The February 11th “Speaking My Truth” dialogue session, held at the First Nations Longhouse, presented a unique opportunity for discussion with Shelagh Rogers, Mike Degagné, and Glen Lowry, three creators of the book, Speaking My Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation and Residential Schools. The conversation that took place between the audience and these three speakers was thought-provoking and illuminating.

The three guests provided insight into their motivations and experiences in creating their book and also gave their views on the progress and future of the truth and reconciliation movement in Canada. The speakers acknowledged that tremendous progress has been made in drawing public attention to the stories of residential school survivors. However, they emphasized that, while it is important to tell these stories and expose the truth of residential schools, progress still needs to be made to reconcile these injustices. Gestures such as the official apology by Prime Minister Harper are appreciated, but must be backed up with productive dialogue and positive action, in order to construct a relationship of mutual trust and respect. Only after this relationship is established can true reconciliation and justice be achieved.

 

~ Nick Rowlands, February 18, 2014.

 

Notice – Women’s Memorial March

Carnegie Hall (Main St and Hastings St.)
11 am, Friday, Feb 14, 2014
In January 1991, a women was murdered in the downtown east side of Vancouver. The resulting movement of this murder was an annual march on Valentine’s Day to honour the lives of missing and murdered women.This movement has now spread across Canada. This year there are over 15 cities participating in the memorial march.  The organizers encourage everyone to participate in this journey towards healing to standing in solidarity with the many women who face violence on a daily basis.

There are many ways to support the Women’s Memorial March whether you are near or far. If you are able to, please join one of the marches across Canada and spread the word.  If there is currently no Women’s Memorial March in your community, please feel free to organize one and contact the organizers so that they can work with you to raise awareness.

“Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside” is a short film that is publicly available documenting the first 20 years of the Women’s Memorial March.  The film addresses the misunderstood population of women living in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside.  Another film that is often screened during the Memorial events is “Finding Dawn”.  The trailer for this film can be accessed through the National Film Board of Canada and the DVD can be borrowed from Xwi7xwa Library.

For up to date information about the Women’s Memorial March please check out the Facebook page.

 

“Hockey’s grace and poetry make men beautiful.” – Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

I have read exactly two books about hockey.

The first, the Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, is now a celebrated story, so quintessentially CanCon that it counts among its adaptations both a National Film Board animated short and the five-dollar bill. There are those who may find it ironic that the iconic work—translated from the original French Le chandail de hockey—is undeniably more Québécois than Canadian but after all the sport is our nation’s game, and indeed, part of the very fabric of our identity.

It is the second book, Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse – titled after the English-language surname imposed by the Zhaunagush (white colonizers) on an Ojibway family – that calls into question these very assumptions.

For Saul Indian Horse, the central character and narrator of the story, hockey is an escape, at first metaphorically and then literally, from life at St. Jerome’s Indian Residential School (the word ‘life’ here being hyperbolic; for Saul and the other Aboriginal children at the residential school, existence has been reduced to the singular act of surviving).

St. Jerome’s is described as “hell on earth” but despite the torment and many abuses suffered by students at the school and documented by Saul, for the reader the pain is less of a vivid, visceral experience as it is a dulled registering and then repressing of emotion. There is a distance to Saul’s descriptions of his time spent at the school; a fog, the same greyness of the tasteless gruel fed to the students, and produced by a reluctance to reflect on the ordeal of the situation, envelopes all of St. Jerome’s.

It is only when Saul is playing hockey that the fog lifts and he can see clearly again. Saul is first introduced to the game by Father Leboutilier, the young priest at St. Jerome’s who loves hockey so much that he coaches a handful of boys and puts together a team for the school.  Saul is enraptured by the stop-and-starts of gameplay and the scramble of the scrimmage but soon enough, he can read the game, slow the rhythms behind the movements of both puck and players, and anticipate the flow of play. In other words, he has a God-given talent for the game, and it is this divine framing of both sport and skillset by Father Leboutilier that convinces the school to allow Saul to leave St. Jerome’s in order to pursue hockey, join a reserve team, and play Native tournaments.

But once outside the residential school system and even with the promise of all the hockey he could ever want to play, it is still not a world without its darkness for Saul. Hockey elevates him, lifts him up and takes him above and beyond being a victim. It serves as a buffer for the anger and the grievance he feels for what has been taken from him, his family, and his community by the Zhaunagush, but this is gradually worn down as his team encounters widespread, systemic discrimination and profoundly personal harassment when they begin to play off-reserve and against white teams. Saul continues evolving as a player, advancing through the ranks of elite athletes until he’s vying for a spot on the Leafs feeder team. His efforts to hold onto both his dignity and his integrity for the sport, however, do not move forward. Eventually, even the electric intensity of hockey cuts outs for Saul and the world goes dark again, the “great game” revealed as only a Wizard of Oz sleight of hand for hiding his hurt, not a total transition into Technicolor.

In Indian Horse, Ojibway author Wagamese has created a rich and nuanced portrayal of a grief that is hard to give voice to: because the pain had seemed immemorial—an intergenerational inheritance—or was, consciously, deemed immemorable—a threat to one’s very survival. Like Saul, and for many in the Indian Residential School System, there were no words for the pain because the words themselves had also been taken away. Whether unintended or done deliberately in acknowledgement of this, a quiet lyricism permeates much of Wagamese’s work; the effect makes for storytelling that is surprisingly visual, be it the haunting bleakness of St. Jerome’s or the multidimensional plane of the ice rink where energies, movements, and intentions can all be seen and read by Saul during gameplay.

Those who don’t know much about the sport and worry that the story would be lost on them should know that Indian Horse is not a hockey book, not really, but one about the human capacity for hurting, and healing, ourselves. For those who don’t know much about the Indian Residential School System, its legacy, and the process of reconciliation, the story is thus a good starting point—Wagamese’s free talk on Thursday, October 31st at 2 pm in the Lillooet Room in Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is another.

 

Open UBC Week 2013 is fast approaching! 

Held as part of UBC’s celebration of International Open Access Week and in conjunction with UBC’s Celebrate Learning Week, this year’s programming will include speakers such as:

For more information or to register, visit the Open UBC Week site.

It is a pleasure to announce that the WCILCOS conference papers and handbook are all available in cIRcle, UBC’s Digital Repository! Explore this collection and find papers, webcasts, etc. on topics about Chinese pioneers, family policy, national identity as well as these community areas: the Moy Kwok Village, the Sa Duoy Village and New Westminster in British Columbia, Canada.

Discover and learn more about the WCILCOS collection in cIRcle at: https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/43391.

Did You Know?

Coming soon – Recent issues of UBC Forestry’s Branchlines and Annual Report publications will be added to cIRcle, UBC’s Digital Repository. Stay tuned for more details on our cIRcle blog and if you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter: @cIRcle_UBC (https://twitter.com/cIRcle_UBC).

The WCILCOS (World Confederation of Institutes and Libraries in Chinese Overseas Studies) is a federation established by participating institutes and libraries in a Chinese Overseas Studies conference in Athens, Ohio, in 2000, to facilitate co-operation between scholarship and documentation, and between institutes, libraries, and archives in different parts of the world. Registered in Ohio, it is non-profit and non-political. No membership dues are collected. Since the inception of WCILCOS in 2000, the Dr. You-Bao Shao Overseas Chinese Documentation Center has served as its secretariat, and devoting its resources to the Confederation’s goals and visions.

The WCILCOS conference was held May 16-19, 2012 at the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus with 150+ international delegates in attendance.

It was the ‘first time UBC has been invited to host the WCILCOS Conference, and the first time it has been hosted in Canada. Eleanor Yuen, Head of UBC’s Asian Library, has helped organize WCILCOS conferences since 2003’.

We hope you will take a few minutes to peruse the new WCILCOS conference papers collection in cIRcle at: https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/43391.

Did You Know?

An electronic copy of the Register of Chinese Immigrants to Canada was preserved at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa. It was created between 2005 and 2008 as part of a research project on immigration from China to Canada directed by Professors Peter Ward and Henry Yu of the Department of History at the University of British Columbia. See this popular cIRcle item which has had 500+ views in the History Faculty Research collection at: https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/36347.

Above excerpt in bold italics is taken from the WCILCOS (World Confederation of Institutes and Libraries in Chinese Overseas Studies) conference handbook

Above partial excerpt in italics and image are courtesy of the UBC Library website at: http://about.library.ubc.ca/2012/05/15/ubc-library-welcomes-wcilcos-2012/.

Open UBC started yesterday with a science session on reproducible research.

During Open UBC, be sure to check out live tweets and blogging from the events.

For a full schedule of events or for speaker biographies, visit the Open UBC website.

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