Indigenous Activist Art at Woodhaven

This summer UBC’s Okanagan campus offered the Intensive Summer Indigenous Program, designed to provide students cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses that enhance their understanding of Indigenous artistic and theoretical practices.  For more information see the Art + Reconciliation / Indigenous Activist Art website.

The Summer Intensive finale was a tipi made of light and smoke at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre – orchestrated by Cheryl L’Hirondelle – which was a truly incredible sight. It was a powerful experience to stand under the poles, which were beams of light in the night sky, in a fragrant cloud of sage smoke. I feel blessed that I was able to see this, and participate in it. Thank you Cheryl!

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Thank you also to Sherry Farrell Racette, one of the Summer Intensive participants, who provided this writing (and an excerpt from facebook) about her time spent at Woodhaven:

We made such good use of the Woodhaven space – five artists, with a couple of visitors sleeping on couches. We had two evening gatherings, and I held a beading circle with students around the big kitchen table. Amy Malbeuf taught me how to tuft caribou hair at the patio table. We lived in the kitchen and on the patio, and had so many great conversations around those two big tables. I expect the trees are still buzzing. I, for one, hope to return to write and make art in that wonderful space. I grew up in a big log cabin, and it was like coming home. I have no writing per se, but I think someone might have pictures of us beading, and there is breathtaking documentation of the light tipi on our final night. All I have for you is this Facebook post, but it gives you a tiny peek into my experience. Please feel free to share. Thank you all for preserving and caring for Woodhaven and sharing it with artists.
SFR FB Post:
    • The creek sings constantly. Yesterday five eagles circled overhead. This morning a horse is whinnying. I love Woodhaven. [29 likes]
    • FB Friend:  Where is woodhaven?
    • Sherry Farrell Racette A big log cabin in the Woodhaven Eco park on the edge of Kelowna where five artists have been staying at UBC Okanagan
    • FB Friend: Ah! beautiful. have a wonderful time!
    • Sherry Farrell Racette A deer with spotted fawn this morning.

(Photos by Emily MacMillen)

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