“Thinking through the Canadian Museum for Human Rights”

CMHR "Garden of Contemplation"

The CMHR’s “Garden of Contemplation.” “The First Nations sacred relationship to water is honored, as a place of healing and solace amidst reflections of earth and sky” (www.predock.com/CMHR/CMHR.html). Photograph: Erica Lehrer.

Dr. Erica Lehrer has published an unflinching and generative review of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in volume 67, issue 4 of American Quarterly, titled” Thinking through the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.”

To access the full article, click here. Here is a brief excerpt of the content.

“‘This ice you’re standing on, this is what you’ll be drinking down in Winnipeg next spring. For you, this is life. For people here, it can be death.’ I am shivering along with a dozen Winnipeg-based academics and students listening to Cuyler Cotton, a policy analyst and media relations specialist, in the community of Shoal Lake No. 40 on a mid-January day, looking out across the frozen lake that separates the local band of Ojibway First Nations, inhabitants of Shoal Lake, from access to the nearest highway. One hundred years ago the Canadian government sold this portion of First Nation terrain to the city of Winnipeg to build an aqueduct to supply the urban residents with clean water. As collateral damage, the Shoal Lake No. 40 peninsula was sliced into an island. This intrusion into the landscape left the local people to drink boiled or bottled water and traverse the lake by boat or winter road—treacherous in late fall and early spring with the insufficiently frozen surface—and living amid their own trash and sewage, which leaches into their water supply. Continue reading

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Dr. Patterson speaks at Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts International Conference

Dr. Patterson at her talk in Australia.

Dr. Patterson at her talk in Australia.

On December 11, Dr. Monica Patterson spoke about the Thinking through the Museum project at the Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts International Conference in Adelaide, Australia at the University of South Australia.

Dr. Patterson’s paper, “Difficult Knowledge in Public: Thinking through the Museum” was presented in the Postcolonial Issues in Arts and Culture area during a parallel paper session. Her paper discussed this partnership and the concept of working through difficult knowledge in the context of museum and gallery exhibitions.

Dr. Patterson speaking on "Blackchat" in Sydney, Australia

Dr. Patterson speaking on “Blackchat” in Sydney, Australia

More information on the conference can be accessed at http://stpaconference.org/.

While in Australia, Dr. Patterson was also featured as a guest on guest on “Blackchat”, on Koori Radio in Redfern, Sydney’s only First Nations radio station. She was there to talk about postcolonial issues in arts and culture, and some of the challenges and possibilities for achieving social justice in Canada and the United States.

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Winnipeg Exhibit Site Visits

In recognition of the recent release of the final report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Cultural Studies Research Group (CSRG), led by Dr. Angela Failler, is visiting a number of Winnipeg exhibitions related to truth and reconciliation. On November 27, 2015, the CSRG visited the “We Were So Far Away: The Inuit Experience of Residential Schools” exhibit presented by the Manitoba Inuit Association and the United Way. This visit was followed by a brief tour of the “Forgotten: The Métis Residential School Experience” exhibit presented by Aboriginal Student Support & Community Relations (Red River College) on December 4.

In the new year, the CSRG plans to visit the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (led by research assistant Sylvia Dreaver [Dueck]), the “We Are on Treaty Land” exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), the TRC Exhibit and the Witness Blanket exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, as well as tour the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

As a part of these site visits, our group also uses Museum Ethnography Prompt Sheets to provide an open-ended structure to our visits.

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