Brenda Crabtree giving a presentation on drum makingBrenda Crabtree giving a presentation on drum makingBrenda Crabtree giving a presentation on drum makingStudents preparing drum skins
Well, things are busy yet again this week, with another presenter, this time from Emily Carr University–Brenda Crabtree.  Brenda came here to teach us about first nations history on the coast and in BC, plus she is co-ordinating a drum making workshop.  It has been a very full two days.  Brenda brought with her a student from Emily Carr, Luke Parnell, who is currently working on his masters at the university.

There is a very thin line between art and history, this is the impression that I got when listening to Brenda’s talk.  Historians and archeologists try to re-create a picture of the past in the same way that an artist forms an image out of a vision.  An artist may take an idea that starts off as little more than a notion and, over time, form something that makes perfectly clear what their intent is.  The artist may use certain materials at their disposal, such as a model, object or photo, but ultimately the interpretation is theirs.  In the same way, a historian may use documentation, photos and artifacts to mold a picture of what might have been; but ultimately, the interpretation is theirs.

Now, an interpretation will be guided by the beliefs and perspective of the interpreter.  The same is for an artist as for a historian.  This is why there is a trend towards aboriginal historians interpreting first nations history.  First nations understand their culture and are best suited to describing it.

BC's Lieutenant Governor, Steven Point

BC's Lieutenant Governor, Steven Point

A certain noteworthy person dropped by the school today, BC’s lieutenant governor, Steven Point.  Steven is an artist, actor and canoe maker, and also the uncle of one of the other students in my class and so he felt quite comfortable.  He went from desk to desk, observing the various pieces and making conversation.  It was good to see him.

Another person who came to the class today was Yukon artist Aaron Smarch.  Aaron is the son of artist, Keith Smarch.  Aaron will be with us for a month in order to observe and report back to his peers and promote the school.  Not too many people have been to the school who are from the Yukon, and having Aaron give a first hand account to his friends and acquaintances is good for the school.

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