Student exhibit explores complex issues

Ashcroft and Cache Creek students create works of art while learning about aboriginal history. Exhibition on March 7 at the high school.

Ashcroft and Cache Creek students have been working with The Melawmen Collective (An Aboriginal Arts and Music Collective based in Ashcroft, founded by Meeka Morgan) since October, learning aboriginal history through storytelling, with a focus on the creation of introspective and reflective pieces in the mediums of  acrylic on canvas, spoken word and original songs, digital art, mixed media portraits, and others.

Through many workshops, students from Gr. 4-12 were able to develop a more in depth understanding of our own local history, from an aboriginal perspective. They explored historical documents such as the “Memorial to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Premier of the Dominion of Canada: From the Chiefs of the Shuswap, Okanagan, and Couteau Tribes of BC, 1910” (the nations are now called the Secwepemc, Syilx, and N’lakapamux), which was a letter telling the story of the experience of colonization, affirming the nation’s collective title to their territories, as well as the effects of colonization on the people. Check it out online at: The letter is beautifully written (translated by James Teit, explorer and ethnographer), showing the heart of the people.

Also explored were the impacts on families of the Secwepemc people in this area in the last 60 years, through readings of a variety of poetic narratives, contemporary aboriginal art and music, and work with a multitude of artists and musicians from the local area.

The workshops brought many complex issues to light. There were evident feelings of anger, denial, guilt, sadness, powerlessness and expressions of misunderstanding and apology. Yet these feelings only added to the power of the pieces, and were only part of the process that brings understanding between all of us that make up our beautiful country’s people. When non-aboriginal people came to this territory, they were greeted with feelings of welcome and acceptance. Aboriginal peoples wanted to work with the newcomers to build the country into something “good and great”. It is important that all people realize this, and do not forget that. That is what was envisioned for the foundation of this work.

Students were encouraged to create their own pieces based on their interests. In less than two months, 11 pieces of spoken word with music as well as original songs, were recorded from the students. One of the songs was a collaborative effort that included a whole class.

We are sending out a public invitation for all to come out and support the powerful work created and exhibited at the Ashcroft Secondary School on March 7. There will be a daytime open house, then a reception at 6 pm. Students as well as The Melawmen Collective will be providing performances for the public at this time as well.

Meeka Morgan

Just Posted

Federal Green Party leader visits Ashcroft

Elizabeth May was in town with Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon Green Party nominee John Kidder

Historic Cornwall fire lookout to get some tender loving care

Volunteers are being sought for a work bee at the lookout in August

Ashcroft resident now in his 25th year of riding to raise funds for BC Lung Association

Wayne Chorneychuk once more getting ready to ride in the Bicycle Trek for Life and Breath

Wildfire smoke can pose serious health risks

Tips to help you stay safe during the smoky summer season

Communities in Bloom judges coming to Ashcroft

All are invited to a meet and greet, where prizes for best gardens and street will be presented

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Most Read