40 Chains a Side: Some Resources

To those who argue that they are not responsible, because they were not directly involved with

the residential schools, I say that, as Canadian citizens, we are ultimately responsible

for the past and present actions of our government. To those who say that

we cannot change the past, I say that we can learn from it. We can better understand

how a problematic mentality of benevolent paternalism became a rationale

and justification for acquiring Indigenous lands and resources, and drove the

creation of prescriptive education policies that ran counter to the treaty relationship.

Equally importantly, we can explore how this mentality continues to influence

Indigenous-settler relations today. Failing to do so will ensure that, despite our

vow of never again, Canada will create equally destructive policies and practices

into the future. To those who argue that former IRS students should just get over

it and move on, I say that asking victims to bury a traumatic past for the “greater

good” of achieving reconciliation does not address the root of the problem –

colonialism.

FROM Unsettling the Settler Within, Paulette Regan, UBC president 2010, p.4

I have compiled some resources here that I hope are useful in thinking about Settler responsibility and the ongoing harms of Settler-Colonial structures in so-called Canada. All of this material was useful to me in doing the research for my MFA. Wherever possible, I have provided online links to information; I think it is important to eliminate barriers to information wherever possible. While I recognize this page still requires being able to access to the internet, at least more people in more places can use these tools if I offer them here than could otherwise.

If you are interested, please feel free to investigate the project 40 Chains a Side as a whole.

I have listed resources with web links first in each subject area; all links were current and active March 1 2022. Articles and books that follow these first listings may be accessible through local libraries or through university/college library systems. 

Truth and Reconciliation 

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (links to info and history of the Commission)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission 94 Calls to Action (downloadable PDF)

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2 Spirit People

Final Report (downloadable PDFs)

UBC Research Guide (links and downloadable information and resources)

Interlocutor Interview

Treaty 6

Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations (information and history, PDF downloadable fact sheet)

Treaty 6 (Wikipedia – includes references and links to more info)

Digital Copy of Treaty 6

Text of Treaty 6 + adhesions

Surrender Document for Reserve No.126 (Washatenow)

The Métis

Metis Nation of Alberta (information and history)

Métis Nation of Ontario (history/timeline)

Gabriel Dumont Institute (history, images, resources)

Devine, Heather. “J.Z. LaRocque: A Métis Historian’s Account of His Family’s Experiences during the North-West Rebellion of 1885.” Finding Directions West : Readings That Locate and Dislocate Western Canada’s Past, University of Calgary Press, 2017.

Land and Territory

Native Land (digital interactive map of traditional Indigenous Territories)

Assembly of First Nations (AFN). (land and land claims)

Daschuk, J. 2013. Clearing the Plains. Regina: University of Regina Press. 

Erasmus, P. 2015. Buffalo Days and Nights. Calgary: Fifth House Publishers. 

Russell, D. 1991. Eighteenth Century Western Cree and Their Neighbours. Issue 143 of Mercury Series. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization. 

Disposal” of “Indian Lands”

A good discussion of what “Treaty” actually means in their Land Acknowledgement

Doctrine of Discovery

Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery: A Call to Action

Doctrine of Discovery – Sylvia McAdam 

United Nations Report on Doctrine of Discovery (PDF)

Recommendations of the North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus to the Eleventh Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues re – Doctrine of Discovery (PDF)

Miller, Robert J. and others, Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies (Oxford, 2010; online edn, Oxford Academic, 1 Sept. 2010)

Dominion Land Survey

Dominion Land Survey (Wikipedia – includes references and links to more info)

Ballantyne, Brian, ed. Surveys, Parcels and Tenure on Canada Lands (downloadable PDF)

Dennis, John Stoughton (1892). A short history of the surveys performed under the Dominion lands system, 1869 to 1889. Ottawa: Sessional Notes. 

http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/bibliography/1777/12.html

Library and Archives Canada. “Western Land Grants (1870-1930).” The Wayback Machine

McKercher, Robert B.; Wolf, Bertran (1986). Understanding Western Canada’s Dominion Land Survey System (PDF). Saskatoon: Division of Extension and Community Relations, University of Saskatchewan. ISBN 0-88880-164-5. (downloadable PDF)

Barnett, Douglas E. “The Deville Era: Survey of the Western Interior of Canada.” Alberta History, vol. 48, no. Spring, 2000, pp. 19–25.

Bantjes, Rod. “Groundwork: The Dominion Survey.” Improved Earth: Prairie Space as Modern Artefact, 1869 – 1944, University of Toronto Press, 2005, pp. 15–35.

Larmour, Judy (2005). Laying Down the Lines: A History of Land Surveying in Alberta. Brindle and Glass. 

MacGregor, J. G. Vision of an Ordered Land: The Story of the Dominion Land Survey. Western Producer Prairie Books, 1981.

Settler-Colonialism

Settler Colonialism” (basic introduction to theory with references)

Cox, Alicia. “Settler Colonialism.” Introduction to Oxford Bibliography. (provides list of good articles on the subject)

Whyte, Kyle Powys. “White Allies, Let’s be Honest about Decolonization.

Cuthand, Ruth. “I’m Not the Indian You’re Looking For.

Shaw, Devin Zane. “We Settlers Face a Choice:Decolonization or White Supremacy.”

Go to 15:20 for the start of a powerful and very informative talk by Métis Scholar and Educator Chelsea Vowel.

Here is the abstract of her talk:

Multiculturalism Cannot Contain Multitudes: Towards a Lateral Relationality and Undoing of Settler Colonialism

Chelsea Vowel 

Despite claims to the contrary multiculturalism operates as the inheritor of official and unofficial policies both cultural and economic that are specifically designed to assimilate newcomers into the white supremacist settler colonial state, thereby ensuring the continued existence of Canada. While effort has been made recently to pay homage to Indigenous peoples as a singular founding people alongside the French and British, we continue to represent an existential threat that cannot be reconciled with the stated purpose of multiculturalism which centres awareness and celebration of diverse cultures. This presentation offers as an alternative, a lateral form of relationality based on the Métis/Cree concept of wâhkôhtowin or expanded kinship, with the purpose of undoing white supremacist settler colonialism.

Links to Articles in the Press and Elsewhere, and Talks of Interest:

Irish Times:

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/2022/11/19/manchan-mangan-indigenous-people-ireland-and-guardians-of-old-lore/?fbclid=IwAR2M5M80slYf1bsVa77fsnn1TSoT2gVhpIOs_LqMlVhHgqdCiLcc-V-u-MU

Alexis Shotwell on White Shame

A Talk on Settler Colonial Space

An Article on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and some educational resources

FREE E-BOOKS – good resources!

A Climate Atlas relating Indigenous Knowledges to dealing with Climate Change

A Documentary Film, Lana Gets Her Talk – This brief study of an artist and her work helps us come to some understanding of the trauma experienced by Canada’s Indigenous people in the Indian Residential School system, of its enduring effects on the children of survivors of the IRS, and of one woman’s journey to recover what was lost: dignity, identity, and voice. A story of resilience, Lana’s journey speaks of the power of Indigenous “ways of being” in our time.

Articles and Books (check with Public Libraries or University/College Libraries for copies):

Alfred, Taiaiake. “Foreword.” Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada, by Paulette Regan, UBC Press, 2010, pp. ix–xi.

Battell Lowman, Emma, and Adam J. Barker. Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada. Fernwood Publishing, 2015.

Decter, Leah, and Carla Taunton, eds. Beyond Unsettling: methodologies for decolonizing futures. Public Journal, Fall 2021. vol. 32, no. 64.

Greer, Allan. Property and Dispossession: Natives, Empires and Land in Early Modern North America. Cambridge UP, 2018.

Henderson, Phil. “Imagoed Communities: The Psychosocial Space of Settler Colonialism.” Settler Colonial Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, 2017, pp. 40–56.

Mann, Geoff. “Settler-Colonialism’s Anti-Social Contract.” The Canadain Geographer, vol. 64, no. 3, 2020, pp. 433–44.

Morgensen, Scott Lauria. “The Biopolitics of Settler Colonialism: Right Here, Right Now.” Settler Colonial Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, 2011, pp. 52–76.

Moreton-Robinson, Aileen. “Introduction: White Possession and Indigenous Sovereignty Matters.” White Possessive., University of Minnesota Press, 2015.

Murphyao, Amanda, and Kelly Black. “Unsettling Settler Belonging: (Re)Naming and Territory Making in the Pacific Northwest.” American Review of Canadian Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, 2015, pp. 315–31.

Strakosch, Elizabeth, and Alissa Macoun. “The Vanishing Endpoint of Settler Colonialism.” Arena Journal, vol. 37/38, 2012, pp. 40–62.

Steinman, Erich. “Unsettling as Agency: unsettling settler-colonialism where you are.” Settler Colonial Studies, vol.10, no. 4, 2020, pp.558 – 575.

Tuck, Eve, and K.Wayne Yang. “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeniety, Education & Society. vol. 1, no. 1, 2012, pp. 1-40.

Veracini, Lorenzo. “‘Settler Colonialism’: Career of a Concept.” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 41, no. 2, 2013, pp. 313–33.

Wolfe, Patrick. “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native.” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 8, no. 4, 2006, pp. 387–409.

This String of Moments

I’ve been thinking a good bit over the last few months about self-care, and in particular the need for conscious self-care on the part of artists.

In part these thoughts come from my own understanding of what I need – starting with saying ‘no’ more often – and honouring the fact that I need LOTS of recharge time on my own to be good to and for others and for the community I wish to support and serve. That means fewer opportunities sometimes – which has its own sort of stress. But for me right now, that’s necessary. These thoughts also stem from many conversations (truth to tell, too many) with other artists over the last couple of years about the reality of their lives, and about exhaustion and burnout.

How incredibly focussed and dedicated my colleagues are – and how tired. Juggling jobs (two? three? more???) some of them, to keep head above water in a gig economy. OR, finally landing “THE job” – the one that pays enough to forego the side gigs – just to see time and energy eaten week after week by the needs and demands of the work at hand, because there aren’t enough hands to do the work, or hours in the day … and they are responsible people, who care about their colleagues and the work they do.

And these bright, talented people ask themselves (and have admitted to me): “I wonder if I am still an artist? Can I even call myself that anymore?

That’s a hard thing to hear, especially given that it’s evident how much talent they have and how much they have to offer the world and their community, on all kinds of levels.

SO – why on earth am I talking about this, and interspersing these observations with pictures of autumn leaves, and glancing sunlight, and panorama photos of coastlines and sky?

Because I have the privilege of being able to take some time for myself just now; I have joked that I have “run away” temporarily … but I haven’t really. Not at all.

If anything, I have gone away to be more totally present. I had the opportunity to get away from my home city and all that is familiar, and to spend some time in another part of the country. I jumped at it. I knew I needed the break very badly, and was (and continue to be) incredibly grateful for the good fortune that has allowed me to do this.

To just be for a little while.

To figure a little bit more out – what next, why, what are the limits, how far and hard to push, and in what direction.

What is healthy (for me) … what is healthy for each of us? It can’t be the grind that I see so many people inside, in all walks of life. Is it any wonder so many of us are angry? Sad? Feeling desperate?

Do I have the solutions or answers or tools to help? I have no idea. But I do know that not having the opportunity to just STOP for a little bit, every so often, absolutely precludes the opportunity to consider these questions – and to seek the answers that are right for oneself.

May the world shift in favour of more humane ways of being for all of us.

Tomorrow is another day, and perhaps it will be a good one, for more of us.

Off Again …

Just about to leave for Vancouver for the CARFAC National Conference and AGM!

Looking forward to seeing my colleagues from right across the country, and sharing ideas and practical tools to assist artists.

I am particularly happy that there will be a panel on Indigenous Intellectual & Cultural Property Rights. This is an area of artists’ rights I need and want to learn more about!

I am also really excited to hear updates on two different projects to help artists protect their copyright and earn more for their creative work:

The Prescient Blockchain Project, and the Image Bank and Licensing Platform from Copyright Visual Arts!

It’s going to be a busy few days … but it’s going to be really informative and fun too!

Some thoughts on leaving and coming back

I am preparing to fly West this afternoon, after a busy and very productive several months in various spots in Nova Scotia. A great residency with Scott Smallwood, and new work launched in Parrsboro, at Main & Station. The start of some new and exciting collaborations with Deborah Carruthers and with Susan Tooke.  Time to experiment with cyanotype processes, work on video and audio projects.  Time to hike, to make photographs, to think, to further the long-term process of healing my body (thank you Acupuncture and Massage Therapy!)

It feels like much more time has passed since I was last on ‘home turf’ – or rather, that the tempo and scale of time as I experience it has shifted in a fundamental way – and now I have to find my way back to something more familiar. Not quite there – and I think that’s a very good thing. VERY.

It was a good place and time to be reminded of the diverse (and often very difficult, painful) histories of any given place. How easy it is not to see that – how easy to get lost in the vast beauty of the place – any place – and look but not see. The beauty is part of those histories; it’s woven into the different scales of time inherent in that locale to be sure. Geologic time. Tidal Time. Seasonal Time. Mythic time. Colonial Time (a very slippery fish, this one). Settlement Time. Expulsion Time. Industrial Time. And on and  on … but make no mistake, there’s nothing linear about this.

The ‘present’ as we fashion it in any given moment is its own rabbit hole; a crucial vantage point (and obviously the only one available in a pragmatic sense), but it’s also a very troubled and troubling place from which to assess the relative value of most things and actions and ideas … . The popular narratives that tend to overwhelm all other chatter are still those that yoke the present to doing cartwheels toward the ‘somehow-better-future’. Because, of course  ‘things’ will be ‘improved.’ This is the wish, the hope, and the outcome to be willed into being, somehow.

And under it all, the land remains—a page upon which this story is “written, erased, rewritten,” as author Teju Cole put it. Only memory and history can interrupt this cycle of revision we commonly refer to as progress. And those interruptions are vital, absolutely necessary, if we are to navigate some way toward a better way of existence for ourselves (on all levels), and co-existence with all beings.

Remains to be seen how well I am able to carry these glimmers of understanding forward as I return to the familiar places and routines – but the intent (and hope) is there.  Patience, process, compassion.

Tomorrow!

The CARFAC National Conference and AGM is tomorrow – Saturday, June 3rd!

It’s going to be a good weekend, and it’s exciting to know that here will be visual artists from all over the country here this weekend, discussing issues  and advocacy initiatives pertinent to artists’ careers.

There’s also going to be programming Saturday Evening and Sunday afternoon – so it’s not ‘all work and no play.’

I’m looking forward very much to hearing from other parts of the country, and to reconnecting with artists I haven’t seen for far too long.

Information below – there’s still time to register and join us:

Building your career - Batir votre carrière conference poster final-1Building your career 2- Batir votre carrière conference poster final-2

Bursaries for Artists!

The CARFAC National Conference is coming up soon in Edmonton!

Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC wants to help artists attend, so they are offering bursaries to help with conference costs:

Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC is offering up to six bursaries of $200.00 each to Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC members living outside of the Greater Edmonton area who will be attending the CARFAC National Conference in Edmonton on the weekend of June 2nd to 4th.

These bursaries are based on need.

Applicants need to write an up-to-one page letter describing why a bursary would help. Applications must be in by Thursday May 18th  at 4:00pm. Send the letter to chris@visualartsalberta.com.

They will notify the winners by Saturday, May 20th at 4:00pm.

PLEASE pass this on to any visual artists who may want to attend, but would find the costs of travel a hinderance.

Deadline approaching … a Call of Submissions

I posted about this a while ago – but I know how busy everyone is, so I thought it might be a good idea to post again, before the deadline is upon us all.

Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC is partnering with Latitude 53 Contemporary Visual Culture to present an art-and-activism themed exhibition in June 2017.

This exhibition will coincide with the CARFAC National Conference, which we are hosting in Edmonton this year, on June 3rd.

The goal is to present Alberta – Based Artists who address political issues/advocacy/representation of under-represented voices.

Here’s an image of the Call (and a PDF).

Feel free to pass on to any Alberta Visual Artists that you feel would be interested!

Get the PDF HERE:  Call-for-Submissions-Trumpet