National Indigenous History Month
June 4, 2021
National Indigenous History Month at Vancouver Island Regional Library
Friday, June 4, 2021, Vancouver Island, BC – There’s a lot happening at Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) for National Indigenous History Month (NIHM) this June.
National Indigenous History Month Challenge
Inspired by the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge©, VIRL has launched an external challenge for customers, encouraging them to take one action per day to further their understanding of local Indigenous communities, the ongoing effects of colonization, and engage with the many amazing Indigenous content makers, artists and creators in our communities.
Anyone interested in participating in the challenge can visit virl.bc.ca/20-iphmc/ to download the challenge booklet and get started.
Indigenous People’s Day Virtual Maker Workshop
In partnership with the Nanaimo Art Gallery, VIRL is hosting a virtual cedar weaving workshop with artist Violet Elliott/SNU’MEETHIA.
“An elder once told me that you are asking for the skin of a tree, so you have to go to the cedar tree with the utmost respect and put your hand on the tree and ask for permission,” she says. “We only take what we need. We believe we are one with the universe so we believe that’s my relative so I’m going to respect the cedar tree as much as I respect family and friends. I can’t be a weaver by myself so it’s a family event…I couldn’t do this work without any of them.”
In this virtual session, participants will learn to weave a headband with sacred traditional cedar. The limited number of cedar kits are all spoken for, but anyone interested in participating can use ribbon to follow along and learn this traditional skill. Starting on Indigenous People’s Day (June 21) and running until July 21, participants can watch the virtual workshop with Violet.
The workshop will be streamed on VIRL’s Youtube channel, starting June 21. More information about the workshop is available here.
About Violet Elliott/SNU’MEETHIA
Violet is cedar weaver from from Snuneymuxw, Stzuminus, Penalekut, and Cowichan First Nations now residing in Quamichan (Duncan). Violet has been weaving for over 25 years and her baskets, hats and purses are one-of-a-kind works of intricate traditional art. Her workshops impart the cultural values of working with cedar beyond the weaving techniques. Violet has primarily worked in the counselling/facilitating field, teaching history and impacts of colonization and Indian Residential Schools.
VIRL Commissions a Piece of Art from Métis Artist, Jean Paul Langlois,
Acclaimed Métis artist, Jean Paul Langlois, has created a custom piece of art for VIRL called Raven My Friend.
When asked to describe the piece, Langlois says: “Being approached to do this project got me thinking about my knowledge of Indigenous history and how most of it came from settlers. The sometimes-staged photographs of Edward Curtis, the book Stolen Continents by Ronald Wright, and the Royal BC Museum. Countless hours were spent skipping school, and lounging on the couches of the room that had a movie repeating the Haida origin story about the raven freeing the people from the giant clam. ‘Raven my friend….’ I can still hear the narrator’s voice perfectly.”
A high-resolution version of the piece is available free of charge for download.
About Jean Paul Langlois
Jean Paul is a Métis artist from Vancouver Island, currently painting in East Vancouver. His work is informed by television and cinema, particularly Westerns, 70s sci-fi and Saturday morning cartoons.
Using ultra-saturated colours, references to art history and well-worn cinema tropes, he seeks to understand the alienation to his own cultural backgrounds, both indigenous and settler.
His work is an examination of his own life, through the reinterpretation of family stories using characters and motifs from the pop culture he was weaned on. The result is a very recognizable style of familiar figures in their own world of bright colours and flattened space.
More information about Langlois is available on his website.
For more information about NIHM events and everything else happening at VIRL, visit virl.bc.ca.
For more information
David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Vancouver Island Regional Library