Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

Posts tagged ‘Indigenous BC’

Memorial for the Kamloops Residential School, Robson Square, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Vancouver: Memorial for the Kamloops Residential School

In late-May 2021, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced the discovery of 215 children buried in a mass grave at a former residential school near Kamloops, British Columbia; ground-penetrating radar was used to locate the remains.

During a period of 160 years, the Government of Canada in concert with churches constructed residential schools in a state-sponsored process of “aggressive assimilation” to make children of Indigenous people “less aboriginal and more white” with instruction in English and Christianity in order to erase the children’s traditions and cultural ties.

More than 150-thousand children were sent to some 130 residential schools across Canada between 1830s and the 1990s. Forcibly removed from their homes and parents, children of Indigenous peoples were forced into the schools where they faced neglect and physical and sexual abuse. Physical records indicate a total of over 4000 children deaths; the actual number is very likely much higher. Many children were not buried properly, parents were not notified about what happened to their children: many children who were forced into residential schools never returned home. For years, survivors have told their stories about what happened inside those schools: there is every expectation more mass graves and more children will be found.

The systematic removal of indigenous children from their families disrupted, divided, and destroyed living generations of indigenous families, robbing people of their respective culture and language and the wealth of lived experiences shared between generations. According to the terms and definitions laid out in the 1948 United Nations’ Convention, Canada committed genocide against their Indigenous Peoples. The destructive effects of white colonialism upon Indigenous Peoples in the country is not only historical but continues today with inequity, intransigence, obstruction and obfuscation, and injustice.

A makeshift memorial was quickly created at the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery at Robson Square. It’s worth noting the Art Gallery is presently housed in the former provincial court house which opened in 1911 and would have served as a “legal” instrument of white- and settler-colonialism. That this National Historic Site is the location of an improvised tribute to the loss of life and dignity caused by state-sponsored acts of genocide is an enormous juxtaposition.

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada.


Memorial for the Kamloops Residential School, Robson Square, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com Memorial for the Kamloops Residential School, Robson Square, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com
Memorial for the Kamloops Residential School, Robson Square, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“Are we human?”

Memorial for the Kamloops Residential School, Robson Square, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com
Memorial for the Kamloops Residential School, Robson Square, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“Bring our children home.”

Memorial for the Kamloops Residential School, Robson Square, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

As a resident of Vancouver, I’m a guest on unceded traditional territory and land of the Coast Salish First Nations: Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam). I made all images above on 1 June 2021 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-l2C.

T'uy't'tanat-Cease Wyss, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday at Vancouver AG: T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss

Above/featured: K’axwch’k Nexw7y’ay’ulh (Turtle Journeys), from the Sacred Teachings series, 2018.

T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss: Skwxwú7mesh, Stó:lō, Métis, Kanaka Maoli, Irish, Swiss.

The snap above is from a video which shows the artist’s Hawaiian cultural and spiritual mentor, Happy Kahuna Pahia. In the light of dusk at Papa’iloa Beach on the leeward side of O’ahu in Hawaii, we see her lying beside a ‘honu’, a green sea turtle, who’s come to rest on shore and harden her shell after travelling great distances in the ocean.


“Transits and Returns” presents the work of 21 Indigenous artists whose practices are both rooted in the specificities of their cultures and routed via their travels. These forces of situatedness and mobility work in synergy and in tension with one another, shaping the multiple ways of understanding and being Indigenous today. Within the exhibition, these dual realities are explored through themes of movement, territory, kinship and representation, with many artworks inhabiting multiple categories. The resulting presentation foregrounds the creative sovereignty of each artist to determine their own articulations of the world, while also exploring the resonances between them.

Featuring artists from local First Nations, as well as those from communities located throughout the Pacific region (ranging from Alutiiq territory in the north to Māori lands in the south, with many mainland and island Nations in between), Transits and Returns traces wide-ranging experiences that are inclusive of both ancestral knowledges and global connections.

The descriptions are directly from the Vancouver Art Gallery where T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss’ video installation is on exhibition until 23 February 2020. With her work as artist and ethnobotanist, she was named by the Vancouver Public Library as Indigenous Storyteller in Residence for 2018.

I made the photo above on 15 Oct 2019 with a Fujifilm X70. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-g51.

Marianne Nicolson, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday at Vancouver AG: Marianne Nicolson

Above/featured: ‘Oh, How I Long for Home’ (2016).

I first saw this work warmly illuminating the empty concourse late at night in the Academic Quadrangle at my alma mater of Simon Fraser University. It’s great even more eyeballs can see this on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Marianne Nicolson: Dzawada’enuxw, Scottish.

The Kwak’wala phrase “Wa’lasan xwalsa kan ne’kakwe” translates into the English title of this artwork, ‘Oh, How I Long for Home’, while also referencing the dawn. This double meaning could be interpreted as the rising sun ‘returning home’ each day and as a poetic assertion of Kwakwaka’wakw People’s sovereignty over their lands and waters, which includes Nicolson’s home community of Gwa’yi or Kingcome Inlet along the central coast of British Columbia in Canada. Yet the neon sign – which was, at one time, ubiquitous in the streets of Vancouver – is also a marker of urban life, a site of conflicted promise for Indigenous Peoples. Longing for home is an experience with which many can identify, one that’s further complicated when considering the unceded territories upon which British Columbia is built, and the impossibility of returning to a home prior to colonization.


“Transits and Returns” presents the work of 21 Indigenous artists whose practices are both rooted in the specificities of their cultures and routed via their travels. These forces of situatedness and mobility work in synergy and in tension with one another, shaping the multiple ways of understanding and being Indigenous today. Within the exhibition, these dual realities are explored through themes of movement, territory, kinship and representation, with many artworks inhabiting multiple categories. The resulting presentation foregrounds the creative sovereignty of each artist to determine their own articulations of the world, while also exploring the resonances between them.

Featuring artists from local First Nations, as well as those from communities located throughout the Pacific region (ranging from Alutiiq territory in the north to Māori lands in the south, with many mainland and island Nations in between), Transits and Returns traces wide-ranging experiences that are inclusive of both ancestral knowledges and global connections.

The descriptions are directly from the Vancouver Art Gallery where Dr. Nicolson’s work is on exhibition until 23 February 2020.

I made the photo above on 15 Oct 2019 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime (18.5/28) with the following settings: 1/105-sec, f/4, and ISO4000. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-g4n.

Great Hall, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, First Nations, fotoeins.com

🇨🇦 National Indigenous Peoples Day (21 June) & Indigenous Artists

Above/featured: Great Hall, Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver – 5 May 2017 (6D1).

In Canada, National Aboriginal Day is held on or near the same day as northern summer solstice to celebrate language, culture, and tradition on the longest day of the year. In 1996, then Governor-General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, proclaimed June 21 as National Aboriginal Day. In 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the change to National Indigenous Peoples Day to include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis indigenous peoples.

To highlight some wonderfully engaging work by contemporary indigenous artists, I provide examples of art seen and exhibited in both Vancouver and Seattle.


( Click here for images and more )

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