Exhibition: “First Nations of the Pacific Northwest – Change and Tradition”

Introduction

From 9/16/2005 to 10/29/2006, the LWL-State Museum of Natural History (LWL-Landesmuseum für Naturkunde in Muenster, Germany) staged the exhibition “First Nations of the Pacific Northwest – Change and Tradition” with a special focus on the Nuu-chah-nulth. It turned out a great success, attracting more than 88,000 visitors.

Particular emphasis was laid on the Nuu-chah-nulth people of the West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia in Canada, from whom most objects were obtained. The exhibition did not include historical objects but only newly made ones, 55 objects in total; many of them had been commissioned especially for this event, like the totem pole, the two house posts and the canoe. The artists presented in this paper are from Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht, Hesquiaht, Ucluelet, Ditidaht, Mowachaht and Makah.

The Martin family from the Tla-o-qhi-aht of Clayoquot Sound contributed a great deal to make the exhibition possible. With their help, many contacts were established and many objects could be purchased.

An exhibition catalogue is available which contains further information. Moreover, this book includes a very important section about Residential Schools entitled Into the Light: Residential School Survivors Speak, a very sad chapter in Canadian history. This chapter was written by photographer and author Jacqueline Windh. She interviewed some individuals about their Residential School experiences.

At the exhibition opening three members of the Martin family were present and guided the visitors through the exhibition. Additionally, they performed some traditional songs and dances, giving the visitors a valuable glimpse of vibrant Nuu-chah-nulth culture.

Annika Hendricks


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