On Saturday June 14, 2014, approximately 150 people from the region gathered at the Tla’amin Salish Centre to reflect on our relationships with place, and our responsibilities to each other and the land. The event was called Converging visions: Listening, learning, understanding, and was the result of a number of important partnerships — giving additional meaning to the event’s title.
Powell River Voices (with support from the Taos Institute) and members of the Tla’amin Nation began planning the event together several months prior. It was in the very early stages that the Malaspina Art Society and Community Foundation became significant partners as well, with the bridging of this event with the Powell River artist in residency program. Some of artist Landon Mackenzie‘s work creatively explores changing relationships with place and their implications. Mackenzie is a full professor at Emily Carr in Vancouver, and was invited to do an artists’ workshop in Powell River the same weekend as the Converging Visions event. The artists who participated in Mackenzie’s workshop were invited to contribute art to the Converging Visions event as part of a multi-media installation at the Salish Centre. The art installation circled the hall, and invited participants in the Converging Visions event to take time to reflect on the different interpretations and implications of our varying relationships with this place many of us call home.
In addition to the artists’ work, there was a talk by archaeologist Colleen Parsley about significant findings of a Tla’amin village site at Shelter Point on Texada Island, an intergenerational discussion about changing relationships with the place and what that means for us moving forward, a song performed by local singer/songwriter Devon Hanley, three short locally produced films that share additional perspectives on the importance of our relationships with place, and singing and drumming by talented Tla’amin youth. There was a kids’ corner with nature crafts and stories, delicious food prepared by Maggie Wilson, a thorough timeline of the Tla’amin history posted on the wall, displays by the museum, and more to engage the senses and the imagination. There was also lively participation in discussions around how we might be more deliberate about how we relate with this place as we face difficult political, cultural, and economic realities.
Here is one resource that generated a lot of interest and discussion at the event: a Sliammon-Historical-Timelinein the era of contact with settlers, courtesy of the Sliammon Treaty Society.