Vancouver Island University, in association with BC Studies, hosted the multidisciplinary BC Studies Conference in 2017, on the theme (Un)Settling British Columbia. The conference was held May 4 - 6, 2017.
In the prize-winning book Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call, Arthur Manuel strikes a hopeful note by suggesting that “the flood waters of colonialism are, at long last, receding” (223). Nonetheless, the arrival and settlement of non-Indigenous peoples and species in North America utterly transformed relationships and environments, and the legacies of colonialism remain profound.
Unsettling British Columbia means acknowledging and confronting these legacies, disturbing traditional perspectives of the province, and reexamining its economic, social and political systems.
(Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2017-06-20) Moore, Jacky
The turn of the twentieth century was a time when it was believed Aboriginal population
numbers were rapidly declining. As the prevailing belief in the demise of these people
persisted, a belief that continued into the 1930s, artists, writers and photographers were
keen to preserve a record of a vanishing race through the lens of photography, artistry and
words, perpetuating the enduring image of Aboriginal people. With reference to First Nation women, in particular Nuu’Chah’Nulth women, I want to
consider the photographs of Edward Curtis in the context of political, cultural and social
change, and consider how photographs have shaped and continue to shape people’s
understanding of First Nation people by allowing negative cultural stereotypes to be
(Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2017-06-19) Southern, Chelsea
My presentation is on individual and collective relationships with BC’s coastal landscape in Roderick Haig-Brown’s novel, "On the Highest Hill". Using the main character, Colin Ensley, I consider how individualism and collectivism play out in his relationship with the land. This paper asks large questions (although it does not answer them), such as what does BC’s natural landscape mean to people? Do people tend to think of the landscape objectively, spiritually or both? Are people’s perceptions of the BC landscape today much different than those in the 1930s?
(Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2017-06-15) Manuel, Ska-Hiish; Diabo, Russell; Schabus, Nicole; Mandell, Louise
The theme for the 2017 BC Studies conference, "(Un)Settling British Columbia" was influenced by the work of Arthur Manuel and his book "Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-up Call" (2015, written with Grand Chief Ron Derrickson). Manuel was originally asked to be the keynote speaker for the conference, but sadly, he passed away in January 2017, leaving a powerful legacy shaped by his lifelong fight for the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and around the world. To acknowledge and honour Manuel, the conference featured this plenary session. The session is moderated by VIU Chancellor, Louise Mandell, and features Manuel's son, Ska-Hiish Manuel; friend, Russell Diabo; and partner Nicole Schabus. Together the panel addressed the question with which Arthur Manuel entitled one of his last articles: "What are you going to do about it?"
(Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2017-05-04) Rossiter, David; Burke Wood, Patricia
Over the course of the last decade and a half, we have interrogated key intersections of the political economy of natural resource development and ongoing geographic strategies of colonialism in BC. Studying Gordon Campbell’s obstructionist referendum on treaty rights and his subsequent pivot to campaign for a “new relationship” taught us that reconciliation in the context of neoliberalism will necessarily be incomplete, particularly in the context of insecure provincial territorial sovereignty. Studying both Northern Gateway pipeline proponents’ discursive and legal strategies for fixing territory for the investment of capital and First Nations’ politics of refusal and assertions of sovereignty in the face of these strategies has reinforced and highlighted for us the fact that the BC polity rests upon an unstable material-ideological foundation of land and title arrangements. Underlying differences in understandings of property, and how these differences have been used to secure citizenship for some and undermine it for others, raise once more the fundamental question of what are desirable core geographical organizing principles for the relationship between indigenous peoples and settler society in Canada generally, and BC in particular? Our analyses of the (post)colonial geographies of lands and resources in BC suggest that unsettling British Columbia’s status quo will require reengagement with the foundational geographies envisioned by indigenous parties to treaties with settlers on Turtle Island though the metaphor of the two-row-wampum.