, and encourage others to do the same.
7. When will Our Ways Always be available to the public?
cerb: I’m aiming to send the zine off for printing in mid-September, so probably around then! You can submit your email to be notified here.
Or, keep an eye on our twitter (http://twitter.com/ourwaysalways) or our website for an announcement of the exact date.
8. Will it be in digital format only or will physical copies also be sold?
cerb: Physical copies will be sold, but only within the US and Canada due to recent shipping difficulties. Digital sales will be available internationally, of course.
9. How can people help you spread awareness of this project?
cerb: Tell your friends and family, follow us on Twitter and retweet our posts, and if you have any artist Native friends or family or are one yourself, we’re still allowing artists to sign-up until August 31st!
10. Do you have any future projects in the works? If so, can you tell us more about them?
cerb: There’s nothing planned yet, but I hope that this will energize people and inspire them to take on their own projects for mutual aid, or maybe for us artists to collaborate in the future again on something similar. For me personally, I sell runs of formline stickers for different causes that advance the struggle of BIPoC, so you can check out my store to see what’s in stock and what cause the sales are supporting.