Martina has always been very active. ...snowboarding, mountain biking, weight training, hiking... but it wasn't until 2004 that the walls of the world came crashing down. Martina was struck with a debilitating auto-immune disease that rendered the entire left side of her body and eventually her core without feeling; making walking difficult, loss of control of her vision, affecting her cognitive ability, that left her wondering what the future would hold.
Years later after dramaticlly increasing her physical activity, getting in the best shape of her life with Storm Strength and Fitness (formerly Body Storm), her neurologist reported that he believed her efforts were acting as a disease modifying therapy. He suggested she to keep it up because the films did not match the women sitting in the chair.
Fast forward a few more years, 2 kids and episode free living, Martina took up Aerial Arts. Aerial Happiness. She takes every opportunity to train with studios both close to home and throughout North America.
Aerials and the concept of circus as a whole is liberating, healthy, empowering and inclusive. A space to be you, a place to belong when you don't belong. A place where it is okay to be different. A space where you can embrace being you.
"No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else."
~ The Greatest Showman
(hul'qumi'num, the island dialect of Coast Salish, Salishan language)
It wasn't until Martina was 12 years old and went to a family reunion in Ladner, BC, that she even learned of her ancestral heritage.
Her Grandmother was Coast Salish from Canoe Pass, her Grandfather, a Scotsman who fought in WWII. Martina met her Grandmother just once but her Grandfather died before she was born. Her mother was told that she was Scottish, and Scottish only. There was shame and potential consequence to being indigenous. The connection was denied.
This a long, sad story that Martina is still coming to understand. An indigenous woman who is still exploring to really understand who she is, where she came from and where she belongs.
Kwasun Aerial Journey is a tribute to her elders, her ancestors, her heritage and her personal growth. A tribute to embracing something meaningful and important.
Photo: Martina's Great, Great Grandparents, Henry Wilson and Mary Cootes, and their children; my Grandfather