Monique Verdin, Photo by Sabree Hill

Monique Verdin, Photo by Sabree Hill

Nibikaang Exhibit Closing Reception & Events will feature guest artist, Monique Verdin (Louisiana’s United Houma Nation)  co-writer/co-producer of the documentary My Louisiana Love. She will share her film regarding her community on the Mississippi Delta on September 21, 3 – 5pm.

“My Louisiana Love follows a young Native American woman, Monique Verdin, as she returns to Southeast Louisiana to reunite with her Houma Indian family. But soon she sees that her people’s traditional way of life- fishing, trapping, and hunting these fragile wetlands– is threatened by a cycle of man-made environmental crises. As Louisiana is devastated by Hurricane Katrina and Rita and then the BP oil leak, Monique finds herself turning to environmental activism. She documents her family’s struggle to stay close to the land despite the cycle of disasters and the rapidly disappearing coastline. The film looks at the complex and uneven relationship between the oil industry and the indigenous community of the Mississippi Delta. In this intimate documentary portrait, Monique must overcome the loss of her house, her father, and her partner – and redefine the meaning of home. Her story is both unique and frighteningly familiar.”


Monique Verdin has intimately documented the complex interconnectedness of environment, economics, culture, climate and change along the Gulf South, for decades. Her indigenous Houma relatives and their lifeways at the ends of the bayous, found in the heart of America’s Mississippi River Delta, from the Yakne Chitto (Big Country, territory between the Atchafalaya River and the Mississippi) to Bulbancha (“Place of many tongues”, New Orleans), has been the primary focus of her storytelling practice.

Her interdisciplinary work has been included in an assortment of environmentally inspired projects, including the multiplatform/performance/ecoexperience Cry You One as well as the publication Unfathomable City : A New Orleans Atlas. Monique is director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange, a series of southeast Louisiana activations sharing native seeds and local knowledge through citizen collaboration, attempting to building a community record of history and present, while seeking regenerative solutions; a citizen and former councilwoman of south Louisiana’s United Houma Nation and is a part of the Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative core leadership circle of brown (indigenous, latinx and desi) women, from Texas to Florida, working to envision just economies, vibrant communities and sustainable ecologies.

Official trailer for :My Louisiana Love”

How did Monique end up in Minnesota?

The Big River Continuum cultivates creative exchanges connecting communities of the Mississippi River from the headwaters to the delta.

A Studio in the Woods a pleased to announce a new collaborative exchange residency in partnership with University of Minnesota’s Itasca Biological Station and Weisman Art Museum. Big River Continuum Residencies cultivate creative exchanges connecting communities of the Mississippi River from the Headwaters to the Delta.

Taking inspiration from the Ojibwe name Misiziibi, or gichi-ziibi meaning Huge River, this initiative turns the Mississippi River in its entirety into a platform for creative collaboration. It strives to connect geographies and sectors and to synergize the uniqueness of regional and indigenous cultures, artists and scholars in a shared process of inquiry.

Two indigenous artists, Karen Goulet (Watermark Art Center) from the Headwaters and Monique Verdin from the Delta, will travel to the opposite end of the river from their respective homes to be in residence. This program seeks to propel collaboration across regions and ignite inquiry into the interconnectedness of cultures, research and river/land environments. Read Karen’s Blog >>

University of Minnesota’s Itasca Biological Station and Weisman Art Museum, partnering closely with Tulane University’s A Studio in the Woods, supports a creative exchange program that links the headwaters and the deltas of the Big River, the Mississippi. Artists participate in residency programs, collaborate across regions, and ignite the inquiry into the interconnectedness of cultures, research and river/land environments.

Founded in 1909, Itasca Station maintains a mission of place-based biological research, teaching, and engagement at the Mississippi River headwaters. Since 2001, A Studio in the Woods implements its mission to protect and preserve the Mississippi River bottomland hardwood forest and provides a tranquil haven where artists and scholars reconnect with creative energy.

The Big River Continuum was seeded by the Itasca Station and the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences to advance a self-propelled program that integrates the arts with scholarship as a habit. The program is being facilitated by the Target Studio for Creative Collaboration of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, a unique museum program dedicated to collaborations across sectors, academic disciplines and creative practices, supporting and promoting work that radically diversifies knowledge.

The concept behind the Big River Continuum comes from the River Continuum Concept (RCC) which describes the entire river system as a continuously integrating series of physical gradients and associated biotic adjustments as the river flows from headwater to mouth.