Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chief Doug White III

Today morning Karolina had a meeting with Laura Cranmer, who, apart from being a scholar and lecturer at the Vancouver Island University, is also a First Nations playwright. She was very eager to answer all our questions in detail, so instead of speaking on the spot, without preparation, she suggested she would write out her thoughts in an e-mail instead.

In the Kwulasulwut Garden, VIU Campus.
At ten we had a special meeting scheduled. Professor Lane single-handedly arranged for us to have a short interview with Chief Doug White III, the chief of the Snuneymuxw. We drove to his office at the Snuneymuxw Administrative House (a photograph of the totem pole carved at the entrance of this building was part of an earlier post), where he greeted us very warmly with gifts: a beautifully carved wooden piece of a spool, which is the only carving that is not considered sacred by the Snuneymuxw, and a copper pin for each of us. We talked about the role of a First Nations Chief in contemporary Canada, and about the serious legal issues Aboriginal peoples face in their interaction with the Canadian State. We also widely discussed the 1854 Treaty between the Snuneymuxw and the Crown, and how it’s still not entirely recognized by the Canadian government, which raises a lot of contention among the community. The Chief was very glad to see us and was grateful for the interest we showed in the Snuneymuxw community. The funny thing was, he wasn’t anything like we had imagined – first of all, he was much younger than we had expected, and secondly, there wasn’t a stitch of stereotype about him! :P

With Chief Doug White III.
At one we had our presentation. It was supposed to be in a class, but it was apparent very quickly that there were too many people present, so we had to move it to the Malaspina Theatre, where we went to see Laura Cranmer and Eliza Gardiner’s Colloquium and the play “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”, so we were a bit nervous beforehand. Regardless, our presentation went without a hitch, and we’re very happy how it came out. Afterwards, we spent a nice afternoon with our new Polish friends.

Before the Presentation, With Bob Lane, Professor Lane's Father.

During the Presentation.

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