This exhibition’s inspiration came from the Tsilhqot'in First Nation's claim to aboriginal title over land to the south and west of Williams Lake in the B.C. Interior, as well as the 2014 Supreme Court of Canada's unanimous ruling stating that the Tsilhqot'in did have a claim to the region they had historically occupied. This was the first time the Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged that Aboriginal title exists, providing the Tsilhqot'in First Nation the right to choose how these lands will be used.
In Fish Lake on June 13, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the New Prosperity Mine is in an area where aboriginal title does not exist. The Tsilhqot'in leadership decried the ruling. They are concerned the mine development will destroy sacred land and water, specifically Fish Lake, which calls for dewatering.
Chief Russell Myers stressed there was more reconciliation to be done. "It is these moments, as Tŝilhqot'in and Indigenous peoples, that we understand that our place of authority within Canada is not yet being realized. The colonial apparatus of the Crown needs to change and begin developing legislation to move beyond conflict on our homeland."
With this as my point of departure I came up with the name of the exhibition, “enTitle: Our home and Native land / Our home on Native land”, and I reached out to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists from across
Canada whose work I not only admired but also explored our complex relationship with the land and the idea of “Title”. In considering the name of the exhibition I liked the idea of title and entitle. As colonialists we have a long history of entitlement when it comes to land use and ownership and I felt it was also worthy to borrow and subvert a line from our national anthem “Our home and Native Land / Our Home on Native land”.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to all the artists who contributed works to this important conversation: Cori Derickson, Kit Fast, Ronnie Dean Harris, Tsema Igharas, Casey Koyczan, Sheldon Louis, Meagan Musseau, Willow Rector, Nicotye Samayualie, Diana Thorneycroft, Peter von Tiesenhausen, David Wilson and Corinna Wollf.
While we will have an opening on Friday June 5th, we would like to invite the public to join us on Saturday September 14th for a unique all day cultural celebration. The day will feature an artist’s round table, exhibition tour, human library, Indigenous ceremony, food and performance. The days events are free and open to everyone through the generosity of The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the 2019 BC Multiculturalism Grant Program.
Opening Reception | Friday, July 5th 7:00-9:00 pm
Artist Talk + Tour | Saturday, September 14th