sasqets at sx̌ʷéyəməł, Ronnie Dean Harris, Stō:lo/St’át'imc/Lil’wat/N’laka'pamux 

Artist statement

In late 1951, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh leader Andy Paull wrote an article which would later serve as a eulogy for our Grandfather Chief Kwikwetlem William aka xem-tey-nem. In this article, Andy would recognize important events in our grandfather’s life. From his witness of the first settlers on the river to his attendance and witness to an important historical gathering at Sapperton for then Queen Victoria’s birthday with Governor Frederick Seymour to his assault by an inmate at the Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Hospital. 

Also in this article, was a mention of stories told by our Grandfather Kwikwetlem about how “sasquatches would uproot trees where the City of New Westminster now stands and were seen carrying as many as five salmon on each hand and bales of smoked salmon to their abodes in the forest.” Living in New Westminster, this caught my attention and I wanted to be able to tell this story and explore this memory in this space and time. 

While I often imagine what it would be like to sit with my grandfather, I now wonder what it would be like to hear his stories and memories through eyes of someone who was here “he witnessed the trees whose bows kissed the waters of the Fraser gradually being chopped down” and “lived to see the railroad span the continent”. 

Passage: Who We Are and Where We Come From, Mary Longman, AskiPiyewsiwiSkwew 

Artist Statement

Central Saskatchewan is the traditional territories of the Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Metis and Sioux. 

The rivers of Fort Qu’Appelle and Saskatchewan have been significant passages for travel, trade and cultural exchange for Indigenous people. 

Today, the cultural exchange, immersion and blended families continues. In central Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon area is home to approximately 300,000 Indigenous and Metis people. 

Indigenous and Metis people make up 16% of the population in Saskatchewan and is the second largest ethnic group, with Germans being the majority. 

The work, Passages: Who We Are, Where We Come From,  honours several thousands of years of  history of Indigenous traditional lands and cultural exchange, long before the dark legacy of the relatively recent forced colonial treaties and oppression.  

To honour the history of Indigenous land, I call on the collective to decolonize semantics, delete colonial terms such as treaties, return to the words of traditional territories, to remind others and ourselves, of who we are and where we come from. 

Thank you to our partners

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