Indigenous Artist Spotlight: Siobhán Eagen
June is PRIDE month, and we are delighted and honored to spotlight the very talented, Siobhán Eagen. Read on to learn more about their inspiration, artistic style, accomplishments and where you can go to support/purchase/commission their work!
Name: Siobhán Eagen
Please introduce yourself:
Míiyuyam 'atáaxum. Notúng Siobhán yaqáa.I’m 28. I’m a poet, photographer, performer and journalist. I’m Acjáchemem Nation and Irish American. I’m queer and my gender exists outside of the colonial binary. I care about people, health science, culture perpetuity and the earth.
Q: What does being a member of the Two Spirit & LGBTQ+ community mean to you?
A: My queerness was the basis of my awakening as a young person. It was the first thing to push me away from the Catholic Church because I knew I couldn’t live my life without loving myself wholly and I didn’t want to. It was the first major choice I made to love myself and choose myself. I think people in the LGBTQ2S+, simply by nature of being authentic to themselves, are radically choosing to love the very nature of themselves in a world with a lot of spiritual pesticides, in a world that wants us to forget we’re part of nature. Authenticity in a violent world is radical love.
Q: How has it shaped your art?
A: My sexual and gender identity created the foundation for my entire worldview. So everything I create exists within the framework of my worldview here. My uncle, who was gay and native, also died of HIV/AIDS complications when I was young. That was a major radicalization for me around sexual health, race and justice. So all of my art comes from this foundation. My art isn’t always centered on the concepts by any means, but it’s all grown from this soil, it’s inseparable even when it isn’t the subject.
Q: What is your favorite medium?
A: Nóon ‘áa’alvikat, I’m a storyteller and a writer. In both my Indigenous culture and Irish heritage - storytelling is vital. Poetry is my favorite medium. As a poet I enjoy both the opportunity to make art with words on a page but also verbally. Before covid I was pretty active in the spoken word poetry scene. I think there’s something really magical about the exchange between the storyteller and listeners in live performance.
Q: Who/what inspires you, your art?
A: Poetry and art is a means of processing to me. I’m neurodivergent and have C-PTSD. When my dad died suddenly in 2015, I wrote a lot to process it. A year later I counted all the poems I had written in a year and I averaged more than one a day. It’s definitely a means of processing my own life experiences and the world around us. The news also tends to inspire me, again, as a way to process things like heightening government surveillance, climate change and wildfires. These days my ancestors and their stories inspire me a lot too.
Q: What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
A: I’m proud of graduating college honestly. I started in 2012 and just finished in 2021. It was a long road, I endured a lot of trauma and I was living under the poverty line for all of it. Even through the death of my dad, housing insecurity and acquiring a new physical disability - I graduated. I also helped my tribe publish a language and culture calendar using the skills I had gained in college. I’m really proud of that.
Q: 2022-2032 is the official Decade of Indigenous Languages, what is your relationship with language? How has it shaped you?
A: Chamtéela is the language of the Acjáchemem people. It’s from the takic branch of Uto-Aztecan language family. I started really reconnecting in 2020 and I feel really blessed to have an amazing elder who is a linguist and incredibly giving teacher. Learning my language has totally shifted my worldview and aided in healing my family, who has been disconnected since the bounties that caused my family to flee our lands. My mom grew up being told by her elders not to let anyone know she was native - and recently she said to me: “If my grandma could see you.” It’s been very healing for us.
Q: What does PRIDE represent to you?
A: Pride definitely represents resistance and resilience to me. It represents generations of elders, like my uncle, who are no longer here because of HIV/AIDS and the trauma from being born into a colonial construct that didn’t accept their queerness. It represents revolution against oppression and remembrance of ancestral ways. It is power and prayer. But it is not a parade or rainbow marketing.
Where can people buy your art/follow & support you?
They can follow me on Instagram at siobhan_writes. I hope to have a patreon created soon for my news media content and to begin making more room for my art again on my instagram. I post all my updates primarily on Instagram.