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The Journey of Objects – Artist Roundtable – Saturday, September 9th, 2017

September 9, 2017 @ 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM


We will begin the evening with an Artist Talk with Melody Charlie, Ahousaht on her Indigenous Resilience photography installation: Through the lens of Melody Charlie, we are invited into the intimate world of close knit communities that are building resiliency through a resurgence of spirituality and traditional practices. Melody’s candid shots of the day to day life of coastal Indigenous Peoples, remind us about what connects us all.

Artist and Culture Keeper Roundtable

Artists and culture keepers will share the incredible potential of reconnecting archival items back into the context of living communities and cultures. Expect to never walk into a museum the same again.

Thousands of carvings created from the flesh of this land have travelled the world carrying the story of this place with them. Cultural items such as headdresses, masks, totem poles, clubs, boxes, bowls, and rattles from our region are spread out through museums and private collections around the world. Some of these objects were utilized and cared for by coastal peoples for generations before being traded out of our communities. Others were created to satisfy the curiosity and interests of early traders to gain access to european goods. During the illegalization of Aboriginal ceremonial practices in Canada, anthropologists eager to document and study “vanishing cultures” further fueled the looting of coastal communities. 

After the potlatch ban was lifted a handful of young artists began travelling to visit museums to study and replicate these ancestral carvings under the guidance of the elders alive at that time. These carvers cleared the way for a tidal wave of new carving artists. Today, museums are in various stages of transformation as they reconsider the relationships that these objects have to the communities, families and cultures that created them. 


Lucy Bell – (Haida) Sdaahl K’awaas joined the Royal BC Museum in January 2017 as the Head of the First Nations Department and Repatriation Program. “In this role I look forward to helping other nations bring their ancestral remains and cultural treasures home.” She is the co-founder of the Haida Heritage and Repatriation Society, which has helped coordinate the return of more than 500 Haida ancestors from museums throughout North America and the UK. Besides having a BA from UBC and a diploma from the Aboriginal Cultural Stewardship program, Lucy recently completed her Cultural Resource Management Diploma and a Master’s degree in Indigenous language revitalization from UVIC. She is passionate about the repatriation and revitalization of language resources from museum and archival collections. Lucy has presented on both repatriation and language revitalization at several conferences around the world, advised on the development of a number of exhibitions on Indigenous culture and promoted Haida culture in both print and broadcast


Tania Willard – (Secwepemc) is an independent artist and curator. Willard was the Aboriginal Curator in Residence with the Kamloops Art Gallery and previously with Grunt Gallery in Vancouver. Her curatorial work includes the national touring exhibition, Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture featured at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at the Museum of Anthropology. In 2016 Willard received the Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art from the Hanatyshyn Foundation. Willard’s BUSH gallery is based out of her home territory in Secwepemculecw and opens up space for experimental, Indigenous-led contemporary art practices outside institutionalized spaces. Willard’s archival research draws from a diversity of anthropological sources on Secwepemc culture/language and governance. Citing ideas of refusal and Indigenous futurity to locate agency and land rights struggle within the possible readings of ethnographic subjects her body of work attempts to reassert naming, locating, negotiating and connecting to material culture and ethnographic data in museum and institutional collections.

Jordan Wilson is of European and Indigenous ancestry, and a member of the Musqueam First Nation, whose traditional, ancestral and unceded territory encompasses what is now Vancouver. Jordan was a co-curator of the exhibit cesnam, the city before the city, at the Museum of Anthropology, and a member of the curatorial team for the sister exhibits at Museum of Vancouver and the Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre. He’s  Jordan holds a Masters of Arts in Anthropology (museum studies stream), and a Bachelor of Arts in First Nations Studies, both obtained at the University of British Columbia. His research interests include community collaboration and Indigenous-museum relationships, issues of representation, material culture studies, Indigenous art history, community/oral history, and Indigenous/community-based archaeology.


Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers is a filmmaker, writer, and actor. She is a member of the Kainai First Nation (Blood Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy) as well as Sámi from Norway. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree in First Nations Studies and a Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. She is also an alumni of Vancouver Film School’s Full-time Acting Program. She began her filmmaking career in 2011 with the experimental short, Bloodland. Since then, she has gone on to explore narrative fiction, documentary, mockumentary, music video, and archival video remix. Her work is often community focused and rooted in social justice. She is currently directing a feature-length documentary birthed from the c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city 3-site Museum exhibition with the Musqueam Indian Band, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, and the Museum of Vancouver.


Melody Charlie, Ahousaht. Years of Photo Passion: 23 What inspires you? Humility, Wayne Dyer, fit beings & kindness. Your fav place in the world? In the arms of my little man & on my stand up paddle board. Summer or winter? Winter, I love warming by the woodstove on stormy days, feasting on slow cooked meals, running in the rain when everyone else is trying to cover from it & snuggling up to Human Planet. What is your prized possession? My camera of course. What is the meaning of life? Everything is spirit & everything has purpose. If you weren’t a photographer? Wellness worker. One word that describes you best? Earthy. Any secret aspirations? Fisherwoman, something about harvesting your own food & being on the ocean, makes me feel like I’m in a different world. Do you sing in the shower? I sing everywhere, it drives my little man nuts. Must haves? black licorice tea, my wood stove, gumboots & a good book. The first thing you notice about people? Their energy & their shoes. What makes you happiest? My dreams, his laugh & my next photo!


September 9, 2017
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Event Categories:
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The Shore
368 Main Street
Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0 Canada