So having found a severe shortage of archival images of the historical buildings that I want to photograph, I’m working on a couple of the suggestions made in a recent ROW hangout whereby I’m trying to incorporate some aspects of the unceded territory of the Secwepemc People into my work. Some quotes below will help establish some context and which I will later incorporate into my assignment. Just placing them here for easy reference later. I have been incredibly frustrated though, with the lack of website maintenance on most of the websites that I have researched regarding background/historical or even current information on the Secwepemc Nation. Just when Google throws up a link that looks like it has what I’m looking for it turns out to be a 404. Arghhh!
(Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., 2014)
- That unique status – a province mostly built on territories that were never ceded through treaty, war or surrender by the original inhabitants – goes back more than 150 years. As a result, uncertainty has dogged economic development in the province, while the courts have been increasingly firm that the Crown in B.C. does not have clear title to the land and its resources.In the rush to establish the colony of British Columbia, governor James Douglas skipped over the stage of negotiating treaties. In 1859, he issued a proclamation that declared all the lands and resources in British Columbia belong to the Crown. At that time, the colony had about 1,000 Europeans and an estimated 30,000 Indigenous people.
- “A territorial or land acknowledgement is an act of reconciliation that involves making a statement recognizing the traditional territory of the Indigenous people who called the land home before the arrival of settlers, and in many cases still do call it home.”
- School districts, unions, universities, municipalities all take time at the beginning of meetings or gatherings to acknowledge the traditional territory of the local nations where the meeting is taking place. Regardless of whether or not Indigenous Peoples are attending the event, this acknowledgement is important for reconciliation and reframing how we think about land as Canada tries to repair the damage of our colonial past.”
- We acknowledge and give honour to the Secwepemc — the ancestral peoples who have lived here for thousands of years — upon whose traditional and unceded land Thompson Rivers University is located. The Secwepemc maintain a spiritual and practical relationship to the land, water, air, animals, plants and all things needed for life on Mother Earth. It is with that in mind that we owe this debt of gratitude.
(Indigenous TRU | Thompson Rivers University, s.d.)
- The Board of Education acknowledges that it is situated on the traditional territory of the Secwepemc people.
(School District 83)
So I’ve been working on two alternative options simultaneously, and I like certain aspects of both on certain photos. I don’t think I can combine the alternatives in one set though. (Please click on images to enlarge).
Fig 1 Church/First Nations Chiefs
Fig 2 Church/Raven. Raven =symbol of knowledge, creativity, catalyst for change, often depicted as a trickster.
Fig 1 and 2 – I actually like both versions. I have tried to size the people in the images proportionally. I like the way I have managed to incorporate the Raven symbol into the tree in Fig 2. I know the way of viewing the images will probably be different in both sets. The viewer will have to search a bit for the symbols in the right hand set of images and I know non-Canadians/Americans might have some problem knowing what to look for so those images would definitely need some type of caption that relates to the symbol. (Thought: Raven = symbol of knowledge – might be better to use a school. Planning on shooting one during my next photoshoot).
Fig 3 Brown House/Interior Chiefs
Fig 4 Brown House/Owl. Owl = symbol of wisdom and warning of difficult times ahead.
I’m not sure about Fig 3 and 4. While I used the door of the house as a guide to resize the group of Interior Chiefs, the group still looks out of proportion and just plain uncomfortable – not sure why. The owl in Fig 4 is a little difficult to discern properly even though the red colour does pop out at one. The First Nations art work is mainly done in red, black and white so I don’t want to lose that authenticity. Maybe I should look at another bird or animal for this image?
Fig 5 Grey House/Secwepemc Chief
Fig 6 Grey House/Crow
I think Fig 5 is one of my favourites so far. The Chief looks like a ghostly character and reminds me a little of Shimon Attie’s Writing on the Wall project. I’m trying to use the symbols in a natural setting as far as possible. I haven’t managed to find the symbolic meaning of the crow in the local lore yet, so I may end up substituting it for another.
Fig 7 White House/Women Tanning Hide
Fig 8 White House/Beaver. Beaver = good work ethic and determination, with a strong sense of family values
Although I resized the woman according to the door size, I’m not sure if she is large enough. It was rather fortuitous that the house has this frame situated next to it that I could use to situate the women in. I think it works … I do rather like the beaver image on the side of the house. I had to skew it slightly to maintain the same perspective as the windows.
Fig 9 White Church/Siwash Madonna and Child
Fig 10 White Church/Eagle. Eagle = spiritual messenger for the people as he brings prayers up to the Creator.
Another of my favourite sets so far. I think the Siwash woman and child going up the hill to the little church integrate well. I have tried to place the Eagle symbol over the centre of the church roof to connote the prayers going up to the Creator and I think this translates well. As I mentioned before, all the right hand images will depend heavily on a relay text.
A couple of thoughts have just occurred to me. What will the set of images look like in B&W? How would a combination of the people and symbols work?
I will get some feedback on the images from the Documentary hangout later today.
Board in brief – School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) (s.d.) At: https://sd83.bc.ca/2018/10/17/board-in-brief/ (Accessed 21/11/2019).
Chapman, D. (2018) June 2018: Acknowledging an unceded territory – R.J. Haney Heritage Museum. At: https://www.salmonarmmuseum.org/blog/acknowledgement.htm (Accessed 21/11/2019).
Hunter, J. (2017) ‘Horgan’s acknowledgment of unceded Indigenous territory a milestone for B.C.’ 22/10/2017 At: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/horgans-acknowledgment-of-bcs-unceded-territory-part-of-a-path-forward/article36686705/ (Accessed 21/11/2019).
Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (2014) Why you should avoid using “Crown Lands” in First Nation consultation. At: https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/why-you-should-avoid-using-crown-lands-in-first-nation-consultation (Accessed 21/11/2019).
Indigenous TRU | Thompson Rivers University (s.d.) At: https://www.tru.ca/indigenous.html (Accessed 21/11/2019).