Erenlai - Displaying items by tag: totem
Monday, 21 November 2011 17:52

Farewell Dance with the Kwakwa-ka-wakw

U'mista Cultural Centre, Alert Bay, Vancouver Island

The U'mista Cultural Centre, founded in 1980 was a project to house 'potlatch' artefacts which had been seized by the government during an earlier period of cultural repression. The return of the potlatch artefacts provided the name of the centre - U'mista's or 'the return of something important', and provided the motivation behind the creation of a physical facility and Tsalala dance troupe. U'mista's operations include the running of a modern museum and cultural education facility, an extensive art gallery and gift shop, group tours, and presentations by dance troupes.

The group spent a whole day on this beautiful island at the mouth of U’mista centre, where they saw the remains of a Canadian Residential School, a legacy from the days when the Canadian government was attempting to educate and conform the Indians to European cultural standards, religion and way of life After a few of the students took a ceremonial dip in the freezing saltwater we were taken to the ceremonial house of gathering where the students observed and shared traditional dance performances with the Tasala dance troupe. This process learnt about their respective cultures...but also to further know themselves through the eyes of the other.

For readers in China:

Filmed by C. Phiv and D. Chen, edited by C. Phiv, subtitled by Adrienne Chu

"U’mista, the final stop on our journey was also the one that left me the most lasting impression. As we arrived they happily performed a traditional dance to express welcome. During the performance, we saw lively, enthusiastic kids, unsparingly displaying outstanding postures and flexibility. I now truly understand the meaning of the totem poles standing between the city and the countryside – with the creation of an environment you demonstrate respect for culture; with respect for culture, you create an invisible unity, and from this united spirit, the Indigenous people will find the roots of their family."
Yabax Hayung (College of Nursing, National Taipei University of Health and Nursing Sciences, Atayal Nation)


umista_improvised-dance

 

"I was very moved to find that every time a government representative or civil group talked to us they would start off by introducing which First Nations traditional tribal lands we were on. While the terms First Nation in Canada and Indigenous in Taiwan express similar things, and in both countries they recognize the precedence of the arrival of our peoples, in Taiwan when do you ever hear someone start off by introducing a story of the land and which Indigenous group used to live there?"
Yahu Kunaw (Department of Indigenous Languages and Communications, National Dong Hwa University, Atayal Nation)

Photos by C. Phiv

 


Monday, 21 November 2011 16:58

Totems, Canoes and Sisiutl Serpent Spoons

Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

After receiving the lecture at the Department of Anthropology, we were guided through the Museum of Anthropology, founded in 1949, which houses over 38 000 ethnographic objects. Of particular interest to our students is that MOA is a world leader in collecting Aboriginal artefacts and there are approximately 6,000 objects from B.C's First Nations in MOA's collections, from totem poles, to canoes and carved boxes, bowls, and feast dishes. Furthermore the museum has an innovative storing methods and interactive software and hardware allowing one to explore the collections from the touch-screen computer or from the Internet. Visiting the MOA was an excellent opportunity for us to see how they run the museum to inspire curiosity, understanding and respect of other world cultures, while promoting innovation and inclusiveness. With the historical and anthropological background it was also a chance for our troupe to explore and share the similarities and differences between their Indigenous cultures.

For readers in Mainland China:

Filmed by C. Phiv, edited by Nick Coulson, subtitled by Adrienne Chu

"Despite not being huge, the Museum of Anthropology, UBC, made excellent use of space, using a system of wooden drawers, which could pulled out be viewed as flat exhibitions. They also made excellent use of new media, with a network of Macs with touch screen systems and practical, easy to use MOACAT digital library database system. As the ‘technology’ island, does Taiwan not have more potential to progress in this area?"
Yahu Kunaw (Department of Indigenous Languages and Communications, National Dong Hwa University, Atayal Nation)

ubc_museum_inside

Photos: Shuching Hsueh


Wednesday, 16 November 2011 20:01

First Stop on the Spirit-Catching Train

Klahowya Village, Stanley Park, Vancouver City

After spending the morning sightseeing around Vancouver City, at the Queen Elizabeth Park, Chinatown and the pinnacle of western welfare states in action at less well-to-do end of East Hastings, we then moved on to the first major cultural exchange in our trip. Stanley Park covers 400 hectares of evergreen land close to downtown Vancouver. During the summer months from May to September the Vancouver Park Board has transformed a part of Stanley Park into an Aboriginal summer village, the Klahowya Village Park, a vibrant cultural experience of song, dance, art and cuisine. They offer storytelling, spirit catching train rides, two daily dance performances, Aboriginal cuisine and daily cultural tours including specific ‘Nations days’. There are also crafts, with artisans working on-site doing woodcarving and weaving, which you can have a go at making yourself or buy from their store. This setup was particularly relevant to the Taiwanese students exploring cultural enterprise as a way of reaching financial autonomy, a necessary condition of long-term political autonomy. We hoped to take this opportunity to understand how Klahowya village uses ecological tourism and cultural enterprise to initiate cultural revival and also provide jobs for local aborigines, in a way that is respectful to their traditions and people.

"We began our journey at Klahowya Village, Stanley Park, where we witnessed the collaboration between the First Nations and the government on a cultural enterprise project of sustainable management and promotion. From May to September every year, Klahowya Village becomes a small tribe with the aims of cultural preservation and promotion. We were lucky to experience one of their exorcism ceremonies, a village train ride and to take part in a traditional dance dialogue. The exorcism ceremony, in which ash and leaves are waved over the body, was very similar to that of the Amis’ culture."
Ibu Isliduan (Department of Indigenous Languages and Communication, National Dong Hwa University, Bunon Nation)

"Not being able to say “No” to others is a weakness. We compromise easily, thus our life, studies and even culture are taken advantage of by others. In Klahowya Village, after an elder shared his music and dance, one journalist came to ask him to do it again. He refused and said, “Culture is not a tool of marketing nor consumption, is our dignity.”"
Takun Neka (Department of Public Affairs, Ming Chuan University, Atayal Nation)

For readers in Mainland China:

Video filmed by Cerise Phiv and Diane Chen, edited by Cerise Phiv and Nick Coulson, subtitled by Yen-ching Chu

Photo courtesy of Laurent Vu-The


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