Module #3 Reflection – Cole Anderson

Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre and the We Wai Kai Nation

In my first blog entry for the third module I wanted to share a personal story from my childhood and how its connected to this course. I have been going to Quadra Island, a northern gulf island in BC, to camp at Rebecca Spit and throughout the years I learned who the We Wai Kai First Nation People were and even considered a couple of them to be a family friend.

The We Wai Kai Campground and the Nuyumbalees society was established in 1975. It’s goal was to help preserve the traditions of the potlatch, their language and culture. This museum site was established to help preserve all of those components as well as to be an educational centre for the general public. Its connected to various We Wai Kai locations throughout Quadra Island. As a young kid I was fully aware that my family and I were camping on native territory but most of the gulf islands along our coast did not have aboriginal names but instead had Spanish names which at a young age I never understood the reason.

Nunavut 99 – The Early Years

In the third module most of the literature focused on exploring the various issues and stories of the Inuit. My own understanding as to why the territory of Nunavut was created in 1999 was woefully inadequate.

In the article written by Robert McGhee, “Nunavut 99” the author succinctly explained what the different time periods were for the Inuit and the dominating influence on their history that the various ice ages have had on the Inuit culture. He also explained what the impact of European Explores and the fur trade has had on their culture. Knowing where the Inuit genealogy begins, the Bearing Sea, not Siberia, and how they were not the first ones to occupy the land of Nunavut was incredibly enlightening. Knowing this knowledge helped me to understand why in Canada when the government talks about the First People’s there’s a different designation for First People, the Metis, and now the Inuit.

UBC Raises Reconciliation Totem Pole to Honour Residential School Victims, Survivors

This was the other story, article, I wanted to share in conjunction with the UBC Residential Research Centre developments from the #7 discussion forum. In the article written by the Canadian Press and published by the Huffington Post it recounts the day when the Haida designed totem pole was raised with various pictures to depict the raising the pole ceremony. At first I thought it was strange that a Haida themed Totem Pole would be raised on Coast Salish traditional territory. However, knowing that the pole was raised on UBC grounds, a university for the province, it made sense to me even though the Haida were known as warriors and slave traders up and down the BC coast.

In the article there were personal stories such as 73 year old Pauline Jones. Pauline’s story was connected to how the pole was made from 800 year old red cedar and how there are three sections (before, during and after Residential School). This story helped me to understand the importance of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee recommendations and how trend setting unique UBC’s leadership role globally and domestically has been in our tribal communities healing process. If it wasn’t for this course I may not have paid that much attention to these developments because I would have ignorantly thought I had a pretty good idea of what had happened.

B.C. Should be Renamed to Reflect Indigenous Ownership, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun says

In the spirit of the proposal of renaming Stanley Park I wanted to research just how far this idea of renaming important geographical landmarks was currently in British Columbia. This article was written by Kevin Griffin by the Vancouver Sun in 2016 and it depicts an art exhibition by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at the UBC Anthropology Museum. Mr. Yuxweluptun was born in Kamloops but has Coast Salish and Okanagan ancestry. He proposed through his exhibition a very controversial and provocative idea. The idea was that the entire province of British Columbia should be renamed to better suit the First Nations who had lived for thousands of years.

The crux of Yuxweluptun perspective and idea goes back to when BC had entered into confederation even though most of the land in this province had never been ceded for to the Canadian Federal Government through treaty or war. Even though the article does recognize the massive work that would be required to change the name of the province but despite that work the residents of Canada various iconic names in the province have already been changed. This was in conjunction with the renaming of the Haida Gawaii Islands and the Coast Salish Sea. However, in the spirit of renaming there are still limits on how far the federal government is willing to go. If there should ever be a name change to the province of BC there should be a province wide referendum and the people should decide.

Artist Proud of Ferry Design and its Message to the Young

This article was inspired from the guiding questions from week #8 which asked how are the indigenous youth are taking ownership of their culture. In the Times Colonist newspaper written by Katie Derosa she tells the story of Darlene Gait. Darlene was selected to design the outside murals for the new BC Ferries boats that were built in Poland for the BC southern gulf islands. Darlene designed the outside artwork design for the first vessel that arrived in BC from Poland, the “Salish Orca.” This vessel was the first of three vessels that there designed by BC Ferries to replace some of the older vessels and it was the first to have a First People artwork design to be painted onto the vessel’s outer hull. At the time of me posting this blog the vessel has begun sailing the Comox to Powell River route and will be sailing that route throughout the year while carrying thousands of people. The other two vessels that will also have special artwork were the “Salish Raven” and the “Salish Raven.”

Even though Darlene is no longer a youth she has a lot of pride that her children, and quite possibly her grandchildren will ride on this boat. For Darlene just knowing that her grandchildren will see her artwork in a very public place, even when she is gone, gave Darlene a great sense of pride and happiness. It made me wonder if this was part of her healing process from the wrongs in the past. As a young adult who loves anything that is part of the visual or performing arts I am happy to know that Darlene is happy with the message that her artwork will bring to youth in her tribe.

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