Dear ECU Community,
June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada and June 21 marks National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a time to learn about the rich cultures, traditions and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples who have lived throughout these lands since time immemorial.
While the work of reconciliation and decolonization must be incorporated into our day-to-day lives, these annual occasions create an opportunity to consciously carve out time to deepen our understanding of how history continues to shape the present. More than that, these occasions invite us to harness the present to help shape a better future.
Looking around the province, we see a place characterized by an unparalleled diversity of Indigenous histories, cultures and languages. There are more than 200 First Nations in BC. More than 34 First Nation languages are spoken in the province. This is more than half of all First Nation languages in Canada. A number of other Indigenous languages are also spoken here, such as Michif, the Métis language and Inuktitut.
How do we begin to explore such incredible diversity?
In truth and reconciliation, we begin by looking for the truth. And we can find that truth right where we stand. Indigenous cultures and languages connect to the land across every part of this country. We can learn about what that means locally. The places we work, live and spend our time all have dynamic, living histories. These are our unique connections.
Whether we’re settlers or Indigenous to the land, when we learn about our place within these histories and build from there, we are strengthening our community. We are deepening our connection to the Nations on whose territories we live as guests, to our neighbours and to the land itself.
We are also engaging in the practice of open, respectful interrelation that created the extraordinary linguistic and cultural diversity that continues to evolve throughout Indigenous communities, and by which Host Nations around the country welcome settlers and newcomers to their territories.
To that end, we’ve put together a handful of resources to mark the occasion and help bring even greater meaning to your celebrations. You can find them below.
We’d also like to extend an open invitation to join us in joyful celebration of the incredible Indigenous creativity and material practices happening right here within the ECU community. To celebrate Indigenous History Month, the Aboriginal Gathering Place is launching its first Indigenous Art Market featuring more than a dozen artists and designers from the ECU community and local area. On June 8, 9 and 10, you’ll be able to experience art and design work, chat with the artists and experience living knowledge. You can read more about the event online. We hope to see you there!
Connie Watts, Associate Director, Aboriginal Programs
Trish Kelly, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
- Learn more about whose territory you are on and what language is spoken by that Nation with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council interactive map.
- Find resources on Indigenous topics at the ECU Library. You can visit in-person, search for topics online and explore their Indigenous Resources Research Guide that covers Emily Carr University and beyond.
- Take a Decolonization Tour of site-specific artworks at UBC by Indigenous artists and discuss questions around issues of place, space and identity.
- Attend Centering Indigenous Joy: A Celebration of Literature, Arts, and Creativity on Main Street in Vancouver on June 17. The event is free, though donations to the Urban Native Youth Association are encouraged.
- Visit the Vancouver Public Library online to find an event at your local library celebrating Indigenous literature and read books by Indigenous authors.
- Attend the first annual Honouring our Fathers, Grandfathers, and Sons Pow Wow at Britannia Community Centre in Vancouver, organized by the Vancouver Aboriginal Health Society. Taking place over Father's Day weekend (June 16, 17 and 18), the free event will support healing through traditional food, culture, community and coming together.
- Join T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss for In the Presence of Ancestors: Indigenous Tea Making, a free or by-donation workshop to learn how to harvest medicines and how to make them into teas.
- Attend one of the many incredible events taking place over the next month as part of the annual Talking Stick Festival.
- Read more about Indigenous creative practice and practitioners in the Emily Carr Community, including designer and ECU alum Nodin Cutfeet; artist, educator, ECU alum and Manager of Aboriginal Programs Kajola Morewood; designer and ECU faculty member Leo Vicenti; artist Frankie McDonald on the Urban Screen; filmmaker and ECU alum Kenny Welsh; the Lheidli: Where Two Rivers Meet exhibition and publication; artist Caleb Ellison-Dysart; artist and ECU faculty member Mimi Gellman; artist and ECU student Alysha Johnny Hawkins; artist and ECU student Lara Bode; artist and ECU alum Bracken Hanuse Corlett; artist and ECU faculty member Mark Igloliorte; artist and ECU faculty member Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill; and artist, community facilitator, arts administrator and ECU alum Haley Bassett.