A new book highlighting Yukon First Nation artists will be celebrated on Friday May 31 at the new gallery of the Northern Cultural Expressions Society.
Awakening Spirits: Echoes of Ancient Yukon Traditions tells the story of artists at the carving studio in Whitehorse and their historic adventure in building a dugout canoe during the summer of 2009, and the community totem-raising project of fall 2012.
The gorgeous hardcover book features photos of the artists’ work, biographical information about their many successes and cultural contributions, and photos of their 10-week traditional canoe-building experience on the land. Many local photographers contributed images including Robin Armour, Fritz Mueller, Cathie Archbould and others.
The public is invited to attend the book launch on May 31 at the studio in the Yukon Inn Plaza in Whitehorse, from 5pm to 7pm. Refreshments will be served.
Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event for a retail price of $35 per book.
Congrats to ma sissy in law Heather Bell!! Her robe and hat are now part of the Yukon Permanent Art Collection (I have known for a while, but keeping it secret!)
“Heather Callaghan is an emerging artist whose work Sea to Mountain Trade Route Traveler’s Robe and Woven Hat was selected for the collection. Callaghan used cedar and Hawaiian fibres to explore themes such as travel routes and cultural exchange.
“Growing up in Yukon near some of the biggest mountains in the world gave me an adventurous spirit and I have spent many years traveling internationally on cultural exchanges, hiking trips and adventures in ecotourism,” Callaghan said. “It is an honour to have my work in the permanent art collection, to share my stories and to be part of such a great collective vision.” “
Rebecca Belmore often uses the body to address violence against First Nations people, especially women. The woman in Fringe assumes the same reclining pose as the beautiful odalisques depicted by nineteenth- and twentieth-century European artists, but bears an ugly slash from shoulder to hip. The thin rivulets of blood that run from the gash are composed of small red beads, a detail that evokes both Belmore’s Anishinabe heritage and the trauma inflicted on indigenous peoples. Despite the graveness of the woman’s injury, Belmore’s Fringe is also about healing. The wound is not fatal; she has the strength to recover. But the scar will never disappear.
I had the honor to meet Elijah Harper (Ojibwe/Cree) in the summer of 2008 while I was attending the National Screen Institute New Voices program. He was the speaker at our grad.
I have met a lot of famous people in my day (famous famous, not just Native famous) and am generally not phased by them. But on this day, I met one of my Indigenous Heroes. And I was excited.
For those who do not know the history of Mr. Harper, here are just a fraction of things he has done
Residential School Survivor
Chief of the Red Sucker Lake Band
First Treaty Indian in Manitoba to become a provincial politician
In 1990, Harper achieved national fame by holding an eagle feather as he took his stand in the Manitoba legislature and refused to accept the Meech Lake Accord, a constitutional amendment package negotiated to gain Quebec’s acceptance of the Constitution Act, 1982.
The proposed Accord was negotiated in 1987 without the input of Canada’s First Nations.
Meech Lake failed to pass in both Manitoba and Newfoundland, the constitution was not amended.
Elijah Harper is also known for bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples together from across Canada to find a spiritual basis for healing and understanding.
I recommend watching the film based on Harper’s life called ‘Elijah’ (produced by my wonderful teacher at NSI, Lisa Meeches). It gives you more of a picture of what this man is about.
Rest In Peace. This memory will stay with me forever.
Chantal Rondeau is proudly First Nations and Acadian descent. She is a member of the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation in the territory of the Yukon. She grew up in Whitehorse, Yukon two hours away from the traditional territory of the Northern Tutchone. Chantal Rondeau is a writer, a journalist, broadcaster and blogger.
Chantal would love to bring forth Aboriginal issues to the Canadian and American forefront. A quote that Chantal admires and sets as one of her motto’s is from Louis Riel on July 4th 1885 "My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back." Chantal plans on being one of these artists.
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