1970's school desk (Metal, Wood), Copper leaf
25 x 19 x 30.5”
I have a desire to explore the truth about Canada's colonial past. A truth which can be hard pill to swallow for some. A truth that speaks to genocide and a truth that is meant to fracture the fragile Canadian ego. This is a truth that, for a long time, been left out of the school books. An omission that has bred contempt and intolerance towards the First People for the sake of maintaining the charade of the Canadian Utopia.
This truth that poses a question: How do we challenge hate that is so deeply ingrained into the fabric of colonia/settlerl society that it has become invisible, that has become inherent?
At one point, "education" was the key to eradicating the Indian Problem_. A phrase coined by Duncan Campbell Scott. The Residential School and Indian Day School system was developed for the sole purpose of assimilating the First People into the colonial construct.
When I was reflecting upon my grandmother's narrative for Leila's Desk (2013), a memory emerged of an experience in high school in the early 90s. Oddly enough, like my Grandmother’s experience, mine was also in grade 9. It was at the precipice of the Oka crisis, national daily news at the time. A boy in my class was running his mouth about “Indians”: The freeloader, the drunk, the dumb.
When I spoke up and asserted why I was offended by what he was saying, he perked up with bigoted delight: You're a chug!?