In our ongoing blog series about B.C. places used as room names in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, this week we are featuring the town of Oliver. Oliver describes itself as the “wine capital of Canada” and is located in the south end of the Okanagan Valley. Oliver is named after the 19th premier of B.C., John Oliver, who was premier from 1918 to 1927.

The Oliver region is the home of the Nk’Mip First Nation band, and from 1915 to the 1960′s was the home of the Inkameep Indian Day School. Under the tutelage of teacher Anthony Walsh in the 1930′s and 40′s, the First Nations children at this school were encouraged to use artwork to express their traditional culture and history. During this time the school, the teacher and the students gained a fair degree of fame, as the word spread about their highly creative and often technically proficient artwork. While Walsh’s approach was not necessarily understood or appreciated by his contemporaries (his successor at the school burned most of the students’ art) it has since been praised for its inclusiveness of First Nations culture and heritage.

The documents in Rare Books and Special Collections are part of our Vertical File collection. The term “vertical file” is used in a variety of manners in libraries and archives, usually referring to a file compiled on a specific subject. At RBSC we often use this designation for small groupings of archival material which are two small to be listed with our other archival collections. This vertical file, VF 113, consists of letters written to Anthony Walsh during his tenure at Inkameep. Writers include a number of well-known figures, such as Lawren Harris and the Walt Disney Company:

Lawren Harris letter page 1

Lawren Harris letter page 1


Lawren Harris letter page 2

Lawren Harris letter page 2

Walt Disney Company letter

Walt Disney Company letter

Vertical files can be found by searching the library catalogue. They have call numbers that start with “VF,” and will also appear in searches limited to “Archival/mixed collections.”

An excellent virtual exhibition about the Inkameep Day School called “Drawing on Identity” is available online.

In the Barber Centre, the Oliver Room is room 361, and is used by the Gateway programs- Arts One, Science One, Coordinated Arts and Coordinated Science.

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